I am officially done with my time at APU. I cannot even begin to describe how much i will miss it and even more so the people. But with every end marks a new beginning, and in the case of the last few days, even in the end one can experience a beginning. Take this last week for example, the end of my time in Beppu and the beginning of the remainder of my time abroad.
I had to say good bye to many friends and was surprised at how many tears were shed over my departure, even from some people i was only acquaintances with, and in one case didnt even know the person's name who was crying for me, which made me feel like a complete jerk. But it started on Friday afternoon walking through campus to the bus stop with my 30kg (about 60+ pounds) luggage being carried over my head/resting on my head because the suitcase was from about 25 years ago and 2 of the wheels broke on the way, on had its tread melt, and the other wheel cracked under the weight of the suitcase. Its a good thing i had friends to help me carry the rest of my things. But me and 3 of my friends left Beppu for Fukuoka on a bus to stay the night and then some had to catch flights the next day. We wandered the streets, hung out in parks and local clubs/bars. Ate the world reknown "Fukuoka Ramen" and discovered the best gyoza shop ever. The gyoza and ramen of Fukuoka earned their claim to fame in my book because it was just as good as advertised. I really liked the city of Fukuoka because its not a well known city like Tokyo or Osaka but it is still a good size and not too touristy. Just a little gem in my small corner of the earth. At one point in the night i was performing some music in the street and actually made a decent amount of money. We were trying to cut corners with our spending and decided not to get a hotel/hostel and try and stay up or sleep in the park (this particular park had carpet-like grass and was incredibly clean). While the sun came up we decided it would be a good idea to explore the surrounding buildings. And since there were only tall buildings around we decided to hop a fence, and climb up the outside stairs 15 stories to the roof of the building. We looked out across the city and took in the view for about 3 minutes when a security guard came out from the building. He told us to follow him in, so we did and when we came in the door there were two more guards, then they escorted us to the elevator with another guard in there, and once on the ground floor there were a few lining the hallway to the door. We made for the door discovered it was locked and found out the guards had no intention of letting us go that easy. We end up in the security office and the guy starts talking to us. So we all pretend to not speak or understand ANY Japanese. The boss cop gives us papers to fill out, we all give fake names and information and can tell the guard was getting frustrated. At one point we all start asking him questions about where to put our name and where to put our info on the paper at the same time to the point where he just got frustrated, took what we gave him and then they let us go. After that ordeal, we were all pretty gross from the humidity and from the walking so we search out an ofuro. Collected some information from a hotel nearby and got directions to one nearby. We arrived at 7am to find out it opened at 8am. which was unfortunate for us. So we sat down and waited, pretty much as soon as we sat down everyone but me fell asleep. I was trying to be noble and stand guard of all our things, but around 725am i was hit by a train of exhaustion. And passed out until a little after 8 on the side of the road. We all looked like hobos. The ofuro was incredible, it had a mat for people to just lie back and take in the sun. There were jet streamed tubs, sauna's with tv, the works, all for the low price of 700 yen. Later that morning i saw off 2 of my friends who were going back to the states. I ended up sleeping on a stone slate in a park after i saw them off for an extended period of time. The next day my friend and i checked into a local hotel and stayed our last night on a comfy bed. But that night we met up with some more people from school who stayed an extra night. And a few of us had made friends with a bartender at one of the bars the night before. So this bartender, after he got off work agreed to take us to a club that he knew the owner of and got us all free drinks and VIP lounge access which was incredible. So that hotel i got i hardly ended up staying in because i left early the next morning for...THAILAND!!
Me and a couple friends left for the airport and immediately had trouble because we ended up getting a "trainee" check-in lady at the counter who didn't speak english and had no idea what she was doing. So it took literally 25 minutes to check in. Not to mention the fact they said i wasn't allowed to carry on my guitar so i called for the manager and she was being unreasonable so i made them wrap it in bubble wrap, twice, and put it in a box to check with multiple "fragile" stickers on it. Pretty uneventful after that, but we had a lay over in Taipei, Taiwan for a couple hours then got to Bangkok. Thailand is a beautiful country and i am fortunate enough to have a friend who lives here that i am staying with. As soon as we arrived we started out our activities. My friend showed us around the area then we went out to dinner. We walked down this street that was full of foreigners and apparently is really famous for backpackers.
Today struck a chord of bad luck with the weather. I experimented with some Thai side street vendors and tasted some weird looking fruits which were really tasty. Then we went out to see the grand palace and a big Buddha statue but apparently there was some sort of royal ceremony going on so it was closed down. And as soon as we learned this it started pouring rain. Heavy rain. So in the end we settled on taking a cab to a big mall nearby which turned out to be way bigger than i expected. It was a lot of fake merchandise but still cool looking and it was easy to negotiate with the little shops. Its great because everything here in Thailand is SO cheap compared to Japan and here i don't have to worry about carrying around so many coins. After going to the mall we had reservations for a massage. Unfortunately, Bangkok is a big city and this particular city can be summed up by one word: CONGESTION with both people and automobiles alike always the roads and sidewalks are crowded. Even the people in the cars are crowded. People riding in the backs of trucks, a family of 5 plus a dog and furniture/groceries on a single motorbike, trains, etc. This being the case the road was really badly backed up so we decided to take a train, which turned out to be a good idea. The massage was everything i wanted and more. It was for 2 hours full body massage. Me and 2 other friends shared a room and at one point we all fell asleep and were all snoring. But felt SO relaxed afterwards. From there we went to dinner, and spent an hour and a half to get what would have taken 15 minutes without traffic. But i have literally NEVER seen traffic so bad as i did tonight. About half way there one of my friends needed to use the bathroom so we stopped then traffic started moving and then one thing leads to another, next thing i know, me and two of my friends are walking in the rain. We end up taking a "Tuk Tuk" which was fun. Two to be exact except the first one we got i broke down literally 20 seconds after we got in. But we found another. In the end we got to our dinner later than i ever thought we could but nonetheless enjoyed the delicacies of Thai cuisine, which evidently tastes WAY better in Thailand than America (go figure).
(above: a view from a "Tuk Tuk" a Motor bike with a carriage attached to the back)
Tomorrow i head South for the beaches of Samoii and Ko Pang Am (not sure of the spelling of those) which i am super excited about. Going to be a good relaxing week spent on the beach.
Sidenote of being in Thailand: this is the first time i have been in a place where i literally understand/speak/read/write NOTHING of the language. Its a helpless feeling but kinda fun at the same time and really makes for a good adventure anytime you go out. Which is quite a lot here because everything is so cheap we take cabs everywhere for the equivalent of 100 yen or a little over a dollar. So there are many opportunities for interacting with people who speak no english.
Until Next Time,