With the flight plan set, I was ready to make the trek across the largest ocean on the planet to visit the land of the Samurai! My itinerary was rather simple - the day after Christmas, I was to br
ave the weather and crowds to park at formerly named Mid-Cont
inental International airport (MCI, or better known as Kansas City International Airport) to head to St. Louis (STL) then onward to Los Angeles (LAX) to crash for the night. On the morning of the 27th, Dad and I would embark on a Boeing 777 to Narita, Japan (NRT), spend a few days in town, then hike back to Narita to enter
the US via Dallas (DFW). Once there, we would part ways - I would head back to KC, while Dad made an extra mileage run from DFW to STL and ending up in LAX. Whew!
A couple of days before taking off, I had the chance to exchange Christmas gifts with Kelly. Being a silly and sly guy, I was able to get some cool UCLA gymnastics swag for her. They're the best college gymnastics team in the nation - and heck, it gives me an excuse to get her to wear UCLA stuff. ;-) She, on the other hand, gave
this the excellent Moleskine journal to use in Tokyo - it's seriously awesome, served as my notes and maps and guide the whole time I was there. I'm definitely using it as my reference writing this blog! Thanks Kel!
The flights linking me to L.A. were uneventful. Waking up in L.A., I was greeted with some excellent views of the airport:
See the light brownish part of the sky above the mount
ains, beneath the blue sky at the top? That's smog. If you had asked me what that was before I left L.A. some almost 10 years ago, I would've told you that's everywhere. Little did I know that it was simply everywhere just in L.A.
We pop into the airport, get past security, and settle in to get on the plane. It's a little delayed, so I watch planes land. It's quiet in the nice lounge we're hanging in:
Right about at noon Pacific time, our plane was ready for takeoff! Stay tuned for the long flight there!