KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
You would think that two weeks is plenty of time to explore just one city in Japan, but somehow, we seemed to have run out of time and there were still several places in Tokyo that we would have liked to visit. Thank goodness Amit is posted in Japan for four years; if he will have us back, we would love to come again.
We spent our last morning cleaning the townhouse and laundering all the bedding. We wanted to be sure the place was ready for Amit’s next guests. We were lucky to be some of the first people to visit him so we wanted to leave a particularly good impression. We slipped out in the late morning for a walk in the fresh air but really it was just an excuse to visit our favorite bakery ‘Anderson’s’ one more time. Their bread is amazing.
We took a taxi to a hotel near the Canadian Embassy in order to catch a bus to Narita airport. Narita is located 65km from the city centre and a taxi ride would cost over $250.00. We could have travelled by train but it’s a long walk from the station to the check-in counters and Amit advised us the bus would be really comfortable and would drop us right at the Air Canada check-in. The $30.00 fare seemed pretty reasonable compared to the taxi.
It was a beautiful sunny day and we were thrilled to see a part of Tokyo that we had missed during our stay. The bus travelled along the freeway and over Tokyo Bay and the views of the water and ships was a delight. As you can imagine, no piece of land is ever idle in Japan, so the ride to the airport was past acres of industrial complexes and we saw the brand names of almost every Japanese product famous in the West.
We arrived fairly early at the airport but we are used to ‘wasting’ time, so we kicked back and relaxed until it was time for our 7:00pm flight. We were so glad that we had been able to change our tickets so that we could fly out of Tokyo instead of Shanghai. This saved us an additional flight back to Shanghai but more importantly; it meant that we had only a nine-hour flight across the Pacific instead of eleven hours. Everything progressed as usual as we boarded the plane for our thirty-seventh flight since leaving Canada on September 25, 2007. I just hoped that our thirty-seventh landing would be as uneventful and we could then consider Year Two of our retirement travels to be completed.
The flight back was very comfortable and the meal was good. Our only complaint was that the aircraft was only equipped with movie screens that dropped down from the ceiling above the middle four seats. Our section only had two screens and we could barely see the second screen from our seats. I was doubly disappointed when I learned that the in-flight movie was going to be The Kite Runner and I knew it was mostly sub-titled. In disgust, I took off my headset and tried not to look at the screen. I read the book when it first came out and it is one of my favorites. I was really looking forward to seeing the movie and I didn’t want to let this experience spoil it for me. Instead of watching the movie, I ordered a second gin and tonic and then settled in for a sleep after the meal.
To our surprise, the flight arrived slightly ahead of schedule and to bright blue skies in Vancouver. We have been following the weather in Canada this year and it had been a very cold and snowy year and spring had not been kind to Canadians either. The West Coast had a very cool spring and it even snowed in Vancouver not long ago. Still, I was amazed to see how much snow blanketed the North Shore Mountains. It was a lovely sight against the brilliant blue skies as we flew over them. I tried to spot the ski resort at Whistler by looking for the chair lifts but didn’t manage to pick them out amongst all the snowy peaks.
We cleared customs and then boarded a Pacific Coast Lines bus to Victoria, just outside the International Terminal. The bus travels to Tsawwassen where it boards the ferry for Swartz Bay and then continues into the depot in central Victoria. We had arranged for our daughter Adia to pick us up at the depot. We would have liked to stop in Vancouver and see Raj and Vy but we had promised to go straight to Victoria to look after our ‘grandcat’ Maizie, so that Adia and Geoff could take a week off to tour the Kootneys region of south-central BC.
During the ferry crossing, passengers leave the bus and sit on the passenger decks with other travellers before returning to the bus when the ferry docks. We have travelled on the ferry many times but this was one of the most beautiful crossings we have ever seen. The sun was so bright, the sea so blue and the mountains north of Vancouver and south of Victoria were especially striking with all their snow-capped peaks.
It was wonderful to be back in Canada. Oh! Canada.
Final Editor’s Note (and it’s a long one):
To all ye faithful, voracious readers, who have been following Vicki’s journal since the beginning of our trip; remember, thanks to the editor, you have been reading the abridged version. Copies of the unedited version will be available, someday, when Vicki decides to publish her book. When I last checked, she had about 10,700 pictures on her laptop.
I would suggest that you opt for the book in DVD format. To read, and see, all that you have missed, you should click on “Deleted Scenes” on the DVD Main Menu and follow the prompts.
Our next trip is to Central and South America - you may wish to sign up for the Spanish version of the journal. Adios amigos!