Last week, I was in America for business matters which means that I didn't get the chance to explore the places I stayed-in. It was my very first assignment outside Asia. Though I thought it would be a good experience (I've been curious on how America looks like since I started thinking) but it would be a torturous 10-hr flight from Tokyo to LA then another 4-hour flight from LA to Houston. And I am not really comfortable flying. A challenge I hope I'll emerge victorious, overcoming my fear of flying once again.
I didn't get any sleep the night before my flight, that's how I prepare for the coming trip. Sleepy as I was, the moment I found my seat, I immediately went off to dreamland only to find out later that our flight was delayed due to heavy rains. Can't believe I woke up with our plane still on the ground. Now, I am wide awake. It's broad daylight when we arrived at LA. I finally entered US of A. I thought I would have problems with the immigration officer, luckily I didn't. One flight survived.
At LA airport, I had to wait for four more hours before moving to Houston. It was another 4-hour flight and I am trying to stay calm overtime the pilot warns us about turbulence. And the passenger beside me made the scenario worse. She kept on complaining that this is the first time she experienced turbulence on a domestic flight. Thank you very much lady. I survived the flight again though. Woot!
In Houston, I didn't get the chance to go around the city as I have to stay at the vendor's company from 0730H to 2130H. It was all work. But I did get the opportunity to meet with my former officemates (after 4 years) and my high school classmates after 16 years). Houston at that time has this summery weather just like in Japan. I stayed there for 4 days and went to Indiana for another meeting.
The oranged-leaved trees welcome my arrival to Indiana. Autumn in Indiana. Never expected the weather would be way cooler than Houston and I am wearing an ordinary tee. LOL! The breeze was cold that I don't want to go out of the airport. But I have to as I have to catch another meeting right away. Well, I miss to read the mail from the vendor that he is going to pick me up from the airport. I hailed a cab and went directly to the hotel. Confident that I have enough money, I paid in cash. Didn't expect it would be a problem later.
The next day, I went to the vendor shop for another meeting. After spending some time there, I know my business trip is coming to an end. Inside the taxi, I found out that I have only $65 dollar left and that wouldn't be enough until tomorrow. I asked the driver to bring me to any bank / hotel / shops that changes foreign currencies. But to no avail. I panicked. I tried to withdraw via credit card but I just realized that I don't have that option. The cab asked for $25, I only have $40 left (and if I remember correctly, fare from airport to hotel is $45). As soon as I went back to hotel, I inquired if they can lend me $20 and just add that amount to my bill. But they said it's a NO! What to do now? I called the taxi again and asked how much would it cost from hotel to airport, and he said $35!
See, I still have $5 left. The time has come to return to Japan. And here I go again battling with these flights. First flight, an hour flight from Indiana to Chicago. It wasn't really a challenging flight. Chicago underground transport to O'hare is a tourist attraction itself, imo.
After waiting for an hour, I took the 2nd flight, Chicago to LA and then I have to wait for another 3 hours before my LA to Tokyo flight. I am already at the departure area when I realized I didn't pass through an immigration officer. I wondered and asked one the attendants if I missed certain procedures. What a relief when she said that immigration officers only incoming visitors. And I was off to another 11 hour air torture.
Again, I survived the last flight. I emerged victorious against fear of flying and my curiosity about US of A was satisfied. The trip may be short and it's a business one but I was able to enjoy it. I can't help thinking though, that maybe I can go back there for a vacation and away from paper works.