I’ve been having a lot of days at work lately that each feel like they’re at least two days. Yesterday was a bit like that, but it actually WAS two days (thanks, international date line!)
Long as the “day” was (I really didn’t sleep much on the planes), it’s really nice to be on vacation. Even if sometimes the travel logistics can be a little stressful (friends running late getting to the airport, tight connection for our international flight, etc.) there’s something to be said for only having to focus on one thing at a time. Also, letting go of the things out of your control.
Once we got to NRT, we hung out with the beer robots in the “arrivals” ANA lounge at NRT. Note to lounge connoisseurs: this lounge is not nearly as fancy as the ANA international departure lounge I’ve been in. Still, it had showers with fantastic water pressure, and I’m not complaining!
When we got to Okinawa (on our colorfully painted ANA plane), M & O’s friend/sensei met us at the airport and dropped me off at my hotel before taking the guys to their hotel/apartment. My room is small but impeccably clean, and the bed was a welcome sight indeed!
In the morning, after another fantastic-water-pressure shower, I checked out the included hotel breakfast buffet. I’m still not sure what a lot of things were, since most all the signs were in Japanese, but everything I tried was good. Miso soup, rice with pickled veggies & umeboshi, noodles, tofu and broccoli and squash in gelatinous sauces, and tempura’ed veggies.
After breakfast, the number one on my list of things to do was to get cash. No problem, just find an ATM. Didn’t I just get done telling someone that HSBC is all over the world (except Colorado)? Well, it’s not in Okinawa either. And although every convenience store has an ATM, they only work with cards issued in Japan. The travel agents, shop clerks, and hotel front desk people I asked were either not much help, or pointed me to a money changing counter that didn’t open until 2pm. Finally, I decided to try the post office I’d seen near my hotel, and although today is apparently a holiday, the doors opened and the ATMs gave me joy! Shopping is a bit more fun when you have more confidence that you could actually buy something if you find something you like. Also, the vending machines shall taunt me no more!