Sitting Around, Doing Nothing... On A PLANE!

Learning to Fly

Yesterday (or was it today...?), I finally set out on my journey to to the land of the rising sun. By airplane. What does that mean? MORE WAITING!
That's right! "The day" might finally have "come," but really it all boils down to the same thing. Sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, waiting to be in Japan.
Friendly Bunch.
I began in Salt Lake City, of course. My dad took me to the airport and helped me get checked in for the first time, because he's cool like that. The TSA were surprisingly cheerful. They were all laughing and smiling and cracking jokes. I took off my shoes, I emptied my pockets and half of my backpack. I walked through the scanner. I put on my shoes, I filled my pockets and half of my backpack. When I got to the terminal, I realized I had shown up unnecessarily early, and so the waiting began!

To fill the time, I walked around the terminals, looking at all the bizarre, overpriced shops. I took some pictures, too.
SLC was a pretty nice airport.
It was pretty boring. Actually, this post is pretty boring. Here, I'll glaze over all of the normal stuff and focus on all the first-world problems I encountered. That should spice things up a little.
I always choose a window seat. 

The Bradley International Building

The Los Angeles airport is the worst place I have ever had to spend 8 hours. I passed security, and then headed over to the Alaska Airlines ticket station to pick up my transfer tickets. The guy who helped me was pretty eccentric, and couldn't figure out my itinerary. He kept talking like I was headed to Salt Lake City, and I had to keep affirming that I was not going to Salt Lake, but to Seattle. After I got my boarding pass, he recommended I go over to the international building if I wanted to stay the night.
Hell in a handbasket. 
It was a pretty cool place, the international building. It had a huge vaulted ceiling, shops set up, and announcements in several different languages. But it was a horrible place to stay.

It was cold. FREEZING. Cold. There were a few padded couches and seats, but there were already sleeping people laid out on all of them. The aforementioned announcements were ridiculously loud, and I can steal hear that English announcer's goofy voice ringing in my head. Probably because he sounded just like Captain Qwark.

After eating McDonald's, I walked around and tried to find a drinking fountain to fill my water bottle. There isn't one. There is also a significant lack of power outlets. There are 4 set up at 2 charging stations on opposite sides of the building, but most of the time I was there they were taken.
The nicest place I could find.
I finally settled in this cranny. I sat on my change of clothes, propped my knees up on my backpack, and leaned against the wall. Just when I was starting to get relatively comfortable (~20 minutes), a guy who bears a striking resemblance to Ron Jeremy came riding up on his beloved tile Zamboni and ushered me out of the way. I cradled a huddled mass of my carry-on bag up the stairs and just settled on one of the semi-comfortable tables. Since I didn't want to risk being low on battery on my upcoming flight, I decided to sketch the God-forsaken place.
I promise this isn't my best work.
Northern Winds

My next flight was not Delta, but Alaska Airlines. I giddily went through TSA a second time, excited to leave LAX far behind. My next flight was headed to Seattle, and it couldn't come soon enough.
That's frost. A lot of it. 
Alaska Airlines is called “Alaska” Airlines for a reason. The tempurature on that plane was comparable to the tempurature on an average day in Alaska. I could see my breath on the window, and it lingered forver. I was planning to sleep, because it fit perfectly into my adjusted sleeping schedule, but it just wan't going to happen. I only managed to doze off once, and it was when the stewardess came by. So I sat there, frigid, too tired to concentrate on anything to entertain myself, for about 2 hours. I think it had something to do with the exit row I was “upgraded” to. Not accepting that offer again.

The Bright Side

The next stop was Seattle. I stepped into the glorious warmth of the building and quickly made my way to my next gate, the gate to Japan.
The Seattle airport is HUGE. And after being there for about 3 hours, I am fully confident that I would rather stay there for 3 days than at LAX for another 3 hours. There were interesting shops, places to get food, drinking fountains, and they seem to have control of the air conditioning. And you get to ride a train to the international terminal!

After getting something to eat, I returned to gate S2 and met up with Stacey, a fellow member of the program. We're gonna stay at a hotel overnight, even though KIX is supposedly pretty accommodating. I need to get some sleep. And, apparently, I am not capable of sleeping on an airplane.
Well I tried to get myself in the picture. 
My new home.
One problem I had with Alaska airlines was the location of the sun. It was on the other side of the plane the entire time. This made my side really cold, and it also meant a bright beam of was light shining directly at me the entire time, so I couldn't sleep.

Luckily, my 11-hour flight wasn't like this.
ALWAYS a window seat.
Not only was the sun on my side (for most of the time) but the ride was just overall a lot better than the 2-hour Alaska Airlines flight, and I daresay better than the 1.5 hour SLC>LAX flight. In the end, the only problem I had with the 11-hour flight was the stiffness of the cushion. My butt was in intense pain by the end of the ride.

Other than that, it was a pretty good experience. I managed to get a very minute amount of sleep in (maybe 3 or 4 hours total), there was a delicious meal, and I watched a couple of movies.

...And that's as far as this post goes! I'm writing this on the plane. I still have 2 hours left to go, but it's all downhill from here, almost literally (downwind?).

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