Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Home desu

After just about a year in Japan, I am once again on Canadian soil. The flight from Narita to San Francisco was good, mostly thanks to a plethora of movie options on the very new Airbus we were flying in, the 9 hours went by relatively fast. The descent into San Fran was absolutely beautiful, the hills surrounding the city are just breathtaking when seen from altitude. I also got to see an interesting view of the Golden Gate Bridge, covered in fog with only the very tops of it poking through the mist, very cool! From the plane, I was also able to spot Alcatraz Island... and think SF is definitely a place I'd like to visit some day. The airport on the other hand was a pain in the ass. First, the immigration section was a drag due to the new laws requiring foreigners to be printed and photographed. While as a Canadian I was exempt from such stupidities, I did have to wait while every passenger in front of me in line underwent the process. I also had to get my luggage, go through customs and check it in again which sucked. The difficulties I experienced seemed to stem from the fact I was transferring from the international to the domestic sections of the airport, and there is just no indications as to where to go to do that, which was annoying and left me wandering for a while before finding my way. I sat down at what looked like a decent restaurant for a bite to eat and was sadly disappointed by the cold dry club sandwich I was served covered in potato chips.... ick... Wolfgang Puck, I am not impressed!

I finally did make it to my gate however for the couple of hours waiting I had ahead of me. It was at this time that I realized just how different international passengers\flight crews\staff are from domestic US passengers\flight crews\staff... it was like night and day. There were couples openly arguing with each other at full voice, people were blabbing loudly on their cell phones all over the place and the airport security guards were walking around eating donuts and covering their uniforms with powdered sugar. I kid you not! After a year in Japan, this scene was fascinating to me. The flight from SF to Detroit was uneventful, and I got talking with the 2 people in the seats next to me which passed the time nicely since there was zero entertainment.

Arrivals and transfers in Detroit proved to me a much better experience, while there was lots of walking from one gate to the next, the airport was well laid out and easy to navigate. And the bonus was that once I got to my gate I got to speak to some Ottawans who were returning home from a Tahitian cruise, nice to talk to my peeps again, in English and French too!

The biggest hiccup of the trip occurred once I landed in Ottawa. Knowing that my family was waiting for me at the gate, I hoped for a quick clearance through customs but no such luck. After the initial check, I was told to head left to Secondary for a search. I assume that since I was gone for a year and told them I wasn't bringing much back, they felt suspicious... and that's fine. The problem arose with the moron I got doing the search. He ended up being a Japanophile of sorts, into martial arts and stuff and spent most of his time questioning me about my experience in Japan and not focusing on my luggage search. He even had me power up my laptop to search for illegal porn and ended up going through my personal pictures and asking me questions about them... I was not a happy customer, but didn't want to make the process any longer so I went along with this BS. Finally I was waived through and was greeted by my parents and brothers and whisked home to bed.

Monday was an absolutely gorgeous day, the sun was out and the skies were blue... great weather to be out and about. It was so good to be home again, even if it is for just a short time. Here be the homestead.

And the backyard, complete with grass AND pool!

And my street, with the trees just starting to bud now with the nice weather starting.

Once of my biggest complaints about my apartment in Japan has been the lack of kitchen space... this is why:

And that's only the counter space! I miss a real working kitchen... Don't mind the guy with the toque, that's just my brother Christian.

So we headed out after breakfast and did a little running around picking up some essentials I required such as sandals, shoes and toiletries. Our travels eventually took us to a Canadian phenomenon, The Beer Store. People laugh when I tell them about it, but there is such a thing, and here is the proof! Us Cannucks do like our beer, and the province of Ontario controls all alcohol sales which means they run a series of stores called The Beer Store... chock full of cold brewy goodness.

In the evening, a bunch of folks came over for dinner\beer\coffee and it was nice to see everyone again. I even gave an impromptu lesson in chopstick use, which didn't turn out all that well as you can see my aunt giving it a go here...

I also finally got to see my good friend Sir Lewis of Smeeland which was great. Since he hadn't been to pick up his Christmas gift, I gave it to him myself.

We made out the final plans for our camping trip tomorrow and it should be a lovely time on ol' Basin Lake. This morning, I think the jet lag is starting to settle in. Despite a midnight bed time, I was wide awake at 6AM, thus this blog entry... lol

So needless to say, I had a fantastic time in my first 48 hours home, and am looking forward to the rest of my time here. Camping tomorrow and Thursday, followed by the cottage for Friday and Saturday.... nice... ttyl.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home