As a precaution, I decided Rob and I would be all packed and stay at that same Holiday Inn by the airport to make sure we didn’t have a repeat of either my trip over, or the Thailand debacle (responsible for me now travelling on a 12 month temporary passport issued in Bangkok without the appropriate visas in it). The best way I can describe Rob in a sentence is a fine looking English hippy who was completely useless to travel with despite being a seasoned traveller.
“Oh!” the lady at the check in counter exclaimed after taking some time searching on her computer. “Your travel agent should be shot.” “What is it?” my mother asked. “There is this tiny sticker on the top corner of the ticket,” she said looking at me. “I understand why you didn’t see it. They changed your flight. Your flight to Sydney left from the domestic terminal an hour ago. There is no room on this plane and I can’t see any way you can connect with your international flight to Japan today.”
I fractured my right pelvis ring in three places and would be in traction in hospital for around six weeks. That is, I would lie on my back in bed, not able to get up, even to go to the bathroom the ENTIRE time. FABULOUS! Oh the dignity of it all. I still had tubes, wires, and drips attached to all different parts of my body, I was heavily sedated, and couldn’t move. I could open my eyes and talk now, so I could communicate by more than just body convulsions as I went into shock, as I did the previous day when my mother expressed her displeasure at my irresponsibility.
I was one of the last people waiting when an older couple walked in. Wizened is a word that comes to mind as my first impression. One of the University staffers brought them over to my table. They most certainly had absolutely no English. Awesome! My Japanese was going to get really good, really fast, I thought.
“I thought Japan was supposed to be a developed country,” he said with a look of pure horror on his face. “I’m from a third world country and our conditions are better than this!” (Of course Spain is not a third world country, but Diego was prone to dramatization back then). We surveyed the situation as our translator gestured for us to come to the front counter. We then looked at each other and, in that moment, decided to roll the dice.