Posts Tagged ‘layover’

Layover in Beijing

Posted in China on March 29th, 2010 by Vagablonding – Be the first to comment

A heavy blanket of snow covered Beijing, China on Sunday, March 14th. My flight to Beijing out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the morning of Monday, March 15th, was delayed 6 hours. I had a 6 hour 20 minute layover in Beijing, so we landed 20 minutes before my next flight left, not enough time to catch it.

Upon leaving the gate in Beijing I followed the mass of other people who had missed their flights to a counter where they were putting us all on the next flights to wherever we were going. I was headed to San Francisco, and the next flight wasn’t for 24 hours. They booked the flight for me and then put a sticker on my passport and told me to go through the diplomat line at customs.

At the customs desk they stamped a full page of my passport with a “stay visa” saying I was allowed to be in China until the 16th. Normally you can’t get into China without arranging a visa in advance, so if you accidentally get stuck in China like I did this is what they will give you.

I proceeded to the Air China ticket counter on the Departures level. There they had me wait with 8 or so other people to be taken to a hotel that would be paid for by Air China since it was their fault we missed our flights.

A van took us to the Jinhangxian International Hotel. It was just after 2:00pm when we were done checking in. Because of the time Air China would not pay for us to have lunch in the hotel, and none of us had Chinese money to buy food. Luckily for me I had purchased a bagel in the Kuala Lumpur airport, but everyone else was pretty pissed and had to wait for dinner. I was so tired I went to my (fairly nice) room, put the “do not disturb” sign on my door, and slept 13 hours straight, right through dinner.

On the morning of Tuesday, March 16th, I woke up at 5am and went to breakfast at 6. None of the hotel restaurant staff knew what “vegetarian” meant or which foods at the buffet had meat in them and which didn’t. I quickly learned that when a Chinese person has no clue what you are talking about they just say “yes.” I opted for lots of tea and rice for breakfast and avoided all the weird and unidentifiable Chinese dishes in the buffet.

The hotel also didn’t include drinkable water, but they did have a hot water pot in each room so you could boil your own. There was also free internet in the room, though lots of sites, like facebook, are blocked in all of China.

At 9am a van took me back to the airport and it was all smooth sailing from there. I arrived home in Portland, Oregon, on March 16th (I crossed the international date line so I got 48 hours of March 16th.)

This adventure is over, but soon there will be another. I’m already planning my next escape :)
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Layover in Narita Japan

Posted in Japan on August 11th, 2009 by Vagablonding – 1 Comment

After leaving Indonesia we had a 10 hour layover in Narita, so we decided to get out and see Narita city rather than spend more time in the airport. On the plane to Narita we filled out immigration and customs forms for Japan. In the “reason for stay” and “address in Japan” sections we wrote “transit” and listed our length of stay as one day.

narita airport

Narita is a small temple town that provides a nice peek into the quieter side of Japanese life. The main attraction is the Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple, a large Zen Buddhist temple complex with awesome pagodas and lovely lush grounds.

We arrived at the Tokyo/Narita International Airport at around 7:00am. There we stored our bags in the airport lockers. We fit both our bags in one large locker which cost us 500 yen for the day, but lucky for us someone left their 500 yen coin in the coin return slot so we ended up storing our bags for free. We then withdrew some yen from an ATM before heading to the train station on the lowest floor of the airport terminal. There we discovered vending machines with canned coffee drinks. We each bought one which started a day long canned coffee trend that went a little far and left us uncomfortably wired by the time we returned to the airport that afternoon.

japanese canned coffee

We caught the Keisei Line train towards Narita city, rode for around 10 minutes, and got off at the first stop, Narita town.

narita train

From the train station we walked straight out the door, past the bus station which lead us to the main town square. On the other side of the town square near the Japan Rail station is a Tourist Information Center where we headed to get maps of the city.

narita street

narita street

Armed with our maps, we headed for the Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple. There are many signs pointing you in the direction of the temple, and the winding road you walk down to get there is lined with shops and restaurants.

narita street

Before going into the temple, we hit up another coffee vending machine. At this point in the day the coffee was still needed to shake the xanax we’d taken for the flight. It wasn’t until two coffees later that we started to regret our consumption.

narita coffee

The Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple was quite lovely and I enjoyed the few hours we spent wandering around the grounds.

Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple entrance

Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple turtles

Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple hand washing

Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple

Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple map

Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple

Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple

Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple

Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple

Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple

After the temple we headed back towards the main part of town. Along the way we stopped at a grocery store where I bought a huge apple and a pack of peanuts for lunch. We then went to McDonalds so Ryan could eat. I snapped a few pictures while he ate.

japanese woman with face mask

japanese schoolboy

We bought more coffee… just because.

narita coffee

Next we went to the 100 yen store where we bought a couple souvenirs and… more coffee!

narita street

We headed back to the train station and chatted with some travelers from Hawaii while waiting for the train back to the airport. Here’s one final picture from Japan: the women’s toilet control panel. Look at all those fancy options! I totally tried a few out… it was kinda weird.

japanese toilet

And so concludes this installment of my vagablonding adventures. I’m not sure where I will be headed next, but I’ve got the travel bug and I know it won’t be long before I’m off again. Until next time, friends!