It's always the same old story. The final day in Japan is spent shopping and I am tired and depressed at having to leave. After shopping around Namba it was time to catch the Nankai Rapi:t back to Kansai International Airport.
I was tired out from long days and late nights writing up my travel blog. I even fell asleep for part of the train ride, but it was not enough.
Mixed in with the exhaustion and sadness was fear. The weather map showed Typhoon Danas approaching southern Japan and I really hoped that the flight would not be as rough as on the way up.
|Train station at Terminal 1|
|Japan's tourist slogan (and it's totally correct) is "Endless Discovery". Malaysia's new slogan is "Endless Possibilities". Malaysia: Number 1 for accurate and original slogans! Yeah!|
When we arrived at the check in area we were surprised to discover that our flight was actually rescheduled early! Not the more normal delayed. So now we had to hurry and there was no time to enjoy more shopping or eating.
We passed through security and caught the automated shuttle to the gates. There was a bit of flight activity, but the terminal felt quiet, dead. Which is how I like it. Not much in the way of shops out there, not that we were in the market for much.
|Aboard the shuttle|
|Cathay Pacific 777|
|Not sure of the airline, but a view of the bridge back to the mainland|
|Free wifi, not many takers|
|Isn't she a beauty - Asiana 747-400|
An announcement was made that the gate had been changed from 4 to 2. There weren't many passengers boarding - loads are not looking great for Jetstar to and from Singapore if this is any example.
|Our Jetstar A320|
CARRIER: Jetstar Asia
ETD: 17:05 (local)
ETA: 18:55 (local)
AIRCRAFT: Airbus A320-200
The nice thing about this flight in an A320 compared with the A330 was that we were all seated together. The pitch feels a bit tighter, but it was comfortable enough. One thing I didn't like about these newer A320 is the magazine rack at the top of the seat. The solid plastic doesn't allow for the storage of other items, plus there's a hole down the bottom, as I discovered when my phone slipped through and knocked over my cup of drink later in the flight.
|My bag matches the scheme. Sorry about the legs.|
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Announcements were made in English, Japanese and Mandarin. Despite the early departure time we were delayed by the long taxi. There were some nice views of Kansai Airport and nearby cities after we took off and looped around, then we were above the clouds into a rapidly darkening sky.
|At the gate|
|Don't tell me there's a queue?|
|Turning around with Kansai Airport visible|
|Through the cloud|
Once the seatbelt lights were switched off the crew came through. I hadn't realised that we had pre-ordered food. Alex was asleep already and neither of us felt hungry, so we just got the included drinks instead.
|A&W Root Beet (soft drink)|
Despite my fears, it was a pretty smooth flight of about two and a half hours. Despite the darkness there were still things to see outside. There was a lot of air traffic headed in the opposite direction, obviously this was a busy route. I glanced out to see a meteor fall and explode in the sky. It was much brighter than a full Venus and seemed at least twice the diameter. Red sparks of disintegrating rock were visible before the final detonation. That's at least my third meteor spotted during a flight, at altitude they are even more amazing than from the ground.
As we approached Taipei yellow lightning flashed in the clouds. From the air the city always reminds me of a vision of Hell at night. A malevolent orange glow fills the hazy sky, interspersed with black clouds.
It's a pity that we weren't stopping for a few days in the city as it is a fascinating place that we'd love to return.
Captain Zoran finally spoke up. I was missing an announcement from the flight deck.
Our descent path looped around to approach Taipei Taoyuan Airport from the south. As we landed the sight of the Novotel returned happy memories of a giant panda toy and the wonderful service of our stay there earlier this year.
|Turning across the black sea|
|Neon signs along the street|
|Service vehicles all lined up as we approach the gate|
Despite the fact that our flight would be continuing on to Singapore we all had to depart the aircraft. We were handed transit tags, then it was a long walk back to the boarding lounge, where a much larger crowd waited than on the first leg.
|Alex loves moving walkways|
|A long walk past Duty Free|
|There is quite a bit to see airside. I've only just noticed, but this must be access to prayer rooms, Buddhist (not Nazi!) on the left, Christian on the right.|
Ah, so this is why the 1 stop flights between Singapore and Osaka are more expensive than the direct flights. The Singaporeans are all going to the now hip foody destination of Taiwan. The aircraft was almost fully packed for this leg.
CARRIER: Jetstar Asia
ETD: 19:55 (local)
ETA: 00:30 (local)
AIRCRAFT: Airbus A320-200
We retraced our path out to the runway, taking off past the Novotel, Alex telling us he wished we could go there. So did the rest of us. We were tired and hungry. This time we all accepted the prebooked meals, katsu (crumbed) chicken on rice, which was pretty good and the kind of simple food that works well. We usually seem to order katsu before flying out of Japan anyway!
The almost five hour flight felt interminably long. B finished her book part way through and had nothing else to entertain her. I'd heard no mention of hiring video entertainment on this flight. We had opted not to bring her iPad or my Android tablet in order to save on weight. Alex watched videos on his player for a while before falling asleep. I listened to music and watch a couple of ancient episodes of The IT Crowd on my phone.
Once we'd flown past Taiwan there was almost nothing to see outside but the odd ship and island. There was weather, swirling winds that shook the aircraft enough to switch the seatbelt lights on and prompt Captain Zoran to make an announcement. The whole flight was relatively bumpy. We may have skipped the typhoon earlier, but this leg made up for it. It was difficult to settle back and relax.
As we neared Singapore I could see big blue flashes of lightning out of the opposite window and wished that I was sitting on that side of the aircraft as they looked spectacular.
We made a northerly descent into Changi with a feeling of real relief that the journey was over. I don't think that the Jetstar flight was bad per se. Had the weather conditions been better and B had brought something to watch, play or read, we would probably have enjoyed it more. Also, we'd already had the long flights from Australia to Osaka via Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and were feeling a bit weary of long travel by this stage.
|Descending into Changi|
|At the gate|
This wasn't the end of our flying for the day. That afternoon we had another Jetstar flight to Ho Chi Minh booked. But first we needed some sleep. So we hurried through immigration, only to discover that we'd just missed the free shuttle to our hotel, the Grand Mercure Roxy Square at Katong. So, off in a taxi, and we still beat the shuttle.
We fell asleep to the sound of rain and thunder and I wondered if it was the same storm we'd flown past earlier.