Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Two Tickets to Anywhere in Japan, Please

Fukuoka, Japan

Arrived Vladivostok at 9 AM on the 4th. In hotel by 10 and napped until 2 or so. Immediate call to travel agent revealed that ferry to Fushiki Japan is booked until July 25th. This was a bit of an issue because:

1. Vladivostok is the dreariest place on Earth and we were keen to leave.

2. Our Russian visa runs out on the 9th and we (as usual) wanted to avoid any "Imperial entanglements".

3. I had a massive hangover (see Jason's post for more details).

We looked into a few options and made a few more fruitless calls before giving up in favor of supper and a relaxed evening celebrating the America's birthday by watching a lot of Russian television.

Up bright and early this morning (the 5th of July) and back at it. Most travel agencies in our guidebook were not answering the phone. The one that was kept telling me to call back. Jason tried to get our hotel to help with arrangements, but they first misunderstood the request, then gave us some sort of yim-yam about needing visas for Japan. We don't need no stinking visas.

It was almost noon. Checked out of hotel and trekked down to the marine terminal to try things out in person. Carrying 30 kilos of stuff in the rain and cold made me unhappy. I was of the opinion that we should have left the big bags in the hotel locker, but Jason thought otherwise. Again, Jason's instincts were ultimately correct.

The ferry ticketing office was no help. They just repeated the line about July 25th and directed us to another ferry company that handles traffic via Korea. They had a boat the next day or Saturday. The former required a 5 hour bus ride. The latter required us to wait around in Rainopolis for a few days. Neither is very appealing. We popped back up the hill to a flight agency. They seemed a bit baffled when we asked for the cheapest tickets for that day to "anywhere in Japan". I guess most of their customers care where they are going.

We ended up with a pair of tickets to Fukuoka via Seoul. Out the front door of the ticket agency and directly into the waiting arms of a taxi. Our excitable (and suspiciously cheap) cabbie got us to the airport in plenty of time to have a cup of tea and a snack before getting in an immaculate Air Korea jet. We made the tight connection in Seoul (last kids on the plane), and are presently enjoying the broadband supplied by our hotel next to the train station. Tomorrow we will spend about 7 hours getting to Tokyo via train.

I like it here in Japan. We had a hella good supper, everything is clean, and old friends are on the way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

last sentence reminds me two hobbits from lord of rings. (only book read by yours truly)

7/05/2005 6:26 PM gmt

Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL. Jing talks funny talk.

7/06/2005 4:42 PM gmt


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