The morning of the 27th was cold and gloomy – weather I would otherwise love if I hadn’t been extremely tired and leaving my husband for several days (not a big deal unless you consider that it’s the first time we’ve been apart for more than a day since I moved here).
Rian drove us to the parking lot where the buses were boarding and we hopped on. I was surprised at how empty the bus seemed. I wasn’t sure if the other bus was as empty but, if it was, then they were wasting a ton of money by not consolidating. I would guess that maybe half the seats were full. Considering all the other budget cuts that have been made on base and concerning activities, this was a little disturbing but I suppose I’m one of the few people who thought so.
Each bus had a “tour guide” who handed out some info – a booklet with sights to see and maps in Tokyo, a Disneyland pamphlet and a little card with emergency Japanese and the guide’s cell number. Wendy and I had already checked out the Disneyland website the night before to stake out just where we wanted to go so that we wouldn’t waste time. We were set on Fantasyland, Adventureland and the World Bazaare.
We left at around 7 and were told we’d be stopping for a break every 2 hours (!) and having a 1 hour lunch. I was anxious at hearing this because I didn’t see why we would need to stop that often – I just wanted to get there already. However, I do understand that there were a lot of children going who would need frequent potty breaks.
Our tour guide also explained that we were lucky [insert eye roll here] to be on a brand new bus. Lucky, my ass. It reeked. I’m sure it was just “new bus smell” but it coated my nose and mouth and it was all I could smell or taste for quite a while even after I was off of the bus.
All in all, the trip was uneventful. I tried to sleep but that didn’t work out so well; it usually doesn’t on a bus. After a while, I was more excited than tired anyway.
Our frequent stops went quickly. We had brought our own munchies anyway so we didn’t eat much. When we stopped for lunch, I just had an ice cream cone. You can never go wrong with that. Wendy wanted something more so she wound up buying this.. thing.. our of a vending machine which was super weird. You choose your food, then it drops down into a microwave which cooks it for you right there.
Her food looks like ‘tater tots in BBQ sauce – it was neither here nor there. However, she realized there was something chewy in the middle and these were nothing like tater tots – they were slimey! Luckily she also forced me to eat one. I did. I swallowed it down and that was then she had to nerve to say “Hey, I think these chewy things are octopus tentacles!” Eww. Needless to say, I had no more and she didn’t finish them either. -lol-
Most of the trip was through the country-side and it didn’t look fantastic or remarkable anyway. Around 3pm we entered a large city which turned out to be Tokyo. We didn’t know at the time because we didn’t expect to be there until several hours later.
Anyway, it was Tokyo and we drove through for about 30 minutes until we reached the hotel – about 2 and a half hours earlier than expected which left quite a bit of time before it fell dark.
We went through hotel security because it was an American military hotel and we had to show IDs – in Wendy’s case, her passport, got our room keys and went up. I was really impressed at the hotel. It was very American, something of which I am glad. Japanese hotels tend not to be as nice or fancy as American hotels. They’re much more minimal and bland.
The hotel was quite large – 7 floors and included 5 restaurants (Japanese, French, a sandwich shop, fine dining and family dining), 2 shops (gift shop and a general/gift shop), an internet cafe, an APO (army post office) plus pack ‘n’ wrap, a Navy Exchange, a bank (plus ATM) and a pool and fitness center.
We wandered around the first night. Just a few blocks up was a rather busy street with many shops, restaurants and a mall. Originally, we were going to eat at a pasta restaurant but the prices were a bit too much so we headed back to the hotel and ate at the Japanese restaurant.
It was very traditional, which I’m sure Wendy enjoyed. I ordered teriyaki chicken which came with several dishes: sushi, vegetables, salad, rice and finally the main course. I did try some of the sushi (seaweed, salmon and shrimp) but I wasn’t overly eager. I also tried some of the vegetables and had a bit of salad but saved room for the rice and chicken – both of which were great. We also topped it off with desert: chocolate mousse for Wendy and a strawberry tart for me. Overall, it was a great experience.
We chilled out at the room after that. Of course, I had to use the internet cafe to e-mail Rian. <3
Stay tuned for the next installment of this incredibly long story: Disneyland!