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Texas Trip – Day 3, Part 1

Texas Trip – Day 3, Part 1

 

I was once told that I should never apologize for not getting the posts out on time, but I do apologize in this case.  I do not get much computer time at my Dad’s house because he is up most of the night on the computer and during the day when he is sleeping, well the computer is in his room and I don’t want to wake him up.  Some of the times he is out either my brother gets on the computer before me, I am out somewhere or I am sleeping.  I will be a lot more active once we get back to the Philippines.  This site seems to be taking a beating since I do not get to update everyday so I hope it all straightens out later.  On with Day 3.

Early in the morning, around 0830, I headed for the Base Exchange ( BX), which is the base shopping center for the ones of y’all that do not know, to buy Lita that pair of shoes because she had already returned the other pair of shoes to Mrs. Washington.  I still had most of the money left from the previous night when I used the Community Bank (part of Bank of America) ATM at the base hotel downstairs.

Yokota Air Base Japan

Thanks to some instructions from the front desk I found the BX easily, although it was pretty simple to find anyway.  I was just a few minutes early so I had time to look for the entrance.  It was a little bit tricky because the entrance is upstairs, right above the Commissary, but I finally found it.  After I found the shoe department and got a little help from a couple of employees, I finally found a pair of shoes that probably would be good enough for Lita and I know they filled the requirement of not being open toed shoes.  The original price was $29, but they were on sale for 50% off, so only $14.50 and no tax on base.  I bought her a size 7 although she normally only wears a 6-61/2 because I knew she would be wearing socks on the cold plane and she said she didn’t mind if they were slightly big.  It all worked out fine.  The shoes fit and she liked them, or at least she said she did and did not complain about them.

So we packed up and checked out of the hotel around 10:00 and headed for the passenger terminal.  It is normally a 10-15 minute walk, but when you walk with Lita it automatically adds at least 5 minutes to your time.  We didn’t know it at the time but there is a free base shuttle bus that makes scheduled stops around the base and 2 of those stops are the base hotel area and the passenger terminal.  Next time I will take advantage of that.

Shortly after getting to the terminal I was talking to a Tech Sergeant there and he told me that ‘maybe’ the Officers Club did foreign currency exchange.  Well we were running low on dollars but still had plenty of Philippine pesos, so I asked him where the Officers Club was.  It turns out that it is right next door to the hotel we stayed in.  So I walked back by myself, hoping to be able to exchange some pesos.  I could have called, but it was getting pretty close to the time they would be calling people for the next flight.  I was told that the club was not opened yet and if I waited for them to open, supposedly at 11:00, then I would not have had enough time to walk there and back before we were scheduled for roll call (11:15).  I was a calculated chance that did not pay off.  Not only did they not exchange Philippine pesos, Yen they will exchange, but the lady at the cashiers cage told me that they opened at 0900.  I could have called.  I guess I should have anyway. 

So now it is 10:45 and I still have to get back.  I made excellent time for being so tired and got back in approximately 15 minutes.  I made it and can now rest … Not.

I just happen to check at 11:05 and found out that I forgot to check in when we arrived at the terminal.  I was so worried about the money, I forgot.  Lucky for us that the flight had 73 empty seats and there were only 26 passengers.  If you are not signed up when they do the roll call, you do not get on. 

Kanto Lodge - Yokota AB Japan

So with roll call finished and our name on the list, all we had to do was wait for them to say it was time to check in.  Around 11:35, that call came.  I was still a bit tired from all the walking, so I decided to wait and be the last to check back in.  After all our name was on the list, there were plenty of seats and we were in the clear right?  Wrong again.  When I got up to the counter the asked me we got our passports stamped saying we were leaving the Philippines.  Nope.  I had to get mine and Lita’s passports, walked to the Japanese immigration office off base, about a 1/2 mile, to get them stamped.  We were not the only ones that didn’t do it, but the others were already gone and some of them were already back.  Of course the Security Guard at the gate would not let us walk through the gate right close there, safety hazard, so we all had to go over the walkway to get to the other side.  It made the walk longer and harder because of having to walk up the walkway.  It was 11:45 when I started walking and if I was not back by 12:30, we would not be able to get on that flight.  So off I went again for another long walk.  I am already dead dog tired before the walk even starts, so I wonder if I made it or did we have to spend another night at Yokota in the hotel?

I’ll let y’all know all about it in the next post.  I hope it won’t be so long before the next one either.

Salamat Y’all

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:US_Yokota_Air_Base_1_Tokyo_Japan.jpg

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/bYPuN-2P1Ra_fvIq5xTnzQ

 

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9 Comments

  1. Hi John,
    Certainly appears you had no end of adventures on your trip. (I just had the usual missed connections etc., lol) I’ve been checking the site daily to see if you’ve been able to post and curious how your time in Texas is going. I’m back in the USA and missing the Philippines and my wife again. Working on her visa issues, etc. I sure hope your trip back works out easier for you. It should given that you’re an experienced Space A flyer now. I’m a little jealous as you know I’m only a Gov’t contractor and not a veteran so I’m not entitled to this free flights. The cost of commercial flights has just about doubled over the last five years. Enjoy your stay and give us some tidbits of what y’all are doing down in Tejas to keep us interested, hehe. Just kidding. Take care, Mark G.

    • I was beginning to think UJ fell into a Texas sized pot of chili and couldn’t get out. Hope everything is going well and watch out and don’t eat too much beef. Geep them updates coming. 🙂

      • Oh I’d get out of the pot eventually, even if I had to eat my way out. Surprisedly I have not eaten a lot of beef while here. I thought I’d be eating steak and/or hamburgers 3 or 4 times per week. In the almost a month we’ve been here, I’ve probably had beef 5 or 6 times only. I’m sure I’ll get in 3 or 4 more times before we leave though.
        I’ll get the updates out as fast as I can get to a computer.

    • The trip back I hope will be less eventful too. I think we will not get any free flights going back but maybe the Patriot Express from Seattle to Osan. It’s possible, if the situation comes up, we might try to go from Travis to Korea, but the flight I saw goes through Hawaii and there are a lot of people going there, especially during summer break at the schools.
      We miss being in the Philippines too, but it’s mostly because we do not have our own house here and neither of us really like having to stay with someone else. We are getting some needed things done, so it was necessary to be here. I hope next time we will be more prepared to stay here. I know we will be.

      • You got me confused as you sound a little unsure about where you guys really want to be. One way or another, I’m going to the RP if I have to swim over. Stick around and you will feel the ‘rat race’ creeping up on you.

        • I suppose we’d rather be in the Philippines. The things here are nice, but we can live without them. The cost of living is skyrocketing so high here also. We would never survive on our income here without getting jobs and for Lita to stop working was one of the major things we wanted to accomplish when we moved to the Philippines. Also when in the Philippines not only can we survive pretty good, but we can have enough money to travel to different places also.

          • Now you’re thinking and being smart. 😉

  2. Hi John!

    I hope you and Lita are having a nice time in Texas. I have been following your saga since the start. I am amazed at how much trouble you guys would endure for a free flight. I don’t think that I would be willing to deal with such uncertainty to save a few dollars. Hope your return trip goes much smoother.

    • Well Tom I’m glad you have been following. I haven’t gotten too many comments since I’ve been here and I was starting to think no one was paying too much attention to this trip.
      As for trouble enduring, well it is mostly only because it was our first time and we really didn’t know what to expect. The next time it will be easier. I don’t know if we will be as lucky and get flights so quickly, as we did this time, but we will better know how to deal with it.
      As to saving a few dollars, well a round trip ticket on commercial costs about $1200 each and our flight at P12,000 each was more than we would have paid if we planned better. The C5 that we rode in had better seats than the coach commercial flights and we also got ‘free’ snacks of chips and sodas. All Space A flights are not the same, but if you have the time to spare, it’s good.
      Besides, we didn’t have the money for the commercial flight. That was the only way we had of getting here. Luckily we got lucky on the flights at the right time. Next time we will have more experience to know what to expect. I think our next Space A flight will be to Kadena AB in Okinawa. The one after that could be a challenge though. We want to try to get to Europe.