Takashi and his wife's plans were to arrive in Albuquerque this evening, then go on to visit his cousin, in Boston, tomorrow morning. On their way back from Boston, the plan is to come back through Albuquerque and spend a couple nights here.
Dan and I headed for the airport tonight, in plenty time to be there before their flight would arrive. Tim was waiting for a call from us, to tell him where to meet all of us for dinner. We didn't know how tired Takashi and Yoko would be, so weren't sure whether we'd be going to a nice restaurant for dinner, or just grabbing something quick so they could get to bed.
We saw, on the screen, that their flight had landed, and we watched carefully as everyone came through the gate from the secure area. I was standing ready with my camera to get a picture for my blog. But they never came through the gate. We waited while planeload after planeload of folks came through the gate. No Takashi!
By this time, the airport was nearly EMPTY, and there were no more flights coming from LA.
I stayed by the security gate while Dan went down to the baggage claim area. We figured they'd have to be there if we had somehow missed them. But they weren't at baggage claim, either. Next Dan went to the ticket counter to see if anyone could help us in any way. The ticket agent kindly looked on the manifest, and told us that there was no one with Takashi's last name on board the flight they were supposed to be on.
Takashi and I had not exchanged cell phone numbers. We had only communicated through email. I sent him a couple emails while at the airport, the second one giving him my cell number. I'm hoping that he has a phone that will pick up my emails wherever they are.
We called Tim, told him the disappointing news, and arranged to meet at Applebee's for dinner. By the time we got to Applebee's it was 8:00 - rather late for dinner. But we placed our orders and settled into conversation with Tim. Of course, all of us were wondering where in the world Takashi and Yoko were, and if they were okay. Our best guess was that, coming from Japan, their flight was delayed, and they missed their LA connection. Maybe they are having to spend the night at LAX! If ONLY we had exchanged phone numbers.
At Appebee's, we waited about 40 minutes for our dinner. By then we were really hungry, and wondering what was taking so long, since there was hardly anyone in the restaurant. Finally our server came back to the table and said, "Could you remind me what you were getting?" We all just looked at her quizzically. I asked, "You mean, you haven't turned in our order yet?" to which she responded, "Well, yes, but I've lost the paper with your order on it, and I'm not sure what to pick up from the kitchen."
Pretty soon a manager arrived at our EMPTY table.
He apologized that we hadn't gotten our meal and offered to expedite the preparation, if we'd tell him, again, what we had ordered. We told him it was just too late, and that we would have to leave. He brought us a $35 gift card, which we accepted. We went home, and Dan had a bowl of cereal for dinner, while I ate a PB&J sandwich!
What a strange evening. An empty airport, an empty table, empty stomachs, and an empty feeling as we wonder where in the world Takashi and Yoko are tonight.