It’s 3am and everyone is wide awake.
Jill, Miwa and I took a very leisurely approach to our trip to Vancouver this time. After finishing up pruning on Saturday afternoon, we headed down to Victoria where we visited friends for two days. On Sunday night we stayed in a hotel in SIdney, a mere 8km from the ferries, so on Monday morning when we headed out to Schwartz Bay for the 9am ferry, we had lots of time to wake up and have breakfast. Miwa loved the slide on the “Big Big Ferry” and made friends with a silent East Indian boy, whom she named “Birdie”. She gave him a big hug when it was time to go, “Bye-bye Birdie!”
In Vancouver we went to the Richmond Ikea for lunch, not a great idea during a teacher’s strike! I’ve never seen it that crazy there! Then we headed out to the Airport to park at the end of the runway to watch the jets land and get Miwa used to the idea. She loved it, “Here comes a big, big one!”
Around 2pm we headed in to our hotel, the AIrport Fairmont and ran into Mia and John in the airport. They were on their way to Hawaii, and we had planned to meet up. John was obviously well prepared, as was evident by his colourful attire. They came up to our room for a while and were as impressed as we were. Great view of the south runway, a huge, comfy looking bed, and the most well appointed hotel room bathroom I have ever seen.
We saw John and Mia off to their gate and returned to the hotel for a dip in the pool before dinner, which was at White Spot, conveniently located at the far end of the airport. I wanted to go for sushi, but Jill thought that would be silly for some reason.
The next morning, we had breakfast at the Fairmont, only because we had a 50% off voucher, but it probably would have worthwhile anyway. Great service and good food. I did feel a tad underdressed, being the only male not in a dress shirt.
On our way to check in, we met Tak and Mitzi in a cafe. I think seeing all these familiar faces in the airport really made Miwa more comfortable with the whole experience. She was thrilled every time, and it was good to have those good memories to weigh against the horror of having her luggage put through the x-ray machine. We got the be “Those Parents”, you know, the ones with the screaming child in security. Fortunately, she calmed down once she got her Trunki back.
The flight was generally uneventful, except that it was way longer than anticipated. There was a terrible headwind, and it took over 11 hours. Wayyy too long for a 2 1/2 year old. Way to long for anyone really. Flew through customs and immigration, picked up our pocket wi-fi without a hitch, then grabbed some onigiri before hopping on the bus for a 2 hour ride. Everyone had a little nap on the way. Then transfer to train and another bus before the final 3 block walk to the “Tokyo house”. This house was built in the post war period, and stands out as one of the oldest houses in the neigbourhood. Jill thinks it’s a pretty neat old house, and in general it is, but it is clear to me (and my forehead) that no one in Japan was 6’ tall in the mid century! Every door requires ducking, and there’s even a bonus low beam in the middle of the living area.
Jill’s Tomoko Obachan, (Mitzi’s sister} greeted us at the door. She had cleaned the house and prepared us dinner. A very nice way to arrive. It was now 7:45 pm local time, 2:45 am Quadra time, so everyone went to sleep pretty soon after dinner. Which brings me back to the beginning, except that is it now 4am, and Miwa wants toast.
A short addendum, at 3:52 we had a small earthquake, enough to rattle the doors but nothing too exciting. We’re not in Canada anymore!