Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Long Travels

 Our journey began early morning when we boarded the flight from Saipan to Tokyo. The flight wasn't very full and had 100 vacant seats so we had our own exit row seats. In Tokyo, we disembarked, picked up our baggage and checked in at the ANA counter. We had a 3 hour layover so had some ramen, bought some Royce chocolates and went to the gate. When we boarded the B-777 plane, we had separate seats but luckily, we were the only ones with our own rows. We were able to lie down and sleep which made the 12 hour flight bearable. ANA has good service and food and the entertainment system was personalized so I got to watch my own selected movies including "In Time", "Gattaca", "The Ides of March", "New Year's Eve" and a short film on the Hula Girls of Fukushima.

After landing in Munich, we had a five hour layover so we headed to the Lufthansa counter to see if we could board an earlier flight to Birmingham. There, we discovered that my return flight from Birmingham to Tokyo in April was cancelled or never booked properly so it was one of those high stress moments when I thought that I had to buy a new ticket for a few thousand dollars. Thank God that I was able to purchase the same flight tickets using miles online and confirm our seating. With five hours, we took short naps on the bench, walked around the terminal and had a small snack.

Our last flight from Munich to Birmingham arrived around 11pm and we finally arrived at our apartment hotel past midnight. We walked through Chinatown and managed to find the place in the dark. The apartment is nicely appointed with a living room, small kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. It's conveniently located close to the main train station and the shopping centers.  

 This morning, we walked outside in warm weather and found ourselves ordering a "full English" breakfast at a local cafe. It included an egg, bacon, tomatoes, beans and sausage with bread and instant coffee. England is hardly known for its cuisine so our expectations were low.
 The breakfast was OK but we went to a nearby Starbucks for some real coffee afterwards.
 A short walk up the road ... we found "Wagamama, translated as spoiled" in Japanese. I wonder if it's any good. We also saw another Japanese restaurant called Mount Fuji.
Across from the Bullring shopping center was St. Anthony's church. We may stop by later to see what it looks like inside.

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