Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Delayed in TIJ

It is 1:13a and we are all lined up and ready to board. Not sure of the delay, but I am certain we will not make our 1:25a scheduled departure time. I have until 10:40a to arrive in Tokyo, I think we still have plenty of time.

Ah, boarding now...See you on the other side of the dateline.

Merry Christmas from Tijuana: Next stop Tokyo, Japan

I've decided to try WordPad as using Notepad or Word 2007 and pasting the text into blogger messes up the formatting. We'll see how this works as we continue (I just pasted it in and it still re-formats everything incorrectly).

The boarding process was smooth; we were greeted by the Chief Purser who told us which aisle to use to get to our seats. Other crew members were placed throughout the cabin saying hello as well.

I turned right and was greeted by a really clean green cabin in a 2-3-2 layout with three rows numbering from 5 to 7. I looked to my left and saw the rest of the Business Class cabin in a similar layout with what seemed like four rows. I assume starting at row 1 to 4 (I later verified and that is correct).

I got to the first row of Economy which started at row 8 in its 3-3-3 configuration. I noticed that the seats looked wider and that there appeared to be more leg room. After sitting down, this was indeed true. In addition, the seats all have footrest. Footrest usually don't work for as I am too tall so it actually invades my space; I tried this one and it is neither here nor there.

Pillows and blankets were already on each seat and there were white headrests on the seats with the word 'AEROMEXICO" emblazoned in white on them.

I started getting settled in and checked out the individual TV screens in every seat. The Deciembre/Enero Guide said we would have ten movies and four TV shows during the flight. This was in addition to music channels as well as the Airshow program. The movies were:

No Reservations
The Bourne Ultimatum
An Arctic Life
The Ultimate Gift
The Invasion
A long Walk

For TV shows, we had:
Monica Patino
Everybody Hates Chris
Treks in a wild world

Movies were offered in anywhere from one to four languages; Spanish, English, Portuguese and Japanese.

I said hello to the young couple who were sitting on my left. The male indicated that he only spoke Spanish and his wife who appeared Japanese was talking Spanish to him. I turned and in the worst Spanish I know asked her where she learned Spanish and she said Japan. There will be lots of laughter on this flight as that is what usually what happens when people cannot speak the same language and tries to interact. I had lots of questions for them both; like how did they meet? How is his Japanese, they seem to be speaking O.K. in Spanish.

We pushed back five minutes early and after a short delay was on our way. The safety announcement was first done in Spanish, then English and finally Japanese. About a third of the way through the Japanese version, the Captain said in Spanish something like prepare for departure. The screens then went back to the Airshow and the flight attendants quickly checked the cabin and took their seats.

The TV screens said 7,348' as our altitude; wow that is high I thought; at 10:12p, we started our takeoff roll. The Captain had said in both Spanish and English that it would be 3:15 to Tijuana, except the TVs said 2:46, not sure why there was a discrepancy.

As we took off, we made a right hand turn from about a 50 degree angle to a 345 degree angle to pick up our heading for Tijuana. It was fun to look out the right window and see the city's lights bounce off the top of the wing. The effect made it look as if we were flying backwards. I pointed it out to the couple next to me and they too found it amusing as well.

As soon as we cleared 10,000', the seat belt sign came off and the safety video continued in Japanese as it was not quite finished before it was our time for takeoff.

In a few minutes, the flight attendants came through with complimentary headsets followed by a menu; an especially nice touch I thought. I really like it when airlines have menus in Economy class. I kept getting two of everything as the flight attendant on the left gave me stuff when she served the couple next to me.

The menu was in Spanish, English and Japanese on a two-sided sheet of paper; it read:

Nopal tsukidani
Mixed marinated vegetables

Main Course
Filet of beef accented by black peppercorn sauce, presented with buttered green noodles, sautéed vegetables, red bell peppers, carrots and corn
Hoisin breast of chicken with rice and peas served with teriyaki sauce

Guava compote

To complement your meal, we are pleased to offer you tea, regular or decaffeinated coffee.

Apparently, the movies started right after the headsets were handed out as by the time I switched channels, they had been going for 10 minutes already :-(. I never heard an announcement though; in any language. But not to worry, I pressed rewind and voila, it rewound; hey, the system is Audio/Video on Demand (AVOD), who knew!

The crew of six was in the aisle with the meal service at about 10:44p.

The service was stellar although they don't offer wines on board; just strong spirits, beer, juice and of course water, and it was Japanese beer as opposed to both Mexican and Japanese beers. The service took less than an hour as the flight load was light.

A lady across from me ask how long was the flight; I told her that the total time was 3:15 I could see the "OMG" in her eyes as she was having trouble with her little new born baby (about three weeks I'd say). She wanted to the eat and the baby was fidgety; eventually she changed her, fed her and lay her on her back; this seemed to calm the baby a bit as all I heard after that was cooing.

After dinner, I went to brush my teeth and also check out the plane; while waiting for a lav to be available, I sat in one of the three empty seats in the middle at row 22; the bulkhead row which has so much legroom I can sit and stretch out my legs and the base of my feet just touch the bulkhead. In addition, the Exit Rows at row 23 are fantastic; they are pushed back so that the person in the window has a lot of legroom. The aircraft goes back to row 36 where row 36 actually sits between the two rear doors. Row 35 also has three seats. Row 34 is the last row with a 3-3-3 configuration with a lav behind each seat. There is awesome legroom on ths plane. Can't say there is a bad seat on this one at all.

I also found a menu stuffed in row 22; it was from a Madrid/Barcelona to Mexico City flight; the menu was in Spanish and English only.

I was fussing about not being able to go back to the beginning of the movie easily when I accidentally pressed the Stop button twice, voila!

I started watching "Stardust" and eventually fell asleep. I was awoken by the announcement saying that we were descending into Tijuana and would be landing in 18 minutes. The movie had been going for 1:14 I think or was it 1:45. No sweat, I have about 12 hours to go on this leg of the flight so I can catch up. I just have to figure out where I fell asleep.

Tijuana International Airport, Tijuana Mexico (TIJ)

We touched down at 11:18p and taxied to the gate. The instructions were that the Tijuana bound passengers should get off first. Everyone seemed confused for some odd reason. Eventually we all started off, except for the Japanese passengers; the announcements were only made in Spanish and English. Eventually, everyone started to get off.

On my way out the young lady with the baby, said that she was going to Los Angeles and she wondered where I was going. I told her Tokyo, she said "Oh." Not sure what that meant. She said she was living in Los Angeles in the Watts area; I asked why she was flying into San Diego and not Los Angeles, she said it was easier and that Mexico is too slow for her and she needed a more hip city to live, hence Los Angeles. We bade goodbye at the exit as she entered Mexico and I followed the Transit signs, with the Transit sign in my hand.

There were quite a bit of transit passengers; about 70 or so I'd say and equally split among Nationals and non-Mexicans. We were split into two groups. There was only one office for at least ten minutes and then eventually there were four officers. I could not understand why there was confusion, but there was; not with the Foreigners, but with the Mexican citizens. Eventually it was my turn and the machine would not scan my passport. The officer called another over and they started banging the reader; that did not help either. I was sent to another post where eventually that reader worked. I hope my passport is not ill.

It was now Christmas day in Tijuana. Our flight would leave at 1:25a. I headed upstairs and to the right to wait with the rest of the passengers. It is 12:40a and we await the boarding. One of the pilots just arrived.

I'm plugged in and using the same access to the Internet I had in Mexico City; there is no Lounge in sight.