We had a two-hour layover at Charles de Gaulle Airport meaning we just had time to move to another terminal, pass the security check and do some souvenir shopping before boarding the flight. One thing that I find really annoying about this airport is that in addition to checking my laptop, they made me unpack all my camera gear on the conveyor belt, including all my lenses. This hasn’t happened to me anywhere else, but it seems to be normal procedure in France. I wonder if there are other airports that are as strict?
We got to board the plane 20 minutes late, because they were cleaning up the cabin, or at least that’s what we were told. As expected, most of the passengers were Japanese, and as they often do when they have spare time, most of them dozed off as soon as they got to their seats. A Japanese woman sitting next to me fastened her seatbelt, opened her French novel and went into coma before the plane even started moving. She actually slept through the take-off. For me the take-off was like the opening scene in Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety and I would’ve rather skipped it. I wouldn’t mind flying if I could skip the take-offs and landings, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
All in all the flight was extremely boring – partly because I was so anxious to get to Tokyo, and partly because the entertainment system kept crashing. The system didn’t allow rewinding or fast forwarding the movies so I would have to start watching the movie again from the beginning after every crash. Eventually I gave up watching The Hangover and watched some stuff I’d loaded on my Creative Zen. Our flight attendant was also very entertaining, because he stubbornly spoke to me in French although he knew that I couldn’t understand a word. The most exciting part of the flight was when the Japanese lady next to me tried to get something from the overhead luggage compartment and dropped a pair of crutches on an old man sitting behind me. It turned out that she was very good at apologizing in French.
After the sun set, I slept for about an hour and then just watched some TV until the morning. When we started approaching Japan I got a bit nervous; not because of we were about to land, but because this was my first time to Japan for seven years and I didn’t know if I would still be as thrilled about Japan as I was when I first lived their or if I would find it disappointing after having so much expectations.