Friday, January 27, 2006

Grounded, on my birthday...

I was visiting Japan. Weather was as expected, very cold but still manageable. On most days, there was bright sun during day time. I asked a Japanese friend of mine whether does it ever snow in January, to which he answered, "Yes, but pretty uncommon."

Imagine my surprise and my delight when I discovered it was snowing as I prepared to go to the airport for my flight home. It was not even 6a.m. yet and the sky was still dark. As I went out of the hotel to get into my cab, I initially thought that it was drizzling. But only when I felt something soft but wet falling on my face did I realize that it wasn't rain, but snow! I thought, "How special! Uncommon that it is, it actually snowed on my birthday!" Throughout the journey to the airport, I was admiring the scenery along the roadside. There's something very beautiful and serene about snow-covered trees, bushes and the general open area.

Alas, I discovered that this snow was both a special blessing as well as bad luck for me at the airport. The snow was getting heavier and heavier by the time I reached the airport. When I finally boarded the plane, I thought to myself, thank God I'm already onboard and ready to fly home. Otherwise, even getting to the airport might be a problem due to road condition.
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Snowfall getting heavier at about 8+a.m.

However, the relief was short-lived. When seated and buckled, the captain made a sudden announcement informing us that the 'machine' that was supposed to perform the compulsory de-icing procedure on the aircraft had broken down and we had to wait in queue for the other working machine for approximately 3.5hrs. 3.5hrs sound pretty long right? I thought so too but it was nothing compared to 9 hours; and that was the actual total waiting time. Yep, 9 long hours stucked in a plane that was grounded while we wait for the $*^#! machine to come to our aircraft. We weren't allowed to go back on ground except for a mini 30-minute break. God must have taken pity on me for when I was about to go crazy after watching almost every watchable in-flight movie as well as finishing a novel and a magazine, and basically watching the world outside my tiny window from the aircraft turned from dark to light and to dark again, the machine finally came. Within an hour, we were finally off.
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Snow gathered on my tiny window.
Still, I missed my connecting flight home via Hong Kong when I reached Hong Kong 9 hours behind my scheduled arrival time. The airline did their part by providing hotel accommodation for the night at the very nice Regal Airport Hotel and meal vouchers. I finally laid my head to rest after a long and tiring day (sans baggages aka clean clothes and skin care) about 30 minutes past my birthday.

This is surely one birthday that I would not forget, for the wrong reasons....

6 comments:

gina said...

Viv, Happy Birthday to you. :) was just thinking of you the other day when I was baking Pineapple tarts and chocolate chip cookies for my inlaws.

rokh said...

happy brithday and happy chinese new year!

myCoffee said...

Thanks, ladies. Appreciate the birthday wishes. Definitely a "cheer-me-up" in my current midst of misery (still suffering from flu that I'd most like caught while stranded on the plane).

Niki said...

Heh - I spent part of January in Japan too, but we missed the snow in Osaka. We arrived just after the first lot, and left a few days before it did again!
I ended up sitting in Hong Kong airport for 9 hours because of connecting flight problems too. At least we could walk around though!

myCoffee said...

What a coincidence, Niki. Were you in Tokyo too? When did you go? We could have passed each other either in Tokyo or in the airport. *grin*

Niki said...

No, I flew in and out of Kansai airport and spent my time in Osaka where a friend has moved to teach English. We took day trips to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe becasue they were so close. I have been to Tokyo before and loved the place. I love the whole country!