Monday, January 09, 2006

Terror at Ten Thousand Feet!

Okay, so maybe not that dramatic...

I woke up this morning, hit the hotel bath one more time, dressed, packed, and went down to get some breakfast. I love hotel breakfast buffets, because I always eat a mishmash of food that should never be mishmashed together in one setting.

Today, I had some Chinese steamed meatball-like things, some spicy tofu on rice, some tofu-ish salad, and...

Corn flakes and milk.

Oh yeah. I know how to mix 'em.

How I didn't get incredibly sick to my stomach, I'll never know.

Back up to my room to grab my even heavier bag, back down to the lobby to check out (although I had to pull myself away from the TV, as it was showing "Something Wicked This Way Comes"), and then I lugged all of my junk over to the bus stop to catch the bus out to Okayama Airport.

It was much faster this time. I think it was because there was less traffic, and because I slept on the way out there.

At the airport, I got checked in, grabbed a snack, went through the security check, waited for about an hour, and then got on the plane. I was pleasantly sleepy by then.

The fact that no one was sitting next to me made me pretty happy too. More space for me!

There was an English-speaking flight attendant on the plane who was really nice to me, made sure I was comfortable, and even brought me some tea when I asked for it.

This was after I had managed to doze off for most of the flight.

I took a drink of my tea, felt the plane bank a bit, and thought, "Hmm, I'd better use the facilities before we head in for the final approach."

So I hopped up out of my seat, and proceeded to the bathroom.

Which was right behind my seat.

And was occupied.

So I waited a bit, and then after the occupant finished their business, I headed in and took care of mine.

It was after I was done that it happened.

I was heading out of the bathroom. A mother was starting to take her child in. It felt like the plane started to rise suddenly, because I felt this weird pressure, like my body was getting heavier. My legs wouldn't move. I kept trying to move them, but they wouldn't budge. I had to grab on to seats on both sides of the aisle and try and push myself up. I didn't work. The mother started giving the freaky foreigner strange looks. The pressure got heavier. I got confused. Why is the plane rising? I...can' (Shatner). I start to slowly, but surely move down. Finally, my legs don't give out so much as the pressure gets to be too much, and I have to sit down. Nice flight attendant runs over and asks if I'm okay. I say I think so, and I ask why the plane went up. She gave me a weird look and helped me into an empty seat.

I'm puzzled. I don't feel bad, but by now I have four flight attendants bringing me cold towels and asking if I'm okay. The English-speaking flight attendant brings me a glass of water and tells me to drink it. I ask if the plane went up suddenly. She says no. I start wondering just what is going on. People are telling me to lay down and I'm trying to assure them that I'm fine, just a little bewildered by what happened.

Then the pilot turns the seatbelt sign on and says we're going in for final approach.

So I sit there with a cold towel pressed on my face as we come in and land at Chitose Airport.

As the other passengers start unbuckling seatbelts and going for luggage, I'm still sitting there, confused.

[Side note: What the hell, people! Can't you wait a couple of extra seconds before unbuckling and standing up? We are asked nicely enough to wait until the plane has stopped moving and the captain has turned the seatbelt sign off. The door's not going to open any faster. Chill out!]

As the other passengers start filing off the plane, I'm still sitting there, confused.

As the plane starts to clear out, I'm still sitting there, confused.

Finally, I get up, grab my bags, and start moving off the plane. By now, six separate staff members are asking me if I feel okay. I do. Thank you. I'm really sorry to have caused you any trouble. Thanks for all your help.

I then go down, get my luggage, wait about an hour, and them hop on the bus back to Muroran.

I still don't know what the heck happened.

Maybe it was that damn goofy breakfast.


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