Don’t be alarmed! We made it to Japan and had a restful first day strolling through Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. “Restful” is exactly what we needed after the last few days.
We always worry before any vacation. Will something go very wrong and jeopardize the entire trip? Every trip we had worried, and every trip nothing had ever happened, …until now.
Three days before we were to start the first leg of our 14-month around-the-world trip, we were packing and re-packing our bags for a trial run. Joe shouted an expletive, waving in his hand something that was metal and ceramic. Beth assumed a piece had broken off his daypack. No, not off his daypack but, rather, out of his mouth.
His very expensive dental work for three lower left molars – all one bridge – had come loose and fallen out. At 3:30 pm on a Saturday afternoon of a Labor Day holiday weekend, we knew this wasn’t going to be fixed before we got on our plane Tuesday morning. That kind of work takes weeks, if not a month.
What to do? A quick call to our dentist – who was on holiday far, far away – got us to an emergency dental clinic. The clinic gave us a 5:30 pm appointment on a Saturday and by 7:30, Joe walked out of the clinic with all his teeth where they belonged.
On Tuesday morning, we did make our first flight from Portland, Oregon to San Francisco on schedule. Our change of planes in San Francisco was tight with only 40 minutes to catch the next flight to Los Angeles. We’ve made a lot of amazing and crazy connections in the past, so we weren’t worried. Our luck ran out. We arrived 10 minutes after the gate closed. Through a big pane of glass, we watched our LA flight back out of its gate without us.
What to do? We popped into the nearest airline facility, a lounge for First Class passengers (which we weren’t). The kindly fellow behind the desk made our problem his problem. He worked quickly and handed us new boarding passes for a perfectly timed flight to LA, and said, “Go, go!” We did, right after many thank you’s.
Did we make it the next day to Tokyo? Yes, we did! Comfortable Maylasia Air flight, and, then, a smooth trip from Narita Airport into the city, with helpful people along the way pointing us to the right shuttle bus, to the right taxi stand, and finally to our AirBnb apartment. Immediately, we lay down on the futon and slept deeply and well.