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Exiting the plane in Tampa

At the airport, we were too early to check-in.  We ended up setting up camp at the 'Viewing Mall' which is a long corridor with windows to watch the planes take-off.  It was pretty dark and calm since nobody would have any real reason to walk through there.  Later, a bunch of people ended up sleeping there so we definitely were not the only ones crazy/clever enough to spend the night at the airport.  I washed my airplane shirt in the bathroom since it was a little stinky, and I didn't want to make the person on the plane next to me to smell me for 10 hours straight.  I dried it with the air hand drier and then my body heat.  Arum tried to call home and we had some snacks before going to sleep on the floor with the sleeping bag and sheet.  Arum slept the whole time but I got cold and decided to take a walk around the airport at 3am.  Around 4:30, we got up and packed everything up to go check-in.  We were told that we could not take any gels or liquids on our carry-on but we had no idea why.  We rearranged all of our luggage and had to check both of our bags because there was a carry-on limit of 7 kg.  The ticket agent told us that we had to come back at 6:25 to get our boarding pass, which was weird.  We killed an hour back at our viewing lounge and got our boarding passes at 6:30.  After going through immigration, we got to our gate and saw the huge line to enter through security specifically for our flight.  They were going through everyone's bag and giving about half the people the wand treatment.  There was a sign that mentioned some incident in the UK that was the reason for the no gel/liquid rule.  They took away our stick deodorants even though it was not a gel and was not listed at all on the prohibited item list. 

We were late departing since it took so long for everyone to go through security.  Arum was sitting in business class and I was a couple rows back in coach but someone came on the plane late and kicked Arum out of business so we sat together in the back.  The flight to Tokyo took around 8 hours.  It was a 777 so we had our own tv's and watched several movies including RV and 16 Blocks.  We split an omelete and some noodles for breakfast and had a sandwich for a snack.

In Tokyo, we had to go through security again and they made me pour out the water I had put in a bottle while on the plane.  Since we were late arriving, after we went through security and got to our gate there wasn't much time before boarding started.  We got our boarding passes pretty early and were lucky to make it.  We both had middle seats in coach but atleast we got on.  The flight was 11 hours long.  It was a 747 so we didn't have our own tv's and everyone had to watch the same movies:  Shaggy Dog, Ice Age 2, and some movie about a girl in a spelling bee.  I had the beef for dinner, cup of noodles for the snack, and omelete for breakfast (around 2 in the afternoon in Chicago).

In Chicago, we had to wait forever for our bags to come after we passed immigration.  We rechecked our bags after getting them off the belt and then went on the train to the United terminal.  For the third time, we went through security but it was pretty quick this time.  Then, we called home since we could finally use the pay phones unlike abroad.  Arum tried frantically to call home, which proved to be rather difficult.  After talking with her parents, Arum decided she would rather try to fly to Fort Myers.  We went to customer service and tried to relist, which was only allowed because I agreed to take responsibility for her checked bag since I was still going to the bag's ticketed destination of Tampa.  After calling home again, Arum told me that she can't go to Fort Myers because nobody could pick her up.  We had the gate agent relist Arum for the Tampla flight.  We bought some food from McDonald's (first time since the 4th of July) so that we wouldn't go hungry on the next flight.  We got our tickets early for the last flight.  For the flight to Tampa, we both were given tickets for two middle seats but when we got on the plane the whole row in front of our seats was empty so we decided to sit there.  Since nobody came, we had the hwole row, which was a surprise since the plane was supposed to be full.

My mom met us right at the end of the jetway, which was great.  Both of our families were there to meet us at the airport.  We are both really happy to be home.  We are relieved that nothing really went wrong and the trip was without major incident.  We both had a great time and it proved to be a great adventure!  Thanks for reading the blog, and we hope you enjoyed it.



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Exiting the plane in Tampa
Exiting the plane in Tampa
Safety Harbor
photo by: mskaye