Ronery in Tokyo

Last flying trip of the year. I’ve worked steadily since the weekend after Thanksgiving with only 2 days off between each trip. The goal was to get a big block of time off for the holidays and kids visiting home from college. Goal achieved!! I’m off until sometime in January!

Tokyo was so clear and gorgeous. I’m on a trip where the captain is training a new guy. Not any captain can train pilots new to the 747 and fresh out of simulator training. He’s specially trained to do this, and is called a check airman. The part I didn’t like was that this trip was supposed to be MY flying trip, but I was pulled out of that position and told to be the relief pilot by the United Scheduling folks. Grrr. Nothing I can do about that. The new guy needs to land. I also “took one for the team” by volunteering to stay at the overflow hotel in Tokyo, so the captain could stay in the same hotel as the new guy. See, on international flights, learning the ropes of the layover procedures, like the transportation back and forth and where to eat etc is almost as important as the airplane procedures, and they don’t have simulators for that! So I’m alone on my layover which feels a little weird.

Last night after arriving I went out to see some truly AMAZING Christmas lights. The Yebisu Place Gardens area was filled with people taking photos of it all and shopping. IMG_4915
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of COURSE I had to stop and get some fresh and hot Okonomiyaki for take out!

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The hotel lobby was over the top!

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I was placed in a low floor room (the 6th) and needed my white noise app to block out the street traffic  and so I was SHOCKED to open the curtains this morning to see MT FUJI gleaming at me! I thought at first I was looking at a cloud on the horizon it was so unexpected.  It made feeling “ronery” a little bit easier to bear. :)

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A leafy hike

A few weeks ago I hiked into Seocho Park, a fantastic area of trails for running and walking that winds through the center of the financial center of Gangnam (yes, of the PSY Gangnam Style song fame) in Seoul and beyond. If the weather’s decent I make a point of working out here every layover in Seoul.  This ended up being the last of the fall color hikes because the next time I showed up it had snowed.

Leaves, leaves everywhere! Drifting up to almost sitting height.

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Yep, it’s a silk worm sculpture…

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I stumbled upon this directional sign pointing to North Korea. Nah. Not today…

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the trails wind in-between apartments and office buildings.

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The train station is the BEST for eats. This is my favorite dumpling place! Yummy way to rest up post-hike!

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Hong Kong-ing

Thanksgiving is over and back to work, this time to Hong Kong. I got a glimpse of the Occupy democracy protest on the way to the hotel. These kids are young, REALLY young, some look middle-school aged, wearing surgical masks and texting on their cell phones. Saw groups of bored looking police in gray riot gear. Just interesting seeing news up close and real…

There’s little I love more than breakfast with a view. And watermelon juice.

Except for maybe a room with a view. Talk about a command view of Hong Kong Harbor. Love it!
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On the westward flight over, the sunset lasted about three hours. Really gorgeous!
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Volcano!

This volcano was south of Cold Bay in Alaska, just where the land splinters and trickles off into the Northern Pacific. Does anyone know which one it is? It was smoking too. Could be related to the recent action all around the Ring of Fire.

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Khabarovsk!

I saw this city while flying high over remote and desolate northeastern Russia recently. I get so curious about these places and who lives there etc. Looked it up:

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Khabarovsk is the largest city and the administrative center of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia, located 30 kilometers from the Chinese border, at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers, about 800 kilometers north of Vladivostok.

Cool!