Sunday, March 30, 2008

Japan I

Well, after a bit of drama, this isn't going to be just one great big post. Otherwise, I'll never get it done!


I think I was the very first person at LAX because Andy dropped me off before work. It wasn't long, though, before more people came. I had McDonald's breakfast, checked in, got on the plane, all no problem. In fact, I had probably the least amount of luggage as most people!

The 11 hour flight was, in a word, miserable. The plane was incredibly hot; too hot to sleep. They were playing two movies in English: National Treasure 2, and Bee Movie; I really, really didn't want to watch Bee Movie, so I ended up watching a really good Japanese movie with subtitles. They served pretty elaborate little meals, and since I'm not really keen on sake I tried the plum wine (which I highly recommend!). Most people opted for chicken for dinner, but they were really missing out - the fish was great.


We landed sometime Saturday evening at Narita, only to go through customs, claim our bags, re-check our bags, go through security, and get on the plane to Kyoto. Super simple (for me at least) - customs form, passport, in, out, check! Our flight was actually quite late, but since there were over 75 booked for the domestic flight, they waited for us. It was only another hour flight, but I don't remember a minute of it. I slept through the whole thing.

We landed, collected our luggage, and got on our respective buses to the hotel. Our group was too big for one, so we were split up by project groups. At least our bus had one less group and a little more room. It was sort of late when we checked in to the hotel, but they had a separate table for us to simply pick up our keys and go. Actually, they offered money exchange at the front desk, which I took full advantage of for the super crappy rate. And, it only got worse when we were there. But, at least I had some cash, went up to the room, and got settled in.

The Hotel Granvia was, by far, one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in. When I'd checked out the hotels online before the trip, the hotel, and Kyoto in general, seemed kind of old and ... just not that nice. The beds were super fluffy and comfortable, but there weren't any TV channels in English. I kind of got in to a dubbed Ben Affleck movie that cracked me up for the crazy voices. They had all these stereotype voices - the bad guy, the hero, the comedic relief. And I couldn't even tell what they were saying! The best part of the day was just showering and crawling into the fluffy beds, especially since I was supposed to get up early for an all-day tour of Kyoto.

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