Departure


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Asia » Japan
March 18th 2011
Published: October 1st 2017
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Geo: 35.67, 139.77

Our day began at midnight, as the kids' long-delayed flight landed at Oakland airport. We tossed them and their bags in the car, then drove home for a brief sleep. Kyla had to repack the clothes she wanted to take to college for spring, but I just went to bed, exhausted, as I had spent so much of the last week reworking the entire holiday: we were supposed to leave for Japan today, but the earthquake, tsunami, and potential meltdown of the nuclear reactor meant that Japan was no longer a realistic or desirable destination. So we opted for Taiwan – although Paul and I were still routed through Narita.

We woke a few hours later, to pouring rain, and finished packing. I took a brief phone call for work, then drove Paul and the kids to BART. I returned home, left the car, and walked down to BART myself. Fortunately, the rain had taken a breather, so I stayed dry, and the cool breeze (okay, cold wind) ensured that I did not get too sweaty. My train was fairly empty – I got a seat, while Paul and the kids struggled with all the bags in rush hour crowds.

The rest of my family met me as I came through the very slow security: TSA had one of their monster-scan machines up … but everyone, including me, still seem to require an additional pat-down, which really backed up the line. We went to the Red Carpet Club to get snacks – the kids had only about 20 minutes before their flight (they were going through Seoul) was called. We assume they left on time (more or less), because we did not hear from them after they said the door was closing. Truth be told, we were a bit worried, because soon after we learned that San Mateo County had received a tornado warning … and the Beijing flight was now very delayed because of bad weather.

Our flight was called only a few minutes late … but then we were not allowed to broad because of high winds. The delay wasn't too long – and we left, after several more weather-related delays, about 45 minutes late. When we did board, we found, not surprisingly, that the plane was mostly empty. We weren't upgraded (again, no surprise), but we did manage to each get an entire row to ourselves. Actually, we had three rows: the bulkhead to which we were assigned, and the two rows of empty seats we acquired so we could stretch out. Since everyone else seemed to have a row to themselves, and there were additional empty rows, I did not feel greedy. I'm sure all of Taiwan will feel equally uncrowded.

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