Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the map saved us!

Okay, so, we got horribly lost today. And we weren't really even going anywhere! Monday we are going to kayak around the 99 Islands of the Saikai National Park. Well, it's a good thing we took a pre-trip.

We left this morning, happy, with our tour guides in hand. A confident Jewell got us to the bus station and received the bus number and tickets to the first sight. We had a bit of time to spare, so we walked around the Friesta Square. Feel free to sound it out and laugh about it. Having no shame we laughed ourselves to tears. Now, the way it works is not every bus that comes to the designated spot takes you to the same place. So, Jewell hopped on to ask the driver, only to turn around and see the doors closed and Brandon on the outside! The bus driver must have actually seen my heart stop, because he politely stopped to let me off.

Now, safely on the correct bus, we traveled high up into the mountains. We were above the ship building cranes, above most of the city, you could see for days ... except that it was super hazy. We got to the Yumiharidake Outlook, a super modern pavilion that had nothing but a spectacular view to offer. We walked around a bit, and then hoped back on the bus. Feeling confident about the whole bus situation we planned said kayaking trip for Monday on our way back down the mountain. Having the rest of the day, we took another bus to the Pearl Sea Resort to check it out. This place is really great. It has a nostalgic wooden pier, yachts and sunset cruisers, an aquarium, and really cool restaurants posed for perfect sunset dinners. So we took a look around, gathering the info that we needed, not knowing our future would not be so confident.

We walked back to the bus stop where we were dropped off. Before you say to yourself, how can you get on the wrong bus idiots! You most know that EVERYTHING is written in Japanese symbols here. Not letter's, and no English subtitles. Also , every bus trip previous to this (all 2) we had hopped on the return bus at the exact same point we got off, ultimately traveling back into town to the train station. So, we sat there, wondering why in a country where the buses NEVER run late, our bus was moving on 30 minutes late. We see a bus on the horizons and our stupid American minds think, well ... all buses go back to the station, lets just get on this bus. So, here we are, riding politely along for give or take 25 minutes. Suddenly Jewell's sense of direction / woman's intuition kicks in and looks at a map only to discover we are on the way to a whole different city! To top things off when Brandon went to ask if we were going back to the station the bus driver said no, and in a horribly frantic voice, told us there were no more buses going into town, and told us to get off the bus. Yes, we got off the bus. Now standing in a neighborhood god knows where we started walking back the way the bus came. Enter taxi ... and a hideous amount of yen later, we were back in town.
After all this, how did we comfort our selves? With McDonald's, that's how. Yea, I said it. We savored every bit of it too. There was something about the familiar taste of salt and grease that said, "Welcome home Willett's. Way to stay alive ". No worries on our end about the McDonald's. We feel it justified because the 1,000 meter walk from the station to the McDonald's and back to our street and the combined 207 steps we have to climb. You may wonder how we know it's 1,000 meters, well ... that's McDonald's way of advertising here. A red sign that shows how long until you arrive at the door.
So, here we sit broke from our taxi ride but happy that we are not wondering around in the dark, and excited to not get back on that bus Monday!

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