Japan Trip – Day 1: Vancouver

Today was the first leg of the trip ending with us in Vancouver for the night. Tomorrow we have a nearly 10 hour flight direct from Vancouver International to Narita International, which is just outside Tokyo. From there, it’s the Skyliner almost straight to our hotel in Ueno.

It was interesting to see the airplane wheelchair in action; so very little! I snapped a good picture with my brother’s camera of my him sitting in his chair beside the airplane one after getting out of it. The flight attendants on AC251 were quite friendly, so a big hat’s off to them.

After disembarking, an airport staffer that helped my brother off the plane was transporting one of the flight attendants to another part of the airport on a little courtesy cart … thing. As he approached us, my brother and I were jokingly saying to each other he should grab on and go for a ride. Sure enough, the gentleman told my brother to grab on to the back and he hauled him along! I snagged my brother’s camera, as it was handy, and took a video.

We were flying on an Embrauer 190 which has rear-seat touch screen entertainment systems. I started watching The Dark Knight but figured I’d save it until tomorrow if I wanted to watch it (since the flight from Edmonton to Vancouver is scarcely longer than an hour). Plus I’ve already seen it and have eight movies ripped onto my iPod touch so I’ll probably skip it all together. While smaller, the iPod touch’s screen looks way better than the one in the seat back.

Now that we were in Vancouver and picked up our checked bags, the first order of business was finding the Canadian Border Services office to register all our gear for temporary export. As I detailed in the previous post, we’re taking a lot of expensive electronics with us. If we didn’t get the proper temporary export form filled out, upon return to Canada we could be charged import duties and taxes because we had no (readily available) means of proving we didn’t buy all that stuff in Japan; doesn’t help that three of the items – my brother’s MacBook Pro, high-def camcorder, and Sony point-and-shoot – are brand new.

Even after asking for directions several times, we went on a wild goose chase trying to find the office. In the end, we went from the Domestic Arrivals all the way over to the basement of International Departures. On top of that, the office had a sign that mentioned only Agriculture, Immigration, and Customs – which of course I didn’t clue in are border services – so we disregarded it and kept going. Plus the frosted glass on the windows blocked any useful view of the inside, and it had that “closed for the day” lighting inside. Needless to say, we eventually found it and got the forms filled out.

Once we got to the hotel, we pulled out the laptops to load up the pictures and video taken that day. And have a quick video chat with our parents back in Edmonton! My brother set up his iMac so all they had to do was turn it on and open iChat.

But for now, it’s time to relax in preparation for a long day tomorrow.

Update: completely forgot to mention that while waiting for my brother to pick up his new chair from the FedEx hangar at Edmonton International (that’s a long story in and of itself), Jamie Salé stopped with her son beside where I was sitting. It was quite nice to see her free of harassing fans and able to just go about her business. I didn’t want to bother her either so I left her alone, simply smiling as she eventually walked past (she smiled back).

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