Escape from Asia

It’s been a long day. At 3:30 this morning my alarm went off, and I hauled myself off the sofa and collected together the rest of the family and our luggage, and then we all went down to the car park to get in the taxi my wife had booked.

A taxi that couldn’t get out of the car park, because even in super efficient Singapore there are some cars that don’t seem to be detectable by the automated barriers at the exits to car parks, and instead of getting on the road we spent ten minutes waiting, while our driver bellowed near incomprehensible phrases into the intercom. Finally, magically, the barrier raised and we were on our way.

We had to get up so early because the Delta flight from Singapore to Narita departs at 7 am, and that’s better than in the summer, when you have a 6 am departure to deal with. Still, the flight to Tokyo was uneventful. We’d got La Serpiente Negra to run around at Changi lots so she was properly tired and pliable, and she got a toddler meal for the first time (there’s a hash brown with a smiley face made of tomatoes on it) so that was fine.

At Narita we had the usual grind of the security check but it wasn’t anything awful, and then we spent another hour tag teaming one another on daughter duties. She likes to run around the gates at Narita and try to get out to the air bridges, so that’s good exercise for us.

The last time we’d done this was in June and it had been sunny; this time it was an overcast day but everything seemed fine until we boarded the plane.

Then there was interminable faffing about. The cargo manifest wasn’t given to the flight deck automatically, so they had to wait for a physical print out, which delayed backing away from the gate, and then a bank of fog rolled in and they had to change which runway planes took off from, and we didn’t get in the air until two hours behind schedule, and then there was turbulence for the first hour, all of which meant we had a very long wait with nothing to eat.

That’s not entirely true. We had a packet of chewing gum.

Still, eventually we got going again. We got allocated three seats, which allows us to spread out a bit more. Because our daughter gets very clingy on flights, it makes less odds as she’s permanently attached to my wife, but it means there’s space to keep bags close to hand under the seats in front of us and still have the chance to stretch out some.

And now we’re five hours into this flight, with just over three and a half left to go. I’m beginning to wish we had a teleporter instead.

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