I was up at 4:30 and really tired! I tried to sleep on the way to the airport but I was too excited. I got there before the check-in counter was even open and started talking to a guy in line. We chatted in the first class lounge and then I went to buy some last minute things - a magnet and tea. I figured I couldn't leave China without buying tea, even if it was in an overpriced airport shop. :)
At the layover in Tokyo, he showed me where the first class lounge was and we looked at my pictures for quite awhile. All the food and drinks are free in the international lounges, where you had to pay in the states. The food wasn't wonderful, but I ate it.
Then I saw they had showers so I took one. It was seriously the nicest shower I had had in over 4 weeks!! The water didn't go from freezing to scalding without touching the knob, the water pressure was better than I have at home even, the towels fit all the way around my body and weren't scratchy and the toilet seat was even warmed!! It was awesome!
Since my ticket was free I had to make a bunch of connections, but with the first class service and lounges, I didn't mind at all. On the flight from Tokyo to LAX, I was on a double decker plane! I was looking for my seat and when I showed the attendant she says 'oh, that's upstairs'. Upstairs! On a plane! That was pretty cool. There were nice storage bins by the window and they handed out cardigans and slippers! But, the blankets weren't as nice as on the flight to Moscow and the seats didn't seem as soft - or maybe I'm just getting used to first class. lol
I had watched the movie 'Angels & Demons' on the flight from Beijing to Tokyo, but we had to put it away from landing with just 10 mins left! It's a suspenseful movie so I was dying to see how it ended and tried to finish it on this flight, but the stupid system wasn't working and they kept having to restart it. At this point, I'd had just 3 hours sleep in the last 2 days, so I told them I didn't want dinner, took a melatonin and crashed.I figured I'd finish the movie when I woke up. Only I forgot!! And now I find out it doesn't come out on video until November so I have to wait that long to see the last damn 10 mins! Doh! Oh, I did get to see Mt Fuji briefly as we were flying out!
I slept pretty good, only waking up a few times. They were serving breakfast when I woke up and I ate. Everyone else on the plane had slept in their clothes, but I had put on my pjs so I went and changed. I don't know why you would pay for all that luxury and then sleep in your jeans!? Since I had slept a good 7 hours, I only had 1.5 hours left when I woke up and breakfast ate up most of that.
We reached LA and customs was a breeze. I had had a banana in my bag but threw it out in the bathroom as you can't bring fruit into the country. There was an agriculture dog and he stuck his nose right in my bag and then sat down, which was his handlers sign that he found something. I explained to her I had thrown it out and let her look and she let me go through. Then, as I was waiting for my luggage, the dog came aroiund again and did the same thing. lol
I sat in the first class lounge and was about to ask for the password for the wifi and then I realized I was on American soil and I could turn my iPhone on! It was quite a strange feeling to be fully connected again, and I actually just kind of wanted to stay under the radar. I don't want to get sucked back into the hectic pace of regular life too quickly. On the last flight, when I saw Mt Rainier, I knew I was home!
I got Shuttle Express home and did a couple of errands, trying to keep myself awake until at least 9:30 or 10:00 to minimize jet lag. I went to the drugstore to pick-up an antibiotic that I have to take after the anti-parasitic in order to ensure it's eradicated from my system. When I got there though, they told me not only did they not have it, they couldn't even get it from the manufacturer! They gave me the name of 3 compounding pharmacies, which are pharmacies that actually MAKE drugs from their chemical components! I called the one in Seattle and luckily they had exactly 60 capsules, which is what my prescription is for. They said that it is a very uncommon one and they won't get in any more now until the middle of Oct! I guess Gobi desert parasites aren't very common in Seattle. :)
Other than that I just went to the library and picked up some movies and the grocery store to restock the basics. I also had a hamburger and fries while opening a month's worth of mail. When I went to pick it up, they literally brought it out in a plastic mail tub there was so much!
I'll worry about laundry and unpacking tomorrow. I'm setting my alarm for only 9 hours sleep as they say to try to get back on your normal sleep schedule as quickly as possible. But boy do I want to sleep for about 16!