First International Flight, SAY WHA
As an individual who has never really been a fan of flying, you bet your sweet ass I was not stoked to board a plane for thirteen hours. I let the anticipation get into my head, when the reality of the flight was a cake walk. I boarded my plane around 1 in the morning, and immediately fell asleep. I was woken up by a male flight attendant asking if I was hungry and would like dinner (I may be petite but I can eat). I chose the noodles with chicken, which was accompanied by a ranch salad and a pastry of sorts. I steered clear of the pastry because it looked high in dairy and I was not about to be miserable for the remainder of the flight (lactose intolerant over here). After I ate, I fell back asleep for about nine hours. I know I know, I am just as surprised as you are. I spent the remaining three hours or so watching Star Wars VII & part of Spectre (James Bond). About an hour before landing, it was breakfast time. I chose the omelet accompanied by tater tots and a sausage link. There was a side of blueberry yogurt and a cup of honey dew melon and cantaloupe. My favorite part was the warm roll though; it just hits the spot every time.
Upon my arrival in Shanghai I got a little turned around. I immediately went to the line for international transfers, opposed to arrivals, which put me directly through security. Here is where I would spend 10 hours straight trying to kill time. At first I felt okay with the decision because I was tuckered out and not ready to trek a brand new city. However, after 2 hours, I realized I had indeed made the wrong choice.
I began with a quick run through of the terminal, which takes about 15 minutes to walk back and forth, just to scope out the scene. I found potential restaurants and areas to go for snacks. I exchanged some money (most of which I did not spend), but I always have the layover on the way back to pick up those last minute souvenirs. It will most likely be spent on food, who am I kidding? On my way back, I popped a squat on a chair and got down to business. By business I mean I turned on Spotify and zoned out to music for two hours hoping that it had been longer.
With a small rumble in my stomach, I decided it was time for a snack, so I waltzed over to the mini mart and purchased 4 delicious croissants for 7 yen. I found a different area to chill in, which is where I first started this blog post by creating its skeleton. After that, I shamelessly played games for a few hours. I have all the basics from candy crush to stack, from world's hardest game to Sudoku or solitaire. Whatever it is, your girl has got it covered.
With about 4 hours on the countdown clock, I decided to walk the terminal one more time. I walked into a different mart to purchase shrimp chips and hi-chews, both delicious and definitely not nutritious. I plopped down at my gate, and cracked open a good read. I must have read 100 pages or so because when I finally checked the clock again, there was only 1 hour until boarding and I was getting restless.
Once again, I packed up all my stuff and walked the terminal. I knew with a 6 hour flight coming, my ass would need a break from sitting. I walked from one far end to the other, with 15 minutes quickly flying by. I popped in the restroom once more (I am not a fan of toilets in the sky; I mean can you imagine catching rough turbulence in the John? I can and it is not pretty my friends, let me tell you).
I spent the remaining time playing stack on the iPad, and soon enough it was time to board. I scurried over to the line, which went rather quickly might I add. International flights have got their shit on lock, come on domestic I need you to get with the program and up your game. I strolled to seat 74H, which to my surprise was not the last row of the plane (but the second to last, right near those toilets). I got comfortable, started the film Point Break and eventually dozed in and out of sleep for 6 hours. I must have restarted that movie 3 or 4 times, I did get the beginning and the end though.
Next thing I know, BAM DUDES, I AM IN BALI!
Customs and immigration was a cake walk as well, and it only took about an hour to go through. I won’t lie to you, I was totally nervous about going through customs. It is so official and I was like “Shit, did I pack something that’s going to get me pinched...I am too dainty for that prison life and my stomach is TOO sensitive for that food!” Oh, the way your mind will roam when anticipation sets in.
Sarah greeted me at the airport with a warm smile and a hug, and we headed back to our Airbnb.
My best advice to you: download podcasts, create racks on racks of playlists (make sure music that can be accessed offline), bring a book or two to read and download stacks on stacks of games. If you want to crank out some work, that's totally rad too, just know the Wi-Fi may or may not be in your favor. I also brought journals to write in, I have about 5, oh yeah count ‘em 5!
Ooo and DO NOT pack your charger in your backpack that you checked. Dummy
If you have a lengthy layover: learn from my mistake and leave the airport. There are plenty of day tours, even layover tours of varying times to occupy your time. All you have to do is google the city, and an abundance of things will pop up.
Fun Fact: I always enjoyed airports; there are an infinite amount of stories that walk in and out of the doors. I have had my fair share of heart wrenching good byes and beyond wonderful hellos. I watched as the couples embraced one another, a child ran around impersonating an airplane with an ear to ear smile as the parent slowly chased afterwards, an elderly gentlemen tucking in his wife and another doing Tai Chi. It's incredible to watch and brings such JOY to my heart. I think in these moments, I appreciated the layover and I recommend you do the same. Be grateful that you have been given the opportunity to be where you are and to go where you are headed.