Well, when we first bought our "around the world" ticket, we had to stipulate our route, including all flight destinations, abiding by many rules and regulations all administered by the partnering airlines in the OneWorld alliance. Since we bought our tickets in May 2008, we would have one year to complete travel from our start date of October 2, 2008. I asked before purchasing our tickets, "What if one of the airlines either a)goes out of business or b)changes their flight routes before we take one of our scheduled flights?" I was assured that if either of those things happened, it was OneWorld's responsibility to re-route us, charge free.
Well, since May 2008, Qantas has discontinued their quick 3 hour flight from Singapore to Bali. After many phone conversations (thanks to my mom and dad in the US who are communicating with AA on our behalf because MANY of the international representatives don't seem to have the authority to authorize anything) and a few visits to local offices, AA graciously re-routed us, free of charge, to Bali from Sinapore. Through Tokyo.
Yes. You read that correctly. Our 3 hour trip to Bali became an adventure of 24 hours of travel, all the way to Tokyo and back. He he. I have to say though, it was kind of fun. I watched a total of 5 movies, many of which are old to all of you back home, but movies I have heard a bit about through the grapevine and have been dying to see. Any of you who know me well know I LOVE the movies. TV, well, I could take it or leave it on most days. But movies I LOVE. :) I got to see MILK (amazing), Gran Torino (fantastic), He's Just Not That Into You (fun), The International (not fantastic, but good) and I re-watched Good Will Hunting (one of my favorites).
In between my movie watching, we had about 8 hours to explore a bit of Narita, the city around the airport. Going on no sleep and either sake (me) or red wine (Rahima) from the flight (we realized a bit too late that no sleep, free alcohol and 8 hours to kill before the next flight is not always the best combination) we headed into Narita. We got ate udon, saw a great temple complex, got to watch a buddhist prayer ceremony, and see some wonderful Japanese gardens. I caught a quick 30 minute nap in the gardens (where a vampire mosquito bit my neck) before heading back to the airport.
I am looking forward to going back to Japan in a few weeks, but I have to tell you one of the funniest things that I saw there. The toilet in the airport bathroom. It had a whole electronic console. One of the options was "flushing music" with adjustable volume so that you could play the sounds of a toilet flushing while you emptied your bowels to cover up the actual sounds of emptying your bowels. Although I only had to pee, of course I pushed the button. ;)
So at this point I have officially visited all of the countries I will eventually visit on this trip of mine. Wow. I just crossed over into visiting 20% of this little planet. I know it's not over yet, but all I have to say is...
80% to go.