I’m home! .. but it’s going to become a stretched-out Friday for me!
That’s what happens when one flies east across the international dateline. Let’s see: 18 hrs in Japan on Friday + 9 hrs flying + 14 hrs in Seattle until Friday midnight. That’s a 41 hr day. Whoah.
Today was my last full day. I will head out to the airport after lunchtime tomorrow.
It was gloves-scarf-skull cap weather: no sun and only 6°C/ 42°F for a high. I went out to the very touristy surroundings at Asakusa Station (pagodas and shrines), and then made a stop at Omotesandō Station (glass and steel) as well.
My day trip to Nagoya went well, but man! there was an icy wind blowing in the city today. I was so glad I had packed my woolen skull cap.
Here’s the Tōkaidō Shinkansen (bullet train line) that runs from Tokyo to Nagoya, that I took. It continues its run from Nagoya on to Osaka. A more direct line to Nagoya will open in 2027, and be extended to Osaka by 2045*.
*Assuming Earth had not been utterly destroyed by humans, by then.
I spotted some unusual buildings along Meiji-Dori avenue today, while walking from Shibuya to the Harajuku station.
Some days I run myself ragged with too much walking! So for tomorrow, I plan to take the Nozomi Super Express to Nagoya. It’s 1h 40m in one direction.
I ran out to Saginomiya station on Sunday, to visit friends of ours from Seattle, that live here in Tokyo.
The transfer I had to make at Takadanobaba station was a little ugly*, but I was fine after asking the station attendant for directions.
*The Seibu-Shinjuku line is from a private operator, and not shown on my Tokyo Metro app.
This morning, I took the Yurikamome line’s train to the new Toyosu fish market from Yurakucho Station (not much to see there), and then went on to Shimbashi Station. The line offers plenty of great views of the waterfront and of Tokyo Bay.
The Yurikamome line was completed in 1995, and is Tokyo’s first fully automated transit system – controlled entirely by computers, with no drivers on board. It looks like a monorail, but it is not: the trains run with rubber-tired wheels on an elevated concrete track guided by the side walls.
I am in the Marriott Courtyard Ginza this time, a better Courtyard than the one at Tokyo Station.
I’m going to stay a whole week! (Long story: I purchased the ticket back to Seattle a long time ago, and now it’s very, very expensive to change).
No matter: there are lots of interesting things to do and see in a great city such as Tokyo.
I’m at Hong Kong airport.
I took a taxi from the hotel. I had just too much luggage to lug to Sai Ying Pun station & transfer to the Airport Express!
Besides, it’s nice to experience the serious infrastructure that gets one to the airport by car: first the Western Harbor Crossing (an immersed tube tunnel under Victoria harbor), then the Tsing Ma suspension bridge, followed by the Nam Wan Tunnel and another suspension bridge, the Kap Shui Mun bridge. And let’s not forget the entire Hong Kong airport was built on a man-made island.
I have been to Hong Kong many times, and there is always a new construction project, or an extension of the subway rail network to check out.
The new high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and Guangzhou in mainland China opened in Sept 2018, after many years of delays.
Unfortunately my American passport is not much help to get me into the new train and across the border! Aargh. I would need a confirmed itinerary/ formal invite for a visa, which takes FOUR business days. I will be gone by then – and it’s too much effort for a jolly ride, anyway.
It was well after 1 am this morning when our delayed flight finally left Perth, and the flight arrived an hour late into Hong Kong this morning as well.
I took the Airport Express to Hong Kong Island, and the Marriott hotel’s front desk checked me in – even though it was barely 10 am! So I could take a little catnap before going out into the city for a bit.
Our time is running short here at the resort by Geographe Bay.
There is a nice walk & bike track that runs along the beach. For me, it’s hard to just walk, though, and not stop and investigate the sounds and glimpses of the exotic birds in the bushes.
The five of us – my brother & his family, and I – packed up the SUV and made our way down to the town of Busselton on Saturday. We are going to stay there, on the southwestern Australian coast, over Christmas.
On the way there the car’s temperature gauge reported 42°C/ 108°F! .. but the high temperatures at the coast should be much more moderate, in the order of 27°C/ 80°F.
It was 5 hrs from Tokyo to Hong Kong, and 7 hrs from there to Perth, due south from Hong Kong.
I made it in to Perth late on Tuesday night. The passport checkpoint is automated: a machine scans the picture page, and then a camera takes a face picture. I am sure while all this is happening, the computer runs a database & records check, and that a human will show up if everything does not check out!