It has to be said that I am probably one of the world's worst time travelers (speaking in terms of the jet age rather than that of HG Wells and his eponymous Time Machine as it were). Those few hours of difference between Asia and Europe will leave me disoriented, degraded and at a complete loss to not just the time of day but the very day itself. Give me a week and I'll still be rubbish but eventually the rhymes and rhythms of this existence of mine will settle down and I'll begin to feel (ab)normal once again. But why does the journey have to be so painful in it's own right.
|Heathrow (T2 from T5)
My return home started with a domestic flight in the UK (delayed two hours by the wrong type of rain) at Heathrow. Where, upon arrival, I had to wait forty five minutes for my luggage to be recovered from the bowels of the aircraft. A ten minute walk, five minute train ride and another fifteen minute walk and I arrive at the chaos of Terminal 2, where the self check-in system appears to be requiring more staff at that moment than the conventional counter and clerk. And then it's another fifteen minute walk to lounge (yes, I indulged myself a little I admit), at least that's what the signs said but as the first two "fifteen minute" signs were about five mins apart, I'm going for more like a twenty minute hike.
And twelve hours later we land on a proverbial different planet. Narita may be the wrong end of nowhere but a modest walk where a soft English voice gently reminds me "the end of the walk is ahead, please mind your steps", a sign welcomes me to Japan (though the Japanese version actually says "welcome home") and a dedicated queue for returning foreign residents has me to the luggage carousel faster than my wife can make it through the Japanese passport lane. Which, to be fair, does annoy her somewhat. And standing there you notice all the bags are emerging from the center of the earth before the passengers have even arrived; and they're neatly spaced with handles carefully turned towards their expectant owners. And, I have to say, it's the little things that make the difference. It's good to be home.