Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stranded in Tokyo...

In a major airport like San Francisco International Airport, technicians were not able to move the passenger boarding bridge from the flight. After struggling for almost 2 hours they decided to move the flight away from the bridge, rather than the other way around! So outcome of all this?

  • Missed my connecting flight to Delhi from Tokyo.
  • Which meant one more day of delay before I meet my dear husband whom I hadn't seen for over a month
  • Which meant, I get to spend less time with him, before he leaves to the US on an official trip, in a week's time 
  • Which meant being stranded alone in Tokyo.
  • I got a transit visa with 4 days validity
  • Stay at a 4-star hotel
  • Return ticket to Delhi the next day
  • Got to meet and interact with an amazing lady
  • Last but not the least, I had half a day to see Tokyo and I had found the right company with whom I could go around! 
View from my hotel room
 The flight finally landed at 5:00pm and my connecting flight was at 5:30pm. In a state of panic, I was rushing towards the next gate hoping that I might be able to make it just in time. But people from the airline were waiting to let us know that the boarding had closed and that we will be provided stay and a return ticket the next day same flight. There were a few others who were in the same state as mine. That was when I met this amazing lady, she is a Scientist in the Pharmaceutical Industry and she was traveling to India to set up a new office in Noida. We both decided to stay together so that it would be easy to take care of logistics, finding the formalities to be done, collecting baggage, getting to the hotel, checking in and out and getting back to the airport the next day.

After checking in and letting the feeling sink in that I am in a completely foreign land unexpectedly, I decided to settle in for the night and sleep it off. Surprisingly, I slept peacefully but then got up by 5:00am. I had another 12 hours to kill. So got ready, made myself a cup of coffee and started searching if there was anything close by and found a Temple which was about 30 minutes drive from the hotel where we were staying. Around 8am, I called my Scientist friend and asked if she was ready for breakfast and over breakfast I suggested about this temple and she was totally for it.

So we took a cab just outside the hotel and headed to Naritasan Shinshoji Temple.

The temple is a very old Buddhist temple built in the year 940. There are many shrines inside this spacious complex.

Monks of the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple - looks like the color of the robes indicate their ranks

The above photograph is inside the main hall. After seeing the main hall, we started walking around the grounds towards the other temples.

We walked around the grounds exploring the different temples. Everything was in Japanese so it was quite difficult to really understand much.

As we kept walking we finally reached the top most level of the grounds. There we found another temple. This looked like it was the main temple, the Great Pagoda of Peace.
Great Pagoda of Peace

Main idol inside the pagoda of Peace

Unique Water fountain
Another unique water fountain

Finally, after couple of hours of walking around the various temples we set out onto the main street. Explored it for sometime till our cab arrived to take us back to the hotel.

We checked out around noon and then went back to the airport with 5 hours to spend. And then Tokyo Narita Airport was well explored, from one end to another!

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