Monday, April 16, 2018

Day 59 - Friday, April 13, 2018 - Yokohama, Japan to Home

Today was our final day in Japan and Asia this trip. We met Rosie and Ozzie in the lobby before heading over the the Golden Arches for a quick breakfast. Since we had to check out by 11am, after breakfast, we put our luggage in storage and decided to head over to the nearby Doll Museum. The Doll Museum was one person's former private collection and it's a pretty complete collection of dolls from all around the world. While much of the signage is in Japanese, this museum had the most English signage we'd seen in a Japanese museum.

After visiting the museum, Angela and I walked to the Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel which opened at 11am. We bought our tickets, got photographed for a souvenir picture and took the 15 minute ride. This wheel is the largest clock wheel in the world and is some 354 feet high. It's closed on Thursday's but is nicely illuminated at night. Our hotel room had a wonderful view of the wheel.

When our time on the wheel was done, we went down a floor to a large room that contained all sorts of claw machines and arcade type games. The Japanese definitely take their claw machines seriously!! There were also a couple of roller coaster type rides but we didn't ride them.

We then walked back towards the hotel along the park paths with a brief stop inside a shopping mall that featured a Hawaiian themed area. Partially down the path, we encounter Ozzie and Rosie, so we joined them and visited a lovely flower arrangement display before strolling back to the hotel. In the park across the street from the hotel was yet another flower display inside tents. These displays were also extremely pretty.

Back at the New Grand Hotel, we met up with Ozzie and Rosie, collected our luggage and waited for our van driver who would drive us to the Narita airport. Before I continue I should say something about the New Grand Hotel. It is a historic hotel having been in this location for over 90 years. The old portion of the hotel appears to be used for meeting rooms while the newer section is about 20 stories tall with rooms which have exquisite views of the harbor area on one side and the city on the other side. The staff is super attentive to their guests and the rooms are quite nice. 

On the third floor of the hotel, there's the Admiral Perry room with several very nice paintings and a model of his ship. Admiral Perry was the American sailor who opened up trade with Japan in the 1800's. A friend of ours' grandfather was the last surviving member of the Perry Expedition, and we were able to send her photos of various Perry paintings and memorabilia from around the port of Yokohama. 

Our van driver met us just before 1:30pm and loaded our many pieces of luggage. He was dressed in a black suit and tie along with white gloves like a limousine driver. Our route to the airport took us across the Yokohama Bay Bridge and then through a series of very long tunnels. It took around an hour to reach the Narita airport where our flight left from Terminal 1 while Rosie and Ozzie's left from Terminal 2. So we said our goodbyes to them and loaded our luggage on a cart and went inside to check in. It was hard to find the United counter, but eventually a friendly United airlines employee beaconed us over to use the first class check in area as she wasn't busy.  

We then cleared security and then immigration before making our way to the gate area. Our Dreamliner 787 flight boarded easily and we were assigned seats in Premium Economy in a bulkhead row with lots of legroom. The flight departed on time and what was supposed to be a 9 hour flight to LAX departed on time at 5pm.  

Initially there was some turbulence as the dinner service was being attempted to be completed. After that, it was a smooth flight across the mighty Pacific Ocean. We ended up landing in LAX about an hour early at 10am on Friday! We used our Global entry to quickly pass through immigration, collected our luggage, and cleared customs. At this point I began checking for open flights to Seattle which were looking scarce on all airlines.  

Our daughter texted us that there seemed to be possibilities flying Alaska Airlines through San Jose, CA, so I listed us on the next flight there. We checked our luggage and we made that flight, collected our luggage and then rechecked in for the next San Jose to Seattle flight. We used our TSA Precheck to quickly pass through security and at the gate, the flight ended up being full. So we waited another hour for the next Alaska Airlines flight which we were able to get on. It departed promptly at 6pm and we landed in the dark and dreary and wet at SeaTac Airport at 8pm. Our luggage had already reached Seattle as it came on the earlier flight that we missed. So we had to go to the special baggage section and they retrieved our luggage.  

We caught a cab home as we didn't want to disturb our family or friends on a dark and rainy night. It was good to be home and see that everything was in order. And so ended our 2 month long 2017 Asian trip. It was wonderful and we got to see many new parts of the world and meet some new friends. Now we have to return to the reality of cooking our own meals, making our own beds, finishing our 2017 income tax return, and all the other day to day tasks of living.  

Will there be another trip and if so, where might it be? You'll have to say tuned. There are some interesting adventures ahead.


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