Kyle: Babe, where should I put our passports?
Tori: My purse is cool. Just stick ’em in the inside zipper pocket so they’re easy to grab at the airport.
Kyle: OK sweet!
(3 min later…)
Kyle: Dude, what does that say right there? What is that date?
Tori: May, 2012… Shut up… Are you joking?
Kyle: Oh my efing God dude… No. I am dead serious. Passports don’t expire for 10 years, what the hell. I can’t believe this!
Kyle was scheduled to be the Best Man in a wedding on the 4th, and on the 5th we were supposed to go to a Snowboard Camp (We were jonezin over it for like 4 months). And now, we didn’t know if either were in the cards if he couldn’t leave the country. So begins what could quite possibly qualify as the best and most surprising summer I have ever had, since my Slip n Slide/ water trampoline days with my sisters.
July 27: Having already purchased our overnight bus tickets for the 27th, and finding out that Kyle couldn’t get into the US Embassy until Monday morning (where he would hopefully be issued a temporary passport), we decide to just get to Tokyo, Kyle would see me off the next day, and he’d stay with a friend until Monday… We are so hopeful…
July 28: I get in line to check the flight load for my incredibly cheap international standby ticket (only $300 one way) and they tell me that it is not looking like I’ll get on. After 5 hours of waiting, I don’t. Still not knowing if Kyle would even get to leave the country. So off to Fusa it is, where we get to hangout with our old friends Chikara and Miyu, who we actually met in the US while riding at Timberline many may moons ago.
July 29: Off to the airport again, fingers crossed… same deal, same waiting time, same rejection. We’re dirty, tired, and tonight we’ll sleep in Tokyo at our new friend Yasu’s house (Thanks for hooking us up Haya). We’ve got some time before seeing him, so Kyle and I have our first experience with a love hotel. It’s pretty rad, with colored lights and a sweet setup inside. We get a nice shower and some relaxation time. At the end of the night, the worker even gives me parting gifts for my sisters back home:) Later, Kyle and Yasu trade music and talk about Yasu’s old rockabilly band. Needless to say, he is super rad and we make a new friend. Kyle still doesn’t know if he can leave the country tomorrow, still doesn’t know if he’ll be the biggest jerk in history by not fulfilling his Best Man duties, still doesn’t know if we should just cancel the trip… The suspense is killing us!
July 30: You know those BBC documentaries where they show you how subway workers physically shove people into underground subway cars in Tokyo so they’ll all fit? Up until this point in my life, I thought it was a fluke… But at 6AM, during rush hour people time, I discover it is indeed true. I think my elbow was cupping some dude’s butt the entire 20 min ride. BUT Kyle got a temporary passport!! HE’S FREE!! Off to the airport. Once again, after hours of waiting, neither of us can get on the flight out, we hop a bunch of lists trying and trying to get a flight, and NO DICE. Kyle has higher priority, sometimes making it on a flight, but I never can. By the end of the night, we are exhausted. Eventually though, there is light at the end of the dark dark tunnel! The airport ladies tell us that we can get on the next flight out to Honolulu, and once we’re out of Japan it might be easier to connect to the mainland from Hawaii. Again… so hopeful.
We leave Japan on the 30th and get to Hawaii on the 30th. Time traveling is so weird. What do we discover once we arrive in Honolulu?… 70 other stand-by passengers from Tokyo also got told the same thing and Kyle’s bags are bound for Portland. Our possible flight however, does not leave for a LONG time. So, we make some quick friends (Jay and Quincy) and head to the beach to chill for a bit. I know Hawaii sounds like a great place to get “stuck”, but when you’re trying to get somewhere else, it does kinda suck.
Swim. Tan. Swim. Tan. Repeat. 4PM, head to the airport and wait around for hours, I still hate traveling, and we still don’t get on a plane. Who knew. We spend another night in Hawaii and Jay and Quincy go get a hotel. We don’t feel like spending money, so we find an internet cafe where I take a nap with my head on the table while Kyle buys me an actual ticket to Portland which leaves at 10pm the next night. By this time we’ve lost 4 days of travel, and may not get to our snowboard camp in time. (more about that in another post)
July 31: 4AM Get up, leave the cafe, walk to Waikiki Beach. Sleep on the beach like hobos. Get 3 miles of walking in, head to the airport. This is the last stand. I have my ticket for 10PM, and Kyle has an evening to try and catch a plane headed for Portland. The chances look good since the priority on his standby ticket is so high. I wait at his gate while he listens for his name, until I need to go to my own gate to wait for my plane to leave. “If we don’t see each other until Portland, it’ll be a good thing.” It means he got on the plane! I only have about 30 minutes left when the standbys from Kyle’s flight start spilling into our area. I don’t see Kyle. I am relieved. But what I do see, are the faces of this family who had been stuck in Honolulu too, and they give me this sort of apologetic smile and a nod of the head. I look behind me and there he is, in all his bearded glory… Kyle didn’t make it. I kiss him goodbye and tell him good luck.
August 1: I FINALLY get to see my seesters and family! YAY! We have a Classy Lady Party and hangout.
I wait around another day, and on the 2nd Kyle makes it JUST in time for the wedding, we go out to celebrate (and see Bubba Sparxxx) and we don’t have to cancel our trip to the mountain. All is well.
To be continued…