It all started here...

It all started here...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Homeward Bound TPE to LAX

Taipei - Osaka - Los Angeles -- March 4, 2016

It's time to go home after this 25-day trip around Asia. It's not easy to end something fun, but it is nice to be going home too. Yes, we have been gone for too long. Let's go home!

Catching the bus back to the airport from Hyatt turned out a little bit harder than the ride in. There was some road work being done on the street right besides the Hyatt where the airport bus used to stop for pick-ups. When we purchased our bus ticket from the front desk at the hotel we were told that we need to walk across the street in front of the hotel and then a block down to pick up the bus. It was not a long walk but with luggage in tow it was a little bit challenging. When we almost reached the stop, we saw a bus leaving. Fortunately, the driver was kind enough to stop and waited for us to board the pretty full bus. Now, we just have to sit back and relax while taking this hour-long drive back to the airport.

Bus 1960 dropped us off right outside terminal 2.

JAL 816 and Legend Lounge

Checking in at the JAL counter was quick and easy as we received our boarding passes all the way to Los Angeles. We just had to make sure that our luggage all went through the x-ray with no problem before going through security and immigration. It was much better this time comparing to our last exit at Taipei International. 

Looking for the JAL Legend Lounge.

Our boarding gate...

...right across from the Legend Lounge. Now, that's convenient!

I really did not expect much since Legend is a contracted lounge for JAL. Contracted lounges are usually plain and boring. We were met by a young man upon entering, greeting us and taking our invites with a smile. Good first impression.

We settled all the way in the back of the lounge where it was quiet, spacious, and came with a view.

Yes, the decor is kind of boring.

Some work stations

Food wise, not a whole lot but not too bad really.
Still, of all the lounges that we had been at Taipei airport, EVA lounge ranked highest in the food department. Their shower rooms are great also, especially the new ones. Cathay lounge is most comfortable after the latest remodeling, food was OK. 
The Star Alliance Lounge in Taipei was quite good also.

TV room

Coffee from the self-serve machine.

After sitting in the lounge for a bit, I wanted to explore this terminal. This airport is actually quite interesting. Seemed like they have a different theme for each boarding gate which makes it so entertaining and colorful. There is a Hello Kitty one that is most popular.

This one is of Chinese opera

and Taiwanese puppet shows.

Bear theme

Taiwan aboriginal theme with the signature little steam train in Ali-shan.

Kids play area

Finally boarding our flight to Osaka. We were the first ones on board again.

Our bulkhead seats. Surprised to see slippers provided on such short flight. The FA also brought out a basket of amenities for passengers to choose in addition to the ones laid out in the restrooms. Nice touch, JAL!
As I mentioned before, Cathay didn't provide slippers even on long haul, only socks.

Ready for push back.

Goodbye, Taiwan! See you in a few months!

Another overcast day.

Now that's a pretty flimsy headphone for business class.

Lunch was served soon after. Choices of Japanese or Western.
Of course Japanese when flying Japanese airlines.

My main-Simmered Sea-bass with salted rice malt, steamed rice.

Appetizer (Zensai) Soy-simmered short-necked clam ginger flavor (in the little basket)
Prawn and Potato "sushi" style/Salmon and Welsh Onion Roll
Egg Roll/Skewered Duck/Flower-shaped Carrot
Green Soybeans/Grilled "Himetake" Bamboo Shoots

(yellow bowl) Japanese Pickles
Kobachi-Vinegared Eel
Kuchitori-Simmered Winter Melon

Miso Soup
Quite a big meal for a three-hour flight.

Dessert-ice cream
Our FA was really nice on this flight.

Overcast in Osaka also

Arriving KIX

JAL 60 Osaka to Los Angeles and Sakura Lounge

We had about an hour and 20 minutes transit time at Osaka airport. After looking for the lounge, we did not really have a whole lot of time to stay inside before heading out to the boarding gate again. I was not even hungry after that big meal on the plane so I kind of took these pictures in a hurry which turned out so blurry.

I love Japanese potato salad, so I had to get some.

I was a little disappointed at this lounge, I guess I was expecting more. It was quite crowded also.
Seemed like we just settled down, used the restrooms, then it was time to board our flight to L.A.

We boarded back to the same plane with a different crew, of course. This time we were on the left side of the plane.

Love to watch these guys.

Pre-flight drinks was served.

Soon it was dinner time. Again, I chose the Japanese meal which turned out to be amazing!
First course-Amuse-Bouce--Homemade Pickles and Homemade Olive Crab Coleslaw

Look at this! Selection of nine seasonal colorful delicacies in "Kobachi" bowls.
Absolutely beautiful!
I just have to show each bowl individually.

Jellied Conger with Shrimp

Squid with Egg Yolk Glaze and Broiled Octopus

Burdock Simmered in Broth

Simmered Spinach and Chrysanthemums

Roast "Wagyu" Beef with Grated Radish Soy Starch Sauce

I think they must have mistakenly put two bowls of spinach in my tray.
This tray was suppose to be Squid and Red Konnyaku dressed with Mustard Miso. It didn't look anything like that. It didn't matter though. I am not into squid.

Simmered "Yuba" Tofu Skin, Deep Fried Red and Green Sweet Pepper

Seasame Tofu, Broth Gelee

Chilled Seared Spanish Mackerel

Steamed rice, Miso soup, and Japanese Pickles

Main--Simmered Sea Bream with Turnips

Dessert-Mi Cafeto Iced Coffee Jelly and Coconut Flavored Milk Mousse. Quite interesting!

I slept for a few hours and did not order anything from their Anytime you Wish menu.
Then as the plane got closer to California, we were served a light meal of "Set Plate".
Again, I chose the "Fumiko's Japanese Set Plate"

"Kuroge Wagyu" Fillet with Brown Sugar, Fruit Tomato with White Miso Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese with Salted Cherry Blossoms.
Daikon, Shibazuke Pickles, Salted Cherry Blossoms, Steamed Rice

Clear Seaweed Soup with Ginger
Just beautiful!

California coast! Home at last!

Every time when I look back on each trip, I cannot help but praise God for His blessings and guidance. It's all His abundant grace that we are able to travel, visit friends and families and see new places around the world. We are not rich by any means, but His grace is sufficient. I have learned how to use points and miles to make our trip more enjoyable, thanks to my brother Tim, the points and miles expert. I am still learning and enjoying planning before trips and posting afterwards of our blessed trips. 
We are certainly thankful!