We are finally heading back to the northern hemisphere for the last leg of our trip. Our time down under has been very special and we will not soon forget the hospitality of the Aussies and the Kiwi's. We all put both Australia and New Zealand near the top of the list when we talk about our favorite stops to date.
Stacie and I woke up early this morning because we wanted to make sure we got a run in before we had to leave, which was 9:45. We left the house for the run at 6:00 right as the sun was starting to come up. When we got to the beach we noticed the tide was pretty high and it was going to be a tight squeeze between the tree line and the waterline, but we decided to go for it anyway. There are a couple of tidal creeks we need to cross when we are running down the beach and when we got to the first one we knew we were in trouble. The creek was full because of the tide level and there was no good way across. These creeks tend to smell really bad and have a bunch of junk in them so the thought of splashing across them was not too appealing. During low tide you can pick your way across easily without really getting wet, but there was no option for a dry crossing here. We found a spot that was as narrow as possible and I jumped as far as I could and only got a little wet on my right foot. Stacie was not as lucky and got both feet drenched in the stinky creek water - not a great way to start your run, or your day for that matter. However, she just rolled with it, like she does with most things these days and we were off down the beach without any hesitation. We had to cross another creek before we turned around and then do the same thing on the way back, so in total we had four crossings and had to weave in and out of the trees to avoid the water from the tide. All in all it was not the best run of the trip, but it was nice to get some exercise in.
The rest of the morning went smoothly and we set off from PD right on time. I took some pictures of the house before I left. If we ever own a beach house (highly doubtful) I would want it to have the vibe of this place. I am not sure how they pulled it off, but it's the most relaxed house I have ever been in.
Thankfully Stacie remembered we had not placed a sticker in PD, so on our way out of town we headed down to four mile beach to find a spot. Since the whole of Australia is full of things that can kill and injure you we thought it was appropriate to place the sticker on one of the ten thousand signs that tell you how dangerous this place is. In reality we were NEVER worried about anything while we were in Australia. It's just like anything else in life, the images you paint in your head are typically far worse than reality.
With the sticker placed, we were off to the airport. After an hours drive we were there and ready to fly. We had to wait in a long line to check in, but we had time so it was not a problem. Once we were checked in (by the only grumpy person we met in Australia), we headed up to immigration and security. After another long line we were through the screening and putting our bags back together. Lea and I were the last ones through and as we were walking away from the collection area a security official selected Lea for some additional screening. He said "I need to screen your bags for explosives" Lea did not hear him quite right and thought he was offering an additional "service" so she replied "oh no thanks, I'm all right". She quickly realized her mistake and we all had a good laugh.
We got a quick lunch and then boarded our 7 hour direct flight to Tokyo.
The flight went perfect and before we knew it we were landing at Narita airport. Just as we were starting our decent the captain came on and let us know that there was a good view of Mt. Fuji off the left side of the airplane. Since Peter was on the left window we were able to get a shot of the beautiful sunset with Mt. Fuji popping through the clouds.
We landed and then walked for what seemed like a mile before we got to immigration. We spent another 45 minutes in line for immigration and then went to collect our bags. Once though customs we quickly found a place to buy our train tickets into the city and hopped on our first bullet train in Japan. This train took us 41 minutes to get into the city and then we transfered to a local train to get us closer to the hotel. Despite being in the largest city in the world (40 million people) and in a country where you can't read the language at all, the process was by far the easiest (and cleanest) arrival into a big city we have had on the trip.
We made it to our stop about 30 minutes later and hopped off. We walked the remaining 10 minutes to the hotel and checked in quickly.
Even though we had not eaten dinner, everyone was tired and since it was 10:00 we decided to call it a night and get some rest. So far Japan gets a big thumbs up from everyone. There is even a Starbucks right across from the hotel, so Lea is loving it!
More from the land of the rising sun tomorrow!