We said good-bye to Shanghai on Friday as we boarded our taxi in the surprisingly sleepy Jing’an District. The ride to Pudong seemed like more a demonstration on how our taxi driver could get us to the airport faster than his nemesis the speedy Maglev. Of course, there are no working seat belts in this shaky compact and we are left to overlook the lack of safety and the speedometer and just watch the Shanghai skyline disappear behind us. We reached the Pudong Airports in 45 minutes and the Maglev never managed to pass our vehicle.
The Pudong Airport is new and of course super-sized like most structures like it in the new China. We boarded our Air China plane an hour and after a 2 hour bumpy flight landed in Osaka. The short flight consisted of a watching Globetrekker episode where we learned how Ian Wright traveled around Las Vegas, and a Wonder Bread cucumber tea sandwich with juice.
The journey today ended in town of Zeze otherwise known as Lake Biwa just outside of Kyoto. It’s been over two years since our last visit to Japan and the sticker shock hit us just little after getting off the JR train in Kyoto. For example, in China a pastry costs 4 Yuan or about 75 cents at the corner bakery opposed to the 240 Yen or $4 dollar bagel without cream cheese from a kiosk in the Kyoto JR Rail Station. This just means that we’ll have to be selective in how we spend in Japan. This means still treating ourselves to things we love most. This includes at least one trip to an Onsen, a few nice meals and many glasses of smooth sake and souchu. We have an idea of what we want to see but the plans are loose so we have the option of cutting out if we end up going past our comfort zone.
Our plan so far is to stay here in Kyoto and visit a friend whose wedding brought us here in the first place. We will then fly south to Kagoshima using new Japanese budget airline called Peach and travel around the Kyushu region. The details are still being worked out but so far we will be going to see volcanoes of southern Kagoshima and central Mt. Aso , see castles in Kumamoto and temples of Fukuoka and Nagasaki.