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Getting There.

May 25, 2011
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Location:  Bedroom, Key West, FL

Time:  5:40 AM EDT, Tuesday, May 24th

Distance  traveled:  12″

Travel Time: 0 hours.

We’ve an 8:00 flight out of Key West into Atlanta Hartsfield Airport.  Baggage packed and ready to go, we roll out of bed about 2 hrs before the flight.  Conventional wisdom says one arrives at the airport 2-3 hours before an international flight – but – this is Key West, and we’re anything but conventional.  After 45 years of air travel  (my maiden flight was a trip to Mexico City before the age of 5) the process of world travel has been honed to an economy of motion – and time.

Location:  Airport, Key West, FL

Time:  6:40 AM

Distance  traveled:  2 miles

Travel Time: 1 hour.

Truth be told – we could have slept another hour or so, as Key West International (!?) is almost never busy this time of year.  There was no one in the check-in line, no one in security…you get the idea.  Living at the end of the line has its benefits.

Our first aircraft of the day is a CRJ-700; a tiny little jet with even tinier seats and miniscule onboard storage.  The airline always boards early in KW, as it takes for-freaking-ever to get the baggage debate resolved…tourists with eight plastic bags and a duffel the size of a small car invariably get on board and attempt to cram their crap into a space designed for a granola bar and a toothbrush.  For the record – the seatback you’re looking at is in the first class cabin; steerage seats are about 10″ wide and devoid of upholstery.

The Pheebs is pretty chipper, considering she’s a part of this human toothpaste tube:

I’m somewhat more pensive. 

The beginning is always somewhat exciting, as it’s good to get on the road, so to speak – but it’s a awfully long one.

Location:  Hartsfield Airport, Atlanta GA

Time:  9:50 AM

Distance  traveled:  650 miles

Travel Time: 4 hours.

We’re in the SkyClub lounge – when  you’re a frequent flier traveling internationally, you’ve automatic access to the lounge.  While this sounds like a good thing, just about everyone traveling internationally is a frequent flier these days – so the lounge is pretty crowded.  The guy’s expression pretty much sums up the land of worn out lounge chairs and rice crackers.   Not the best place to hang out for three hours.

We board the plane just before 1:00 PM and the Pheebs builds her nest for the next 13 hours.

These are newer layflat seats in the Business Class section – they’re a HUGE improvement over flying in the old coach seats.  I’ve done that several times, and my feet end up looking like overstuffed sausages upon landing at Narita.  These little pods make the flight pretty pleasant, actually – they’re filled with little amenities like noise-cancelling headsets, personal on-demand movies…the trip begins to be a bit more relaxed as we set up our space.  The Pheebs brings her own bedding; takes a cocktail of melatonin and Benadryl and disappears for the better part of the trip.  I watch documentaries, as they’re perfect for knocking me out.

Location:  Narita  Airport, Tokyo, Japan

Time:  4:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time; 5:00 PM Japan Time.

Distance  traveled:  7500 miles

Travel Time: 22 hours (more or less)

We freshen up in the SkyClub lounge in Tokyo.  The place is immaculate, the staff polite and helpful, the food fresh. We’re only here for an hour – but it’s enough to get caught up on email, snag a beer and a couple of snacks.  The food on the plane is less than stellar (actually, it flat sucks…we think they prep it days in advance and the stuff that’s supposed to be crispy is soggy and the moist stuff dries out – ever have cardboard in the form of French toast?) so sashimi and sushi at this crisp lounge is a delight. I’m especially fond of something called Spam and beans on toast – it’s waay tasty.    The Pheebs reverts to wearing a hat whilst texting.

The further away we get from Atlanta, the better the flight experience becomes.  Compare this lounge with the one we were in before.

Even the gate area is pleasant.

The last leg of the trip is on an Airbus 330 – same plane type as before, but with a different business class cabin.

It’s a relatively short flight at 3-1/2 hours, and after being awake for 24, we spend most of it sleeping.

Location:  AB Won Pat Airport, Guam.

Time:  9:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time (the following day); 11:20 PM Guam Time.

Distance  traveled:  9060 miles

Travel Time: 28-1/2 hours (more or less)

We’re downstairs in the process of clearing Customs; as seen by the lack of a line – there’s no one here.  82 degrees.  Humid.  We get a rental car (a really cute little green Mazda 2) and head to the apartment.

Location:  Tumon Bay apartment bedroom, Guam.

Time:  11:11 AM Eastern Daylight Time Wednesday, May 25th ; 1:11 AM Guam Time, Thursday, May 26th.

Distance  traveled:  9062 miles

Travel Time: 30 hours (more or less)

The pic is blurry, and I don’t give a damn.  I’m in bed about to inspect the insides of my eyelids.

The trip went off without a hitch.   We’re here safe and sound, recovering from 9000+ miles and 30+ hours of travel.  An economy of words the result of time and distance.  We’ll be back with more Guam adventures tomorrow.

From the other side of the world,

Chuck and the Pheebs.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Len permalink
    May 26, 2011 8:17 pm

    Glad you made it safe and sound!

    Just to let you know, the e-mail notification of a new post isn’t working for me. I signed up for it a few days ago and got one notification but haven’t gotten one since… do you know if it’s something on my end or something with the blog?

    Hope you are well and enjoy your new adventure!

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      May 26, 2011 8:27 pm

      hey, Len!

      I’m still figuring out how this infernal process works. I subscribed to the blog before we left Key West, and it seems to work okay for me. I’ve also set up the ability to email select posts to friends – along with printout capability. Lots of functionality – but I’m limiting myself to less than an hour a day for the posting process. We’ll learn it together!

      Thanks for writing in,

      Chuck and the Pheebs.

      • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
        May 26, 2011 8:30 pm

        AHA!

        one has to confirm their subscription to start receiving notifications; there’s a reply in the email sent to you for confirmation which you have to click on to activate the process. I’m showing only one confirmed subscriber – yet several subscriptions have been taken out.

        Trust this helps.

  2. May 27, 2011 7:38 am

    I’m feeling good to see that you made it to The Other Side Of The World safely, Chuck. As a guy who spends most flight time on CRJ-series jets…it’s nice to see how nice an Airbus can be on international flights. A good friend of mine flies A-320s for Delta out of Pittsburgh, and he’s never told me of the international configuration with the pods. Interesting.

    Greg P. In WV, who is not seeing blue starfish in the creek in front of my house.

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      May 27, 2011 10:44 am

      Delta started the use of the layflats about a year and a half ago. Prior to the change, they had seats with a privacy hood that went *almost* flat. To catch you from sliding off the leather, there’s a footboard. The result is you feel compressed – just about the time you drift into a deep sleep you have to squidge your crumpled body off the footboard. It wasn’t much better than coach. These are waay more better; makes the trip bearable…but…if you haven’t saved up upgrade coupons, a trip to Narita in business class is now in the $5500-$6000 range.

      That’s damned near what I paid for my first new car.

      I don’t know what’s cooler – the blue starfish or the fact the pic was taken in about 18″ of water. That’s clear!

      • May 27, 2011 2:06 pm

        I am probably certifiable, but I think that $5500 is a pretty good deal for 12+ hours on a 500mph jet. Keep in mind that -when I was a student pilot a few years ago- I paid $120 per hour to keep the shiny propeller spinning.
        That is $2USD per *minute*. To only go 120mph.
        I see value in things most other people don’t. Maybe another drink is in order…

        Greg P. In WV, enjoying the cheapest 500mph jet there is, called Allegiant Air…

      • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
        May 27, 2011 2:55 pm

        re: the last two lines – Not knowing many people on the island yet, it didn’t feel right including that piece.
        As for cost of tickets – two years ago, the same flight was $1200 coach. Earlier this year – $1700 coach. This trip? $2800.

  3. Len Bloom permalink
    May 27, 2011 3:12 pm

    Hi Chuck,

    I receieved the confirmation e-mail and clicked on it. I think I did it twice so it must be something between my computer and your blog. Since I can’t get the notifications of new posts, is there a way to set up the blog so that the newest post is shown when I log on? The way it is now every time I log on it takes me to the original post then I have to navigate through all of the posts to get to the most recent. Not a big problem when there are only 5 or 6 posts but if we are lucky enough to have you keep this up for a while it might become a task to sort through all the posts.

    I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to this stuff either so there may be an easy answer that I’m not aware of.

    I just clicked the “Notify” boxes at the bottom of this page so maybe it will work if we try-try-again!

    Len

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