Spoiled in biz… even though old school barcalounger

Expecting even better on next Copa leg on newer 738 config with AVOD and power, and 50″ of leg room (adjustable seat with foot rest).

Good thing I ate a snack in the lounge as watched the whole movie “Spare Parts” (wow based on true story, AZ community college team beats MIT team in underwater robotics competition 3 years in a row) before lunch was served.

As wet were serving lunch, I had to run into the washroom (restroom? WC?) with my water bottle to flush my right eye with water as I had some sand from last night’s beach volleyball irritating it. Ouch. 


Tasty, but weirdest appetizer yet: one shrimp on mashed potatoes. WTF?


Lunch: pork witty messy couscous. Not sure what the greens were, tasted like bad seaweed :-)


I chose the tasty (coconut) cheesecake for dessert.


Woah, can I have some coffee with that Bailey’s? (for the record, I ordered coffee with Bailey’s)

Japan: back in business (cash logjam broken)

So after 3 banks couldn’t do a manual Visa cash advance, I called my credit card company again and made my car for emergency access. They transferred me to the issuing bank an they were able to set the PIN for my choice over the phone (something my cc company had said they couldn’t do).
I waltzed down to an ATM with a veritable skip in my step and voila, cash (lots of fees, ie 3% min $10 and almost 20% interest accruing immediately, but that’s irrelevant at this point). Unfortunately this ATM only gave ¥10,000 notes ($90) so this morning I went to a bank to exchange them for smaller bills, for which I had to fill out a form (money in, types of bills back, plus name and address) because I wasn’t a client. The guard/concierge and the teller knew a little English.

They also had an automated machine to change US$ bills into packets of smaller US$ bills (no yen involved) but inexplicably it wasn’t available until 10am (I need smaller bills for Myanmar, hoping they will be newer crisp bills). Will go back while my laundry us drying…
Update: no, it converts yen to dollars (choice of 3 options: $100, $300 or $500 packets of mixed bills). Not what I was looking for.

I hasn’t seen this coffee brand before – definitely not from Seattle!


How many things can fo wrong in one travel day with only 2 flights?

First one is my fault…
– on way to airport i realize that I somehow left a prepared-last-nught-while-packing ziploc bag with my debit card, global sim card and backup credit card. I did double check my passport, Japan rail pass voucher and Myanmar visa though
– United Express flight gets canceled due to mechanical, I get auto rebooked on an Air Canada flight that gets me in an hour before connecting flight (kudos). Some folks had to overnight in Toronto.
– Both UA and AC gate agents double check my luggage tag
– After deplaning in ORD, half way to the lounge, no I realize I left my mobile phone battery charger plugged in under the seat, return to gate and agent retrieves it for me
– Upon boarding ANA in Chicago, gate agents double check my baggage tag again and seem happy
– Upon deplaning in NRT, a sign with my name on it (and 7 other passengers), agent tells me by baggage probably did not make it
– I go through baggage claim desk, it won’t arrive for 24 hours or more, and will have to be sent to Nagasaki. After I ask, they give me a well stocked amenity kit, missing only dental floss – the one thing I had in my carry on.
– But not having my global sim means they can’t call me and they don’t so email, so I gave them my 4 hostels’ info
– Because of filing the claim, I miss the last Narita Express train and the chance to exchange my rail pass voucher for the actual pass (so train would have been free)
– So I buy a different $21 train ticket (using cc to preserve what little Yen I had from a previous trip)
– I tried to use my visa cc in an ATM but I don’t know the pin for it as I’ve never used it for cash advance
– And I have no lock on my carryon, which I usually but twice this year my tsa-approved locks disappeared on flights. This is problematic in a hostel… though this first one rents a lock for a ¥200/$2 deposit, woo hoo
– Did I mention I have no shoes (flip flops), no jacket and just a buff for extra warmth (it’s 13C here) since that’s all in my checked bag.

Yet it will all work out, with friends willing to help in Japan and Myanmar

Early bird gets the worm, or 4 seats to themselves :-)

Weird 2-3-4 configuration on this B777-300, but I immediately jumped into a vacant 4-seat middle from my 2seat side which had a passenger next to me. Lots of empty seats (and biz was very sparsely populated).

Seat is the kind where the bottom slides forward (slimline?), which dies bring my knees into the seat back in front of me.

Interestingly, there is a gap between the 3rd and 4th seat in the middle, providing actual arm space. Or I haven’t seen that before.

Personal entertainment system has a largish screen though a disappointingly small selection of movies. Also the main food choices inc calories (lots, calories that is, not choices, as in 756/968 kCal for Japanese/hamburger dinner and 594/651 kCal for chicken/omelette 2nd meal before arrival on this 13.5hr flight).

There is even a cup holder whether the tray is up or down.

As I boarded, the scanner beeped strangely which was just them double checking that I, and my checked bag, made the flight, no doubt due to earlier cancelation.


Service was very good onboard.

14hr ex-HKG flight: Back in Toronto

That 14 hour HKG-ORD turned out to be rather OK. Lucked out with an empty middle seat next to me (good seat selection and changing it a few hours beforehand helped)

Lunch early in the flight, sandwich and vanilla ice cream in the middle (I skipped the former but the latter was great timing as my throat was parched) and breakfast before landing.

No free adult beverages at all anymore. Personal TV and power outlet though B777-200, unlike on their B747). I watched 2 movies, then slept for about half the flight, and watched 2 more movies.

Note: economy plus really comes in handy as the extra 4 inches legroom also translate into being able to rest my head on a pillow on the tray table (mercifully the lady in front of me did not recline, adding to that sleeping room). And I don’t personally recline unless I’m sleeping (and not leaning forward).

So I actually feel pretty refreshed and in the correct timezone, since I timed my sleep to coincide with night time in Toronto.

Two unfortunate things in HKG airport (the second one applying to US bound flights only): you can’t bring any water on board (unlike SIN where they have fountains in the individual gate area after that security check) and I was told by 2 people that you can’t take Dutch free liquids onto the plane either.