Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Loving the 1950's

Date: Wednesday 5th August 2015

Weather: Hot in Hakodate and Tomakomai … but not too humid

MP3 track of the day: beautiful neighborhood - Space

My train to Tomakomai didn't leave Hakodate until midday therefore, there was no real need to get up too early. I had to vacate my room by 10am therefore, I was up in time to allow for me to get some breakfast, before returning to my hotel to hand in my room key and await my train. I decided to fill the time by reading my book and upgrading my PC to Windows 10 (see how that goes).

At 11:30am Windows had finished updating and it was time for I to head to the local convenience store – to grab some snacks for the journey – and make my way to the train station.

Of course I arrived early however luckily, so to did the train. I therefore got to sit in my reserved window seat and await the off. A husband, wife and their child boarded soon after me and they must have booked their tickets late as, the man was suppose to sit next to me with his wife in the row behind (however, the seat next to her didn’t fill for another six stops therefore, the man went back and forth from his seat to the one behind after every stop). I suppose that I could have given them my seat however, I had a window seat and I was jolly well going to hang onto it. As we pulled out of the station two of my senses were hit at the same time. Due to the weather, the views were amazing out of the window. The second sense to be hit was my nose because boy, something smelt good.

As the husband reappeared to take his seat next to mine, he seemed to have a `lucky Perriot` carrier bag with a hamburger inside. Though I wished I'd done the same, there was little I could do about it now. I decided to just sit back in my seat and try not to look at this delicious, meaty, fresh burger just to the right of me. This wasn't actually as hard as you might think; at the same time as he revealed his lunch, we were passing though the national park I visited two days ago. Out of the window I could see a twin-peaked volcano, which is why this national park is famous. From the islands in the wetlands, these twin peaks can be seen making an excellent backdrop. I didn't mention them two days ago because the little cloud that had been around, had hidden them from view. Today though, they were out in full glory however, it would appear that no one else on the train seemed interested. Sometimes I despair at the human race. Here I was, peering out of the window taking in the mountains, lakes and vegetation of this beautiful place whereas most others were either asleep or eating. Some, believe it or not, had pulled their curtain so the sun's glare wouldn't prevent them from seeing photos, of the place we were currently travelling through, on their phone! Though it hurt a tad, my head never changed direction and I was constantly glued to the window.

At halfway through the journey I decided to eat my snacks and drink my drink. The mystery man – who was in the seat behind me thus splitting the couple – eventually boarded and kindly took the seat next to me allowing the couple to sit together. I continued looking out onto the world loving every minute of it. Soon we passed places that, once I had my car, I would come back and visit and I was itching to visit them now. I sat back down trying not to show my frustration.

When I arrived in Tomakomai, the question which should have been asked wasn't `where am I?` but, `when am I?`. I would guess at some point in the 1950's but an actual year was hard to pin down. Though Hakodate had looked a little like a dump in places; it was at least a welcoming dump. This was just a dump pure and simple. Every building looked as though it should have been torn down by now (some looked as though they would fall down soon enough). I made my way though 1950's suburbia heading for my hotel which, on the Google map I'd printed off, looked as though it was very close to the train station indeed.

I'm not sure at what scale I printed my map off however, I guess a similar scaled map would have made `Paris to Berlin` look like a days hike. It took me half an hour to reach my hotel which, though I was certain this wasn't a conservation area, blended into the 1950's run-down look very well indeed. This turned out not to matter because as soon as I walked in, I was met by a very nice lady who told me all I needed to know, plus where the closest book store was. I thanked her and went up to my room (which has it's own bathroom, but lacks air-conditioning) to take a shower and change my clothes. I was soon off out again.

You know it's never a good omen when your first jobs are all related to how you are going to leave the city you had just arrived in however, that was my lot. First of all I went to the local book store to buy a road map for when I got my car. Before leaving the train station, to find my hotel, I had inquired into when the first train left Tomakomai for Otaru tomorrow (8:12am therefore, another early morning) and finally, I went to the rental car place to make sure all was well there. Things were good so I took a few photos of the city and went to find somewhere to eat …. which turned out to be a fast food restaurant selling bowls of rice with meat and vegetables in them.

Once consumed I left the restaurant and headed to a convenience store, close to my hotel, to get myself something sweet for dessert and a huge bottle of drink for my three-night stay. As I mentioned above, tomorrow will see me getting up at 6:20am so that I can catch the 8:12am train to Otaru. I will get into Otaru at 10am and, hopefully, I'll spend a couple of hours there before getting to Sapporo around 2pm. I hope to have three to four hours in Sapporo before coming back to Tomakomai. I am very much looking forward to tomorrow; though trying to see two cities in one day is a large ask, these two cities are no strangers to me. This will be the third time I have visited these cities though, the last two times were in winter when they were covered in snow. I am therefore really looking forward to seeing the change.

Right that's it from me for today. I am off to get a lovely shower (well when I say lovely. The shower head fires the water at you with the sole purpose of removing all of your skin) before hitting 'the sack' while watching a little TV. Sapporo and Otaru here I come!

Toodle Pip!

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