Thursday, December 31, 2009

Okinawa Week One

So the flying was pretty uneventful. I ran into Patrick Stewart as I was heading to my next gate in Salt Lake City. For those of you who don't know, he is most famous for playing Captain Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Professor Xavier in the X-men movie trilogy. I smiled and said hello, he said hello back but that was about it. Then I spent the next seven hours waiting for my flight. In that time I had a beer, some pizza and watched Monday Night Football. Then I got hit with some bad news. Salt Lake had an hour weather delay meaning that they were limiting the flights coming in and out. The culprit... fog... So our plane was late coming in and if it had to be de-iced I would get into San Francisco at 11:40pm. My plane left at 12:05am. So yeah, 25 minutes to get to the airline counter and through security. Luckily they didn't need to de-ice the plane. So the flight was only a half an hour late. That still put me into the terminal in San Francisco at 11:15pm. I still had to run like hell from Domestic flights to International flights and so on. I barely made the plane. I sat next to a little Japanese woman who glared at me a lot. But that is okay, I tried to sleep through out the trip but, I was woken up every hour for food or something ridiculous. They give you two full meals on the plane. That was sweet. Then I got into Taiwan, waited an hour then flew to Okinawa. Customs and quarantine weren't bad. Once I stepped out of that area Maddie and her mom were there waiting for me.

We then went to the car where I was hit with my first bit of culture. The steering wheel of the car was on the right side. They also drove on the opposite side of the road. Once I got over the fear that we were in the wrong lane and thus were going to get hit, I started taking in the sights. I was a bit overwhelmed with everything. Gone was the sparse areas of Montana where you could drive for 10 minutes and be in the middle of nowhere. In its place were mass amounts of urban sprawl. We drove through the city of Naha on our way to Camp Foster. The thing is, I really have no distinct idea of where one city ends and another begins. It all just seems to be a blend of flashing lights, signs written in Japanese, mixed with various areas of stores and hotels. Afterwards we met up with Maddie's dad and got my passes to get back on base. We then ate at Coco's Curry. It was really good considering it was my first curry experience. Afterwards we got settled in and hung out. The next night we went to the Botanical Gardens to view the lights. It was neat to see all the lights. Christmas we spent here inside the house as it was raining. In fact it didn't stop raining all day. I'm not talking the constant wet drizzle we get in the U.S. but down pouring.

The next day we stopped by a pottery village and checked out all the hand made pottery. Afterwards we checked out, Cape Zampa. The water was rough and it was crashing on the rocks. That was neat to see and feel as the wind blew the spray up at us. Also they have vending machines for everything. It's amazing. They even have hot drinks in them. The fire hydrants are weird too. Basically there is a sign and then a lid in the ground that you pull out.

During the weekend we went to Cape Hedo at the northern point of the island. Again the waters were rough and crashing. The waters are an awesome blue color and watching them crash on the rocks is just something else. Over on the other side we saw a bunch of little fish swimming about. Then we went back a different way through the jungles. There was a bike race or something going on because there were a ton of road bikes that we had to pass.

Monday Maddie and I then checked out Jusco which is like a mallish type place with department stores in it. We also stopped by American Village. I don't know how it's American really but I just went with it. Tuesday we checked out the 100 yen shop which is closely related to a dollar store. They had some silly stuff. Wednesday, Maddie, her mom and I went to Kokusai Street. Basically it's a street of shops and restaurants. They have Habu Sake. Basically they take the habu snakes which is a poisonous viper here on the island that they stick in sake. Apparently it ferments or something and the poison gives it a real kick.

Tonight is New Years Eve. We are going to Peace Prayer Park to see the light show there. They are also lighting a torch. So that will be awesome to see.

Anywho, I have to apologize, everything I have talked about is not in detail, because I've had a lot to experience my first week here. I'll write in more detail later. Stay tuned! Oh and a Happy New Year!!!

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