What a week [well, 12 days actually] this past week has been! After my adventure in getting to Okinawa, which actually turned out to be a good thing in that it let me see more of Tokyo, I spent about a week on the island sightseeing and relaxing with friends. We did a lot of relaxing, actually, since my sinuses kept acting up and that combined with the heat and humidity really knocked me out each afternoon. =( But it resulted in a nice combination of just hanging out and also sightseeing and it’s definitely going to be hard to go back to work tomorrow.
Right now I an sitting in the United Lounge at the Hong Kong airport being very thankful for my annual passes that my United credit card gives me each year. =) It’s so much nicer sitting in here getting free food and drinks and having a private space than being out there where I usually am.
I flew in from Tokyo last night at about 10:30 pm and by midnight the terminal I was in practically shut down and I didn’t see anyone else! It was so nice to stretch out and sleep for a couple of hours till the Lounge re-opened this morning and I was able to get back in, ha. I had originally planned to just stay in the airport overnight so that I could go see the Big Buddha this morning [since I ran out of time last time I was in Hong Kong] but I woke up this morning to heavy rain and thunderstorms [and the possibility that our flights might be impacted] so I guess I am just staying in the airport all day. =(
I opened youtube to play some music to drown out CNN on the tv here and youtube reminded me of this song that I love listening to. =) It’s nothing new, but if you haven’t heard it, do listen to it. Such a good reminder! I also love this song….reminds me of our trip to Jerusalem.
Just 6 more hours till my flight, ha. I still see flights taking off so here’s hoping that my flight stays on time!
You guys…I did it. I finally made it to Okinawa! Only three days later than originally planned, thank you Typhoon Chan-hom. Maybe sometime I will sit down and type out the entire saga for you to read. It was an adventure, start to finish, and all I can do is laugh when I think about it. [my real question in all of this is, “did I get frequent flier miles credited to my account for the flight that we took all the way to Okinawa and then back to Tokyo when we couldn’t land?” I somehow doubt it but I still hope so, ha. We need to get SOMETHING out of all that wasted time.]
Anyways, maybe I will post a real Tokyo post sometime soon, but for now, here is Mt. Fuji as seen from the air when we flew over it yesterday.
Oh the [mis]adventures of this trip!
It started out well enough, last night. I got in to Narita International Airport and easily found my friends. They took me to a mall near their house, we got some food [well, I got a cupcake since Japan Airlines gave us so much food on the plane I wasn’t hungry], went to their house, got all settled in, and I got to sleep Japanese-style at their house [so comfortable!]. Got up this morning, they took me to the train station, I made it all the way through my connections and to Haneda Domestic Airport only to find out my flight to Okinawa had been cancelled due to the typhoon there. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. If only they had let me know before I got to the airport I could have skipped the 2.5 hours I spent traveling, plus the train tickets, and stayed at my friends’ house! So I managed to get online and get my Okinawa friend’s number and have the JAL help booth call her to let her know I would not be arriving today, and then I sat down to use the free wifi and figure out a plan. JAL had booked me on a new flight for the next morning, but the jury was (is) still out on whether or not that one would also be cancelled due to the typhoon. After emailing my mom the news, she sent me info she’d found on a hostel near the airport and I just booked it without paying much attention to it. I figured I’d figure it out after I grabbed some food. Well…long story short I wrote down all the details for getting to the hostel, bought a train ticket, got all the way there and found the hostel only to discover they don’t open till 6pm and the doors were locked. I tried to use a phone back at the train station to cancel the booking since I figured there was no point in me waiting till 6pm to drop my stuff and then try to go see Tokyo, so there was no point in me staying there, but the man who finally answered spoke only Japanese and that was no help.
So….I bought another train ticket and came back to the airport to be inside out of the drizzling rain and to use the free wifi. The free wifi is pretty elusive, and I had to try about 6 different locations before I was finally able to get a very weak signal. So now I just sit here..killing time till I can drag all my stuff back over to the hostel and figure out what to do next. It’s frustrating to keep wasting money on train tickets but there’s not much else I can do.
You win some and you lose some. So far this cancelled flight felt like a loss, then a win [an extra day to see Tokyo] then a loss [can’t see it till after 6 pm and keep spending money on train tickets]…Here’s hoping things are better tomorrow. Fingers crossed for no cancelled flights, good weather, and fun times tomorrow. =)
Because I am heading out tomorrow on a 3 week trip [yay for school holidays!], and am getting seriously behind in blogging, I figured I’d better dig into some of my past travels and try to catch up a little bit. The blog will be quiet for a few weeks as I don’t have any scheduled posts, but I’ll keep on trying to catch up as I have time.
One of the highlights of my Asia trip back in February was a visit to Angkor Wat, in Cambodia. As the largest religious complex in the world, (depending on your parameters) Angkor is pretty spectacular. My real reason for being interested in it, though, was the fact that it looked pretty fun to photograph. And it certainly was! Despite the crowds, and intense heat and humidity, I was still able to get a few shots that I really liked. The place would be absolutely fabulous for a photo shoot if there was no one else there!
If you get the chance to visit Angkor while on a trip to Southeast Asia and Cambodia, definitely plan to spend a while there. [They offer 7 day passes for a reason!] We only spent a few hours there and I really wished we’d had more time there!
Last week one of my au pair friends from Brisbane flew into Perth and we spent 6 days roadtripping down south to Esperance and over to Wave Rock on our way back up to Perth. I had heard a lot about Esperance and everyone always raved about the stunning beaches, so I was really excited to be finally heading down there.
But…what is a road trip without a few hiccups? To start with, the weather forecast was awful. All it predicted was rain and thunderstorms for the time we’d be down there. We knew it was wintertime, obviously, so expected it to be cold. But I hadn’t thought about the fact that we might get rain. After picking up my friend from the airport, we headed down the Albany hwy straight into Albany where we had planned to spend 2 nights. We had some pretty bad weather on the way, with gusts of wind blowing rain all over the place and huge road trains kicking up more water on our windshield. On the bright side, the rain kept all the kangaroos off the road! When we finally got down there and checking into our hostel, I discovered that I had left my backpack with literally all my clothes (minus my pjs) back at the house. That was a really fun surprise, ha. Thankfully I had all my toiletries, pajamas, and our towels in another bag so I at least had some things. We ended up walking to the nearby K-Mart and finding all the things I needed to get by for under $30.00!
We spent the next day in the Albany/Denmark area so I could show my friend all the beautiful places there. I got to see some new things too, thanks to a guy at the hostel telling us how we could climb over to a hidden beach. It was interesting trying to get there, but once we made it, it was so much fun!
The next day we drove to Esperance, stopping at Bremer Bay along the way, and visiting a lot of the beaches there. We had originally wanted to visit one of the national parks nearby, but a lady who stopped at a roadhouse we were eating lunch at, recommended we skip it as the road wasn’t paved and they had recently had rain. It was pitch black when we finally pulled into Esperance and I was so thankful we had taken her advice and skipped the park. It would have been so late when we finally got to our destination otherwise.
The next morning we had planned to drive the 38 kilometer Great Ocean Drive near Esperance, but when we woke up to a constant rain and very grey skies, we were unsure. We got up and got ready and then drove to the information office to ask about things to do when it’s raining. They didn’t really have too much to offer, although we did take their suggestions, stopping later at the glass shop and the fish leather factory after finishing the Great Ocean Drive, [the drive was FABULOUS.] The glass shop turned out to be a great stop as we were able to sit and have tea and scones and chat with the owner’s husband (I think?) and he recommended we still check out Cape Le Grand National Park even though it was raining. He said the weather was sometimes better over there and that it was still worth seeing in the rain. I am so glad we did (I had decided against it after we saw it was raining) because the stops were great even in the slight drizzle, and later the rain cleared up and the sky became beautiful! We would have missed so much had we not stopped.
The next morning we packed up and left Esperance [and our quirky hostel] and headed home by way of Wave Rock. So many Australians had told me Wave Rock wasn’t worth stopping at, but as it wasn’t out of our way to stop, we did anyways and I am so glad we did. It was so fascinating.
I highly recommend Esperance and the Great Ocean Drive and Cape Le Grand National Park!!!
I need to wrap up Hong Kong before I head back there next month, ha! [just a long layover on my way back from Japan. but still…]
So here are the rest of the pictures and thoughts from Hong Kong [actually this is not the rest of the pictures but I’m trying not to overwhelm you]:
Hong Kong was definitely a great experience, even though I thought I was going to die from the humidity and heat [ok, not really. But almost.]. I realized later why it felt so hot to me compared to when I spent a month in Asia in February and hadn’t been as affected by the weather. When I went to Asia last time it was from hot and humid Brisbane, where I had lived for the past 5.5 months. This time, I went to Asia from Perth which is dry and cool right now. My body clearly didn’t like the change. So I presume that as Perth moves further into winter and gets colder, it will be even more of a shock to head to hot and humid Japan next month. We’ll see… =) Actually, now that I think of it, I am flying to Japan from TASMANIA, not Perth. Tasmania gets a “real” winter, with snow and such. So yes, my body will be quite shocked to arrive in Asia after spending a week in Tasmania. Who goes to Tasmania in the winter and Asia in the summer? Well, this girl normally wouldn’t travel this way, but sometimes you just gotta work with what you have. And this is what I have. So…at least I get to see Tasmania, even if it’s wintertime.
There is so much to see and do in Hong Kong. I definitely didn’t have enough time to see it all. I think on my long layover I might try to see the Big Buddha. Oh, and possibly book another night at the infamous Chungking Mansions to get some sleep. =)
These pictures are from various places around the city: the Mong Kok area, the Dragon Boat Race at Tsuen Wan District, the Kowloon Walled City Park, Victoria Peak and Hong Kong island. Definitely recommend checking out these places.
Of the three markets, the goldfish market was by far the most difficult to find. I think it’s because it’s on a much busier street that sells many other things besides just fish (and animals). It was a very busy shopping street with all sorts of things for sale. And there weren’t fish shops right on the corner of the street, so I walked right by it. I discovered I wasn’t alone, however, in finding it difficult to find (ha) when I later helped point other tourists back towards it and then that night as I talked with a girl where I was staying and heard that she had tried to find it and had given up. Had I not spotted one lone, tiny fish shop a block or so away and asked him for directions, I don’t know that I would have ever found it myself either. But I am so glad I did. I was delighted to discover that not only are there fish for sale there [all sorts of kinds of fish], there were also puppies and kittens and turtles.