Stuck in the Middle – Day One

The title is a little misleading, we’re not “stuck”, we chose to come here.
We wanted to break up the looooooong trip back to Australia.

So where are we? Well, it’s HOT. There’s lots of sand and few Westerners. Oh, and did I mention that it’s HOT!!

Before I get to that, I just want to share some last photos from Rome as we left this morning. When we were on the bus I got sad about leaving but before then, I was too worried about our safety as we walked through a bit of a sketchy area. You would not believe the homeless here and the condition they are in. Half dressed, slumped in their own … well I’ll leave that right there and won’t finish that sentence. I wasn’t sure if they were all alive. It’s a very, very sad situation.

So just a few photos from the bus as we left, including driving towards the Colosseum for one last glimpse.

 

 

We arrived at the airport with what we thought was plenty of time. Because hubby works for an airline, we get discounted airfares with partnered airlines and Qatar happens to be one of them. Sometimes there are conditions though and what we didn’t know was that there is a strict guideline on what staff can wear when travelling on Qatar.

 

We lined up in what we thought was a short line, but everyone had about fifty bags and it just took so long before we were at the check in counter.
Still, we thought we had time.

The lady who was checking us in asked us for our residency papers (for Qatar) or for our exit ticket. As hubby normally buys his tickets a day or so before we fly, we didn’t yet have an exit ticket.
No problem, the airport has free WiFi so we left the counter and went away to buy our tickets from DoHa to Australia.

With that done we were back at the check in counter but this time, the worker asked if hubby, who was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, had read the dress code because she wasn’t going to be able to give him a boarding pass with what he had on.
Hubby said he had some jeans in his luggage would that be ok? The worker said yes so we got our bags back off the belt and went to find bathrooms. He changed into his jeans, came out and we lined up again.
This time (a different worker) again asked if he had other clothes as he wasn’t meeting the dress code. She brought out the card with the dress code again. As it turns out, jeans as NOT ok.

Luckily, he had some slacks in the luggage so again, we took the bags off the belt and he rushed off to change into his dress pants. At this stage he still had his t-shirt on so while he was walking away I asked the worker if the t-shirt was ok. She said no, he’d need a shirt.

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He was too far away for me to call him and I couldn’t leave our bags out in the middle of nowhere so I took out a shirt from the luggage and hoped he’d be able to wear it over his t-shirt. Unfortunately it was terribly wrinkled but he/we had no choice! So as he walked back I held up the shirt and said “You have to put this on now”  What else could have gone wrong!!

We still weren’t cleared. The worker had to check with her supervisor Mauro and by now, the check in counter was closing…
Seeing as it was an hour before the flight we thought we still had lots of time though.

We were finally cleared and with our boarding passes tightly in hand, went to find our gates. The line up through security was long… but we got through that. The guy who checked our passports seemed to be on another planet. Probably just enjoyed some green stuff… He was slow and on the verge of laughter. We wouldn’t have cared if we weren’t rushing to make our gate.

Finally we were through that… and we walked, and walked and walked and our gate kept getting further and further away (it seemed)
Finally we thought, here it is! around the corner! But no, it was only a shuttle, taking us to another part of the airport. There was one about to leave so we jumped on and hubby said “is this taking us the right way?” er…. didn’t check that but luckily it was and we were at the gates a short time later. The flight was boarding when we got there!

4724f077a9ea9e9dc3f53a10ecd4411b.jpgAfter five and a half long hours we were finally in DoHa.
It’s hard to know what to write in all honesty.
I had checked the weather before we left and currently their highs are 40-42 degrees Celsius during the day and 30-32 at night.

We knew it was hot when got off the plane, but we didn’t feel the full extent until we left the airport!
We had a car waiting for us and just the walk to the car was like walking into fire! It was so engulfing!

I don’t think we’re going to be leaving this hotel. Everyone here has been so nice to us and so accomodating. Our room is lovely and big and we have some nice views.

 

 

Unfortunately you can’t really see it as there’s some sort of fog over the city and the windows are dirty. I don’t know if it’s smog, fog, a sandstorm coming or something else! In any case, it obscures the view which is a shame.

We didn’t leave the hotel as hubby wasn’t well. We didn’t even get food. We wasted  the whole evening so I don’t have anything interesting to say and hope we do something safe and fun tomorrow.

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In search of Cherry Blossom – Part Four

We got hit by cold weather today! It didn’t rain and it wasn’t overly windy, it was just frosty cold.
I went walking early this morning and was sorry I hadn’t rugged up more.

Surprisingly, even though it’s Saturday and I was out about 7am, there were still lots of men walking around wearing suits.

There’s some sort of convenience store every few steps but I can’t seem to find diet lemonade in any of them (although there’s lots of alcohol for sale there)

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By the time I got back to the apartment hubby was ready for coffee.

The Starbucks we went to was quite full.

I’ve mentioned before that the Japanese people will put their purses/phones, or any other personal item on a table to “save” it while they go up to make their order. (See this pictured right )

We saw this even in the busy city Starbucks that we were in.

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Hubby wanted to see the Umeda Sky Tower and I was kind of curious to see the Cup Noodle Museum as last time we were in Japan, we happened to visit on the one day of the week that it was closed.

We walked over to the Sky Tower first (left)

We tried to get there by going through as many underground passageways we could find as it was just so cold!

What an interesting building this is! The architecture is just amazing and we discovered that it was designed by the same person who designed Kyoto Station (we visited this yesterday – go back one entry if you missed it!)

You can go right up to Level 39 for free. If you’re brave, you can pay 1000 yen or so (About $12.50 aud) to go up another few levels to the open observation deck.
Level 39 was more than enough for us!


The basement level has an old world Japan feel. It was very peaceful (apart from when the tour group came through) and looked out onto some lovely gardens.


It’s open quite late and we intend on coming back after dark to see the city lights!

Next stop was the Cup Noodle Museum. I didn’t really know what to expect other than we were going to get to make our own ramen at some point.

When we got in we were ushered through to a section that showed the history of ramen. All of it was in Japanese and I think there was an English guide available but we really just wanted to make our ramen so we went straight through to the back to do that.

It was pretty full in there! We were lined up. When we got to the front of the line we were told we were going to personalise our cups, then go over and choose what we wanted to put in there.

We got shown to a table that had special markers on them. The instructions on the table said “Draw your own picture”
Hubby took that quite literally and started drawing a picture of himself. I drew pictures of flowers. He looked over at mine and said “Where’s your picture?” and I said “Right here!” wondering why he was even asking me… and then it hit me, he was expecting me to draw a picture of myself! I just got the giggles so bad after that and couldn’t stop laughing.
Here are the pictures we drew. Hubby’s likeness is pretty good no?


Still giggling we went on over to the back and chose the contents.

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After it comes out, you get to put it in the air locked bag which you can wear around you shoulders.

I thought we were going to be able to eat them right away but unfortunately no.

If you go to the eating area, you have to purchase the noodles from the vending machines and… well just add hot water!

So we did that but it was a bit anti climatic.

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I’m still glad we went. If nothing else, I belly laughed like I haven’t for quite some time.

Back to Osaka station we went. I really wanted to do some shopping. So many interesting things here.

I’m not sure what this thing in the bottom left pic is??

A spaghetti pie?
I don’t know if you can read it but the empty plates in the picture on the right say “Please Wait”

And I’ll just finish off with a few interesting things and signs I saw today.

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Peach coke? I don’t think so!!

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I saw this sign in a few places. I still don’t know what it was trying to communicate.

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