Day of Ups and Downs

Trip Start Aug 11, 2010
Trip End Sep 02, 2010

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Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I woke up before my wake-up call at 5:30 am and hurriedly packed up my 2-day drying socks and a few other things and hurried out in search of stones from Korea for Jane.  Luckily I found some nearby.  I wasn't sure how far away the beach was and I needed to be back for 6 am breakfast.  I rushed through my juice, toast and coffee and just about when I was ready to leave to check-out, eggs, fruit and potatoes arrived.  I stuffed down the eggs and off I went for my bags.  I had to wait 10 minutes for the shuttle though.  Finally, the driver came and I got to the airport in 15 minutes.  I looked for my flight # to find my check-in counter but couldn’t find it so I went to information.  I then had to walk the whole length of the departures terminal from C to M.  I couldn’t believe the long line but it went fairly quickly.  When I got to my turn, the attendant asked if I knew my flight was out of the other airport….but then she asked if a 10 am flight from this airport would be OK.  It would be wonderful!  I made it through security without too much trouble…they had to check my little bag of meds and see what my eye ointment was.  I changed my last won to yen, checked out a few airport shops and couldn’t find anything and found my gate but there was not really a place for the computer so I came back to the restaurant tables.  All by 8:15 AM.  I need to find out why the computer goes other places when I pause in my typing …it is very annoying.

Today sure had its ups and downs.  When we were boarding, they told me they had switched my seat so, of course, I expected the worst - 5K – where could that be??  In Business Class…I never want to fly cattle car again…it was so amazing…so much space, so much sweet attention and preference.  It withered my egalitarian heart but it felt soooo good.  Oh, well, it will be all the more painful to fly economy again, especially if it is Continental.

I made it through the airport with almost no problems.  The customs officer was ready to check my backpack after showing me a list of contraband – lots of drugs – why pick on me?  Then I showed him my itinerary and he didn’t even bother to check the bag.  I will never know the rules.  I got some money, bought a bus ticket, found the bus line, stood first in the line for 45 min and then drove off to Kyoto.  I fell asleep a few times…it was mostly cityscape - not too interesting, except for the brief passing by the Osaka port area.  We arrived across from Kyoto station.  I hefted all my bags and headed off, found the ryokan with not too much trouble and settled into my teeny space.  It is quite efficient – I can get a drink from the refrigerator, type on the computer, sleep on my futon all without moving an inch.

Once settled and showered after dripping wet in the humid little space, I went out with a light bag to explore a bit.  I won’t go through the frustration I met just going through, below, over and around, and around the train station trying to get back to my ryokan room.  I had tried to find the foreign tourist information center which was supposed to be on the 10th floor of a department store in the train station complex.  I couldn’t find that but I did find a tourist center that really didn’t have anyone who spoke English.  I got a map and a few brochures but no help in trying to put together an itinerary for exploring all the sights that Anne mentioned and a few more that I found in the guidebook.  It was a letdown after the ease and results of visiting the Korean tourist offices.  They totally spoiled me.  I got my directions mixed up and found the temple grounds which was nice but then I couldn’t find the ryokan for anything.  Oh, I did have some sushi and a beer while I was lost in the underground shopping center under the train station somewhere.  I am hoping my newly found orientation will help me tomorrow.  We’ll see.
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