Thursday, January 04, 2007

Holiday vacation- part v (back in the big cities)

We didn't want to leave our warm paradise! As the plane lifted off from the little island runway on the way back to Osaka, I snapped a few parting shots....

When we flew into Osaka's Itami Airport, we were met with a cold, pouring rain- we both had low blood sugar, our bodies in shock from the huge temperature difference, plus I had left all my Osaka maps and info on the plane... Without any hotel reservations or anything, we tried the "Iove hoteI" thing. After wandering around some shady neighborhoods, we eventually found a very tacky, 80's era hoteI. The amenties were pretty nice- huge room & bathroom, all kinds of lotions and soaps, free porn, karaoke machines, zoned lighting, etc..., but there was a slight skeevy factor there. We did some shopping in the morning (I heart MUJI) and then just wanted to get out of there.

Thank goodness Kyoto is only about 45 minutes away. We found a pretty nice hotel which had slashed its nightly rates 50%, so we decided to stay 2 nights, giving us some time to relax. Back in the "big city", we were having trouble adjusting to the throngs of people and having to wear a coat again, but it was pretty fun to walk into fashionable stores and people watch. After a whole day of shopping, we met up with Jason for drinks and Himalayan/Indian food.... yummy!!! We were saving our energy up for the next day- the Monkey Park!!

The snow started falling in Kyoto the morning we left, but with Bryn's hourly forecast texts, I knew that it had already started snowing the evening before in Miyazu. Since it was also the first day of Japan's busy holiday travel season (the country is shut down from Dec. 29- Jan. 3), the station and trains were packed. We had to stand the whole time, but we had gotten the 2 hour express train, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been... The closer we got to Miyazu, the more beautiful the scenery got. It was a winter wonderland of soft white undulating fields and snow covered trees and tiled rooftops. It's nice to be home....

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