As our plane landed at Narita yesterday, the Captain announced that all onward flights to Taipei were cancelled due to the typhoon. Which means that I am still four hours away from home, waiting for the storm to clear so I can go tuck my baby in to sleep.
I met a guy from Vermont while waiting in line for my hotel voucher at the United lounge. This was his first trip abroad, and he did not know what to do with the unexpected layover. He couldn't reach his contact in Taipei and he was not sure where to go next. He had a mask of bewilderness over his eyes. I took him by the hand (figuratively) and led him through the exiting process. I made a joke about not having a visa, and I thought he was going to have a heart attack. Oops. He did not know he needed to fill out immigration and customs forms. Do I have to declare anything, he asked? Well, not unless you have commercial goods or a million yen stuffed in your shirt. You're probably fine. Poor guy.
I hope I get home today. But if I don't, I know that I will just slip off downtown and stay at a nice hotel with a cool glass of wine. This is a positive externality of traveling so much - the confidence that a typhoon delay is no big deal. After all, I'm not stuck in Karachi. I can imagine now, though, how scary the experience can be for some other people. Alone, inexperienced, unsure... not fun.