So strange things happen in my life sometimes. I had forgotten the amazing effect that working holidays can have on my schedule. Saturday morning the phone rang bright and early with a call to go to Narita, Japan. I'm not gonna lie to you (despite the title of this post) and tell you that Narita is my favorite trip, because it's not. Normally Asia means very long layovers and lovely hotels (oh, Renaissance Hong Kong). However, our union made a deal with the devil a long time ago for our Japan trips to be really short (i.e. 24 hours flight time in a 52 hour away from home span of time). And our hotel more resembles a college dorm room on move in day than any hotel I've ever seen. But I digress, it's the first time I've been away from North America for work in ages and I was a little bit pumped about that.
My first thought that morning went to something I had read in our paperwork about quarantines in Japan and China because of the H1N1 virus. If you will recall, I spent most of last week lying on the couch with a mystery illness. At briefing we had a minor discussion with our purser (aka boss flight attendant, as there are 14 of us on the big honkin' plane to Japan) and one of our trusty supervisors about the quarantine process in Narita upon arrival. The supervisor said something about traveling to Mexico in the last two weeks but since that didn't apply to me, I mentally cleared myself for the trip and told myself it would all be ok when I got there, despite the fact that the purser mentioned being in quarantine for 2 hours the other day because one passenger had a sore throat. Glorious.
12 hours and 260 coach passengers later, we were sitting at the gate in Narita when we were given bags of face masks for every person onboard to put on (almost 400 people). I am so sad that I wasn't allowed to take any pictures because it was one of the funniest things. Here's me modeling mine for you...
And about 10 people in Outbreak-style suits busted on the plane with all this high tech stuff to take everyone's temperature with infrared technology. Even though I was afraid that they'd find out about my secret sickness or that some other passenger would show up sick, it was still one of the funniest things that's ever happened to me in my line of work. We ended up passing our quarantine inspection and they gave everyone one of these little passes to get through customs and immigration.
I may or may not have mentioned that I had been ill within the past 10 days to pass the inspection. Oops.
Tomorrow, look for a fun post about sushi!
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