Sake to me Baby – Japan Day One

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It was so emotionally hard to leave Canada.

It’s always hard to say goodbye to family even though we know we will be back.

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We got into Vancouver quite early and had about five hours to kill before our next leg to Tokyo.

I had to share this pic that I took from the first leg of our flight. Yeah, that jacket shouldn’t be a problem to anyone at all shouldn’t it?

Luckily one of the cabin crew told her to take it down a  short while later.

We had a pretty good flight – no complaints. Got a great breakfast at Vancouver Airport. So good I had to share pics.

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Oh and the airport itself is huge and has lots to look at including these colourful fishies.
We should know, we’ve spent over ten hours  at Vancouver airport in the last few weeks.

 


I don’t think it really hit me that we were flying into Japan until we touched down! I hadn’t even really been thinking about this portion of our vacation time.

IMG_0396I was going through the Japanese phrases I know and I’m completely fluent in Hello, thank you, excuse me AND water. If the situation I’m in calls for more conversation than that, I may be in trouble.

The train trip from Narita airport took just over an hour.

The man sitting next to me must have had some sort of OCD as he was always opening and closing his luggage.

I saw tons of things I could have photographed while we were on the train but I felt like it could have stressed the OCD man out so I didn’t take many.

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I did manage to snap one of their well designed “stack em on top of each other” type car parks.

It’s pretty common here seeing as they’re space poor.

We found our apartment very easily and went straight on in. It’s very hard to describe it. Its certainly one of the roomiest (in terms of floor space) we’ve had in our many trips here but also one of the oldest.  As space is always an issue, we’re used to things being tight and awkward but this one definitely wins the prize. Although it’s roomy, the appliances are all shoved awkwardly into one small space.
I don’t want to say anything negative. It’s certainly clean. And some people don’t mind not shutting the bathroom door so if there’s not enough room for you to sit on the throne AND shut the door at the same time, it’s not a big deal is it? Hubby and I like to keep a little mystery in our marriage so we’re definitely going to have to work out a system there.

First thing to do was go shopping for some basics. As soon as I entered the supermarket I saw this.

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I’m pretty sure I heard angels singing.

We had to get milk as well. I’ve explained before how difficult it is because although we have that fab vocabulary of four words, we don’t read Japanese. So how do we know we’ve bought regular milk for coffee?? Is it Soy? Skim? Almond? We just wanted regular milk! I haven’t tried it yet so hopefully what we bought is ok.

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And speaking about buying things I have no clue about, I bought this drink (bottom left) because it was zero calories. I don’t know what it tastes like and I say that AFTER I’ve had some.
Have I told you before how difficult it is to buy diet lemonade here?? So this will have to do.

We didn’t buy sugar because finding it seemed to be an issue again and we were too tired to keep trying. Looks like we’ll be having sugarless coffees in our apartment.

We also bought our regular Milk Tea because, well, we are in Japan.

 


I’m pretty sure I’ve been up over 24 hours now so it’s time for this tired girl to get some shut eye.
Oh, I haven’t mentioned that this apartment, bigger floor space than most, doesn’t have one double bed, it has two beds that are slightly smaller than a double. So instead of putting a nice sized bed in the bedroom and allow for food traffic, somewhere to put your luggage etc, they took up the whole floor area with two beds. Hubby (all six foot seven of him) and I are going to try to sleep in one bed. This can only end badly!!!

So Sumimasen if I say Konichiwa.  By the way, do you know where I can get some mizu? Arigatō (gozaimasu)

 

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Greece is the Word – Day Three

Our adventures continued on during the night where hubby and I broke the bed we were sleeping in.

Before your imaginations run wild, the bed broke as he shifted position in his sleep at 3am.
Thank you Ikea.

We managed to put it together in a way that allowed us to continue sleeping but I’m sure one of us is going to fall through it again at some point during this vacation.

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Hubby and I found a supermarket around the corner from where we’re staying and bought a few more things. It feels really comfortable shopping here, unlike Japan, where everything is a mystery! At least we pretty much know what we’re buying every time.
We enjoyed the beautiful streets along the way.
That building on the right is typical of dwellings you’ll see here.

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There are plenty of people begging for money here but they are usually prepared to do something for it.

For example, this guy was playing his instrument as we were on the subway, for coins.

Speaking of the subway, I took a photo of this ad we saw on there.
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Maybe not as funny as the ones we saw in Japan but even so, I think it’s some kind of Metro ad, but why are there mops on their heads???

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IMG_6183We gathered our party and headed to the Acropolis! That was first stop on the agenda today. It was pretty warm! But we were excited and as soon as we started to see it we got even more excited. So much history! To think of the people who had walked the very streets we were now walking!

Everybody we passed had an accent. Tourists everywhere!
It got quite congested up the top where the Parthenon is and the path becomes quite slippery in places. Such an amazing sight.
Not like in the movies though. In the movies when people go to the Parthenon, there’s no one around and they normally can go quite close to it. Today there were millions of people and we couldn’t get close. Well, not as close as I would have liked. There are ropes everywhere and even though we know Greeks can be a little cheeky when it comes to rules, no one dares to cross any of the ropes because if you do, alarms will sound like you wouldn’t believe.

We took lots of pictures on the way up, everyone better than the last one.
Here are a few from my collection.

I don’t know how much time we spent there but it was over two hours and the time really just flew by! There’s tons of information about the restoration project for those interested.

IMG_6240Something I’ve noticed is that there are stray cats everywhere here!!

A lot of them looking sickly.
It’s pretty sad.

You’ll see them going up and down the streets and even into some of the stores.
There’s also people who try to “gift” you things that they then expect you to pay for. Things like wrist bracelets and little gifts. We were told to refuse anything these people tried to give you as they actually do expect money, no matter how friendly they seem and they get angry if you eventually don’t give them any. We were approached by a couple of guys and no matter how much we said “no, I don’t want it” they actually came and put something on my wrist. They want you to feel obligated. He kept saying “don’t worry, it’s in friendship” as if he didn’t want me to give him anything but as more of our party came up to us and I said “thank you for your friendship but I really don’t have anything to give you”. He then huffed, refused eye contact and took that thing off my wrist without saying a further word to me. A complete 180 degree change in attitude!!!

It’s all part of the experience. We spent HOURS walking into the different stores here. The area I’m told is Plaka. A lot of the stores had similar items but they were of things I hadn’t seen before and a lot of it just looked so good!!! I know I’m going home with a suitcase full of junk but it’s Greek junk!!! Like you know, from Greece!!
Because we’re going with a group I know there will be tons more shopping opportunities. It’s not something hubby normally likes to do so when it’s just he and I shopping always feels rushed.

Oh, and almost as great as seeing the Acropolis today was finding an amazing Moussaka!! Yes, it was on the menu and YES I ordered it and it was just DIVINE!!!!


We also ordered a Greek salad which came almost identical as the one we had yesterday.
The nice restaurant also gave us some complimentary drinks at the end of our meal! How nice was that!


We are warned continually about pick pockets. Hubby and I are the most careful people when it comes to being aware of our belongings and yet…
After a few hours of shopping we were back on the subway going to our car. The subway was packed. Hubby had his wallet in his shorts pocket. The pocket was buttoned up. The pocket was on the side of his leg and at hand length.
When we got back to our apartment, we realised that his wallet was gone. We had JUST been talking about we can’t understand how people don’t feel it when pick pockets take things off of them and yet, it happened to one of the most careful people I know.

We cancelled his cards right away and it seems that whoever took them, hadn’t tried to use it but what a hassle!! Not to mention the feeling of knowing that someone did this to you.
Yes, it could have been worse, things could always be worse, but it’s still an awful thing to have happened.

Putting that behind us, we continued on with our plans and traveled up to Mount Lycabettus.
The drive up there I would rather soon forget.
It’s not that people are bad drivers here, it’s just that there are NO RULES! And driving up that narrow windy road with cars parked on both sides… oh my god. I wasn’t even driving yet I thought I was going to go into cardiac arrest.
And Google, you should be ashamed of yourself! I always thought it was more to do with the person, than Google Maps when people followed Google maps into lakes and off non existent bridges but tonight it happened to us!
We were driving down the steep road with sharp turns and cars parked either side of the road when Google drove us right to a dead end street where it was simply not possible to turn in any way, shape or form.
Luckily we had a “professional” driver on board who reversed us 300 meters to get to a “T” junction. I had to put that in quotes because I’m sure you’re imagining something that is a lot simpler than what really happened.
But no sooner had we reversed and gone the other way, we found we were in the same predicament. How do those people live!! So hubby had to reverse us 300 or so meters again and this time up around the “T” junction and… well the rest is a blur as I passed out mentally at that point.

In any case,  I’m so glad we went as the views were spectacular! I tried to get photos but my iphone wouldn’t do it justice so I stole one from Google Images.

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There’s amazing views of the city of Athens from the top and you can see the Parthenon lit up. It’s just so magical.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I really loved today and can’t wait to explore more tomorrow!