domingo, outubro 14, 2007

Day 1 - Getting there

So, now I am back to Oita, Japanland. I have a mountain the size of the Everest to put in order, but I'd rather write my pretty blog. Actually, I am doing this so that Shauna can have some thing to do in her life, as she told me she is tired of my other picture at the Hong Kong aiport. Somehow, I felt a tone of threat in her voice when we spoke on the phone!

Anyway, I woke up at 5 in the morning to get to Fukuoka. The good thing is that it wasn't cold at all, so it wasn't difficult. Plus, I knew I was going to meet my family and friends, therefore I needed no other reason to get my butt out of bed!
I got to Fukuoka aiport - after waking up people with my super early sms's in the morning (sorry, I was bored on the train and at the bus stop, as I didn't have Peter to keep me company!) - and I was very happy to see that the lines for the security check were minimal! Last time, when I went to the US, they were gigantic and I thought I would even miss my flight!
I had so much time, that I exchanged my money at the airport itself. I've heard that
it's the best place to do it, but still today I think I could get more money. But I also know that the Euro is at a record high and that the yen is so low we can't even see it! Maybe I should ask for a raise, given this huge difference!

This time, I flew with Cathay Pacific.

I have flown with them a couple of times, and I always like it. But I also notice that the more I fly, the more I demand. I mean, I want my trips to be just perfect, whether on land or while flying. But, of course, there is no such thing!

The good thing was that I had company on this flight! I knew she was going to Hong Kong, but I had no idea I would meet Masako on the plane! In fact, we met on the way to the plane, and it felt great having some company! Flying with someone we know is a good thing, I think. Specially if we like that person! So we talked and laughed and so on. And then we landed in Taipei, where the plane does a stop over.

Could you tell that was Taipei? Amazing telephone booths, right?

Masako went around doing some shopping (which I totally understand!), but I stayed online and I got a message from Peter saying he was having a great life in Kazakhstan! I'm starting to think I want to visit his friend there myself!

Taipei airport is somewhat old, and the air actually smelled like mold. The kind that feels like something is entering into your lungs. But, thank god, there is a refurbished area, where we saw a quite interesting exhibition of flowers, including these beautiful flowers! Check that color!

And next to it, there was an entire waiting area decorated with Kitty-chan stuff! I know a certain Tina Turner look alike that would love being there!

I think that it was because of me that we had to run to the gate to make the flight on time! We were the last people to board the thing... I don't remember that well, but I think it was because I spent too much time on the internet...

On the second half of our flight, Masako didn't sit next to me, as the place was already taken by someone who got on the plane in Taipei. But off we went to beautiful Hong Kong.
I was going to spend a bit over 8 hours in Hong Kong, with nothing to do... So Masako and I went downtown. Masako was meeting a friend later in the evening, so she was free.

I love Hong Kong. It's a great place to shop, and there are skyscrapers everywhere! And I love skyscrapers! Specially the ones with glass all over!

Another good thing about this place is that is not all about skyscrapers and all, but also about old buildings, small markets and the super cool trams!

I know someone - my mother - who, while looking at these pictures, is probably having a seizure on the floor, out of envy!

I was craving for some good Chinese food, and cool Masako said it would be fine by her. So we went up the escalator corridor that goes up the hills, towards the Soho, looking for some good local food. Can you believe that the 2 or 3 Chinese restaurants we found were closed?! I was flabbergasted! We ended up at an Italian restaurant where I had a very good salmon pasta. We were both super full.
But I felt so bad, as I had to ask the price of everything and all, as I had only little money and no credit card! How embarrassing! But everything ended up ok... After all we were at a nice restaurant, with a nice name and all!

Maybe the place is mine and I don't even know it!

After the delicious meal, we had to return downtown... Either we could take a taxi or walk down hill... We decided to walk, but I had to carry Masako's suitcase! Look at me being exploited!

We were downtown in no time, after petting a nice dog and seeing all the people and shops around us. But this one is way special: yoshinoya, the Japanese fast food shop! Oishii!

The it was time to part. Masako was going to meet her friend and I was so tired and sweaty that I decided to go back to airport, so I could rest for a bit before the long trip to London. 12 hours on a plane is way much!

But here are some shots of beautiful Hong Kong by night! It reminds of when I went there with my mother and we took the ferry from Kowloon to Victoria (Hong Kong) at night! Even Peter later told me it was one of the most spectacular views he has ever seen! So, please, GO THERE!

But I bet Peter didn't see this one!

Off I went to the aiport (again by bus, the cheapest way, but, above all, the best way to see the most!) and there I sat waiting for my turn to go in.
Hong Kong airport is, so far, my favorite. It's big, spacious, nice and, as I found out, it even has wi fi! I could talk, from where I was sitting, to Peter in freaking Borat-land and Sonia in Portugal! Actually, we were saying so many stupid things (the usual), that, at a certain point, I was crying out of laughing! All I said to Sonia was "the people are looking at me and thinking that I am a retarded guy talking to a computer"! What an experience!
Actually, while I was sitting next to my gate, there was a couple of guys from Portugal sittinng just there.

By then, I was fearing the long flight to London, and the fact that I was exhausted and that it is very difficult for me to sleep on the plane... I watched Shrek 3, Mr. Bean on Holidays and some other stuff on the new system on demand Cathay has! Quite impressive!
Next to me, there was a Danish couple. In fact, I learned my lesson: do not fly window seat on long flights, when you have two people next to you! Specially when one of them had fallen and hurt his knee and was in obvious pain! I got up only twice in 12 hours! Still, the man drank loads of whiskey and, just before breakfast, when the flight attendant was asking what people wanted to drink, he said he wanted some more of the same. The girl just smiled at him, clearly surprised! I wan to to believe he was in pain, so that was why he needed so much alcohol.
I helped them with the on demand system.

And then, London Heathrow... Fortunately, it was before 6 in the morning, so there were very little people at the airport! I had feared losing loads of time there, after flying half the world! But it was easy and all. A little over 2 hours in London, just sitting there, and then another flight. To Lisbon, this time with British Airways. Super nice staff, but they gave me, as always, a freaking ham and cheese sandwich. By then, and out of the blue, I was so hungry that I ate most of it and even drank coffee! In fact, when the lady gave me the thing, I looked at her and probably did some kind of face, as she immediately asked me if I was a vegetarian! I just said "oh, no, I just don't really like this!". You know me: my brain as a direct link to my mouth. I don't filter things.
I got to Lisbon hungry and with a headache.
But things got a bit worse, as we had to wait to park the plane, get off the thing onto a bus and then wait in a line for the passport check. It felt like all the people in the world had arrived at the same time. But the worse was yet to come... The luggage!
The airport in Lisbon just can't cope with the number of people flying there anymore. So everything takes loads of time. And out of 9 places of where to pick up your luggage, there were 3 working! And mine had 3 flights. You can only imagine the number of people around that place waiting for the luggage, specially when one of those flights had arrived one hour before! People were pissed and anxious to get out of there! But, as always, people curse and say things out loud but don't complain at the right places! I just hate that, because it's useless!
Plus, people are stupid! Everybody (remember, 3 flights full of stupid people!) was lining up next to the mat with their carts and everything! It was so difficult just being there, specially when people had hundreds of free carts just behind them! Preposterous!
Still, I met a lady living in Australia! Can't even imagine! And she told me that she usually flies to Porto, where she doesn't have to wait for the luggage that long!
My luggage came 30 or 40 minutes after I got off the plane... I remember feeling something on my stomach and grabbing my stuff and running out of there! Even while I write this, I get goose bumps! I was going to meet my people, after almost 2 years!

The first one I saw and hugged was my grandmother. She was crying, I was crying. And then my mother, my father and so on.

On the latter picture, from the left, my mother, my grandmother, my aunt and then me, my cousin and my father.

And here: Mari, Patricia, Ze, Claudette, Paulo, me, Tete, Telmixo and Xanocha!

I was so happy meeting everyone right there. I didn't even bother when my friends surprised me... They were hiding!
We talked for a bit. I was tired and all jet lagged but, above all, I felt dirty and oily! And that's not good, as you would agree!
We went home. And, look, my mother made octopus rice (with tomato, coriander and some other things!)! I would kill to eat that again NOW! Believe me! It was so delicious, that even my father, not a big fan, told her how good it was! My grandmother didn't say anything, as she eats anything anyway!

After lunch, I gave some presents away. And I made my father wear my kimono and sumimasen a little for the picture!

Even my dog got a present. In fact two: some biscuits I bought in Santa Barbara and a lollipop I bought in Kusu with cool Rachel! He was very happy!

But my day was far from being over. As I was really tired and sleepy and with a headache I took a nap with my mother. How I missed that! In fact, my mother told me I woke her up as I called her name while sleeping!
After that, I made myself all beautiful and went out for a dinner party! As my father didn't allow me to drive (I will tell you the story another time!), he took me to the place, not far from home. Little did I know it was a Mexican place... But, hey, I was going to have dinner with one of my best friends (although she didn't call me before I left... Probably because she was chatting to Haidee, the cleaning lady!)!

Rita was also one of the invited people. Great to see her again, with those beautiful big eyes!

And here I am, with Sonia, the girl we were there for. She turned 30, poor thing!

Some of Sonia's other friends! Nice to see them again!

This is the latest trend in Portugal: a cell phone as big as a vase! She got it for her birthday. Or maybe it's just a real vase.

And, yes, she blew perfectly, as I am sure she always does!

I have to confess that the place was full of noisy people, specially women. Apparently, there was a very important football game going on and all the men were busy! But we had a great time and it felt great being with my people again!

Sandra drove me home. I went to sleep. Well, kind of, as I woke up at 4 in the morning! But, shit, I was HOME!

And now I am going to climb my private Everest of stuff I brought! And Shauna can take the rest of the day to put the letters together and read this post!

4 comentários:

Pipinho disse...

Sem me deter em particularidades, tens um belo painel de fotos e um video delicioso by night

Elizabeth disse...

Oh my goodness! I went to that Yoshinoya in Hong Kong and loved it too. It was such a welcome releif after getting really sick from the food there that was so much greasier than the beautiful, healthy Japanese food. Yoshinoya isn't actually the healthiest of the Japanese food, but it is delicious. :) We found a Japanese restaurant in Minnesota and going there makes me miss Japan more than anything else. It's the cute little portions, the perfection of the white steaming napkins and the orderliness of the service, and the smells of Japanese rice and okonomiyaki sause that bring back all the memories of last year. Hope you're enjoying it!

Matt disse...

Yeah, Taipei's airport is really old and kind of dirty. I didn't see that Kitty-Chan area myself. The internet wasn't even working when I had to spend many hours waiting there!

I'm glad you had such a good time on your first day home. That's a lot of travel!

Rosarinho disse...

Dai jobu desu ka?
bem ..que viagem alucinante nem quero perguntar no total quanto tempo demoraste... e afinal tb não percebi onde moras aqui na terra das sanitas com repuxo!!
Pareces ter uma familia engraçada e amigos tb!!!
Eu estive em Gifu mas sou dos arredores de Nagoya!!