Japan

Airport madness

Taking a bike, let alone two, to the airport and in an airplane is always hectic. We arrived there by train, and then had to disassemble our bikes, fit them in the boxes picked up at the airport (mine barely fit, I had to cut a hole out of the topside to let my handlebar poke through) and then navigate pretty much the whole length of Schiphol with two huge boxes on a cart. Fun times. But we got through check-in and security without trouble, and promptly set down for a celebratory beer. Start of our adventure, yay! Half an hour before departure we made our way to the gate, almost next to our bar. When we arrived at gate D4, Antonio noticed that “there are way too many white people here for a flight to Hong Kong”. And indeed: we shouldn’t have been at D4 at all, but at G4. (At least I got half of it right?) Fuck!

For those of you not intimately familiar with Schiphol’s layout: Gate G is at least 10 minutes of intermittent running and speerwalking from D4 I can tell you now from experience, although it felt more like eternity. We arrived there sweaty and out of breath, not the best start of an 11 hour flight, but the crew let us through and off we were!

Both flights and the layover were very, very uneventful (good): everything arrived intact and on time, except maybe us; a bit broken from a 20hr trip and slightly jetlagged. Time to do the airport bike dance again! This time we didn’t even fit through the doors with our boxes, and thus obstructing the way for literally hundreds of people, which is the worst faux pas you can make in Japan but I’m sure it is only the first of many…

Assembling everything took a bit longer than planned (for no particular reason, I guess we were just a bit optimistic). We only managed to cycle away from the airport at 5pm, two hours after we arrived, which gave us only 1hr of daylight to cycle the 20km to Eniwa. There, we booked a (free!) campsite, where we arrived in darkness(great time to test our new bike lights for the first time) quickly pitched our tent, threw all our belongings inside, and went back to town in search for dinner. Our first Japanese dinner!

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