Sunday, 29 December 2013

Ishigaki is a little boring

Date: Sunday 29th December 2013

MP3 track of the day: Save your soul – Jamie Cullum

Weather: rubbish. The clouds are back and rain falls every-so-often. The temperature is good and the wind has died down.

I woke up to the all familiar sound of the wind bombarding the building which I found myself in. Having had the same 'wake up call' yesterday I was used to it and knew that bad weather now, did not necessary mean bad weather later on. I therefore laid on top of my futon until it was time to get up.

I found myself looking around my room (to make sure I hadn't left anything) at around 7:40am. Satisfied, I closed the door and walked to the shed to hand in my key and pay my bill. The smiling owner was there; last night she forced food upon me again (tempura, which was delicious but I think one of the items upset my stomach a little) and I was glad that she didn't force anything on me this morning. She was, however, busy preparing the other guests breakfasts therefore I declined the offer of a lift and decided to complete the two minute drive, to the ferry terminal, by foot.

As I walked the weather still hadn't cleared up. I glanced at my watch to see it read 8am; I then thought back twenty-four hours and realised that the weather hadn't cleared up then either. Once at the ferry terminal I was told that no ferries were leaving from here however, the southern terminal was operating normally. I was then handed a free bus ticket and asked to wait. At 8:30am I boarded the bus bound for the southern terminal. At first the driver seemed to have trouble selecting a gear; once he'd chosen one we were off and I looked out of my window, at the sea and the mountains, reminiscing about yesterday.

I arrived at the southern ferry terminal one hour later. Fortunately the bus had been coordinated to meet the 9:30am ferry departure to Ishigaki. I got off the bus, thanked the driver, and boarded the ferry. Due to only one ferry port being open, there were a lot of customers; so many in fact that the company had to put on two ferries. I sat down in my usual seat looking out into the ocean.Two rows in front of me sat an elderly lady with a cute dog. I was worried that the dog would 'bolt' as soon as the engine fired up and we were away however, the dog was as good as gold and must be a local.

Ironically this crossing had been the calmest I'd experienced within the Ishigaki island chain. I got into Ishigaki town at around 10:10am and headed straight for my accommodation. Being 10am I couldn't check-in however, I could drop my bags off and check the bus timetable to the airport. The upshot is that, tomorrow, the first bus to the airport leaves here at 7:05am and arrives one hour later leaving me 55 minutes until my flight leaves. Being a domestic flight this should be more than enough time however, even though a taxi ride could cost 3,000 yen (£20.00) I still thought it was worth taking a cab and arriving much earlier. With that set I checked my emails before walking back into town. The time was 11am.

Even though I hadn't had breakfast I still didn't buy food (save a bit of cash) until lunch time. I therefore walked around this 'town', finding little that interested me, until lunch. Like most other urban settlements out here, 'run down' would be the words I'd choose to describe it. I therefore walked aimlessly around taking photos of this, that and the other realising that 'hiring cars', on tropical islands, was the way to go. Having hired three this holiday I have certainly been converted, as you can do so much with your time.

It was also as I walked around that I tried to sum up my trip to Okinawa. Even though it isn't over (I leave on Tuesday) I've thoroughly enjoyed my time. It is true that money for this winter holiday has been tighter than it had to be (due to wanting a massive holiday next summer) but, on the whole, I can't think of anything (except eating a little better) that I have missed out on. The trip has been fantastic and I have seen a lot however, currently I am very tired and so a 'rest day' would have been nice. The islands are beautiful and there is lots to do; I'd say the main island is good (and shouldn't be missed) but it's the outer-islands which are Okinawa's gold mine. For me these Islands have had a continuing theme running through them; family. The populations are small therefore everyone seems to know everyone. On each island I've met very friendly locals who I've talked to and eat with. Sure the weather could have been a little better however, it hasn't stopped me from enjoying myself (whereas the summers heat may have). Overall coming to Okinawa was an excellent choice and money well spent.

My thoughts seemed to have taken up my entire walk. I had pretty much seen the whole town and therefore, I found myself famished and standing outside 'W&A' (again) peering in. Having seen no better option on my walk, I went in and ordered another chicken burger. As I took my tray I saw some people I'd met on Taketomi-jima and so, I gratefully accepted their offer for me to join them. We chatted about our two days apart and just how good yesterday's weather had been.

After dinner I was at a loss. I had nothing to do plus the rain was starting to fall. Feeling tired I decided to abort the day. I bought a few souvenirs which, buying them between 10am - 2pm, gave me 10% off for some reason (I bought a photo book – the only one on the entire island, postcards and two demon things which I've seen around, however mine are painted). Once done I headed back to my hotel to sit within the reception area to read the news, rest my feet and try to get some energy back. The time; 2:15pm.

At 4pm I could check-in. My room was on the 9th floor therefore, once there, I discovered that the WI-fi signal had ran out of reach. Slightly annoyed, after putting my stuff within my room I went back to the reception area and wrote this blog while I uploaded two days worth of photos. All was going well and by 8pm I retired to my room, once more, to eat the left-over food from my island trip.

So tomorrow I depart my hotel at 6:45am to board a 9am flight to Okinawa's main island. I shall arrive at midday and then I shall check into the hostel before I go out and see down-town Naha (plus I'll get a bit more shopping done; I need to buy biscuits for my schools).

Tomorrow will be a busy, and expensive, day; an early night is therefore more than welcome.

Toodle Pip!

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