All I want for Christmas is to hear Mariah Carey singing ‘All I Want for Christmas’ on auto-repeat. Today, my wish came true. The siren called us down to the second floor for our breakfast. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any. It wasn’t included with our (admittedly cheap) hotel room fee. Nor was there an option to eat breakfast and pay later. Another example of a misunderstanding from a badly translated website. Hotel, you ask? Yes, we’re in Fukuoka for few more days and sometimes you can’t book an Airbnb for the exact length of time you need. So, we’re slumming it a bit on the 8th floor. It’s a quiet room except you can hear every other toilet being flushed: I think their effluent runs through our bathroom via pipes that think they’re sound amplification units.
But I did take advantage of the public hot bath. Not a real onsen, a natural hot spring, but as close as you can get on the 14th floor of a mid-town hotel. The hot bath was indeed hot. The one in the room next door was hot too, and it was open to the outside world, so on a cold day, you can potentially be snowed upon while in the hot tub.
I’d still like to experience a genuine, natural onsen, but that might have to wait a couple of days.
Today was a day for sport. We walked a couple of miles to the Kokusai Center to witness nearly eight hours of Sumo Wrestling. It was Day 10 of a 15-day Grand Sumo Tournament. And Mariah Carey was still in my head, possibly the most persistent ear worm in the world.
During the day, we saw over fifty separate contests. Each one is very short, preceded by lots of ritual. As the day wore on, competitors with increasing skill levels took part. The final 20 matches were from the Senior Division.
The Dohyō, the ring in which the contest takes place, is built anew for each tournament. The playing surface is clay and covered in sand. The men wear only a loin cloth, or mawashi, which may be tied tightly or loosely. The idea is to force your opponent out of the ring or to make him touch the floor with a part of his body other than his feet. It’s a mix of strength, weight, balance and strategy.
One of the skills most useful is hard to see, though, so if you’re squeamish, jump to the next paragraph. To prevent injury and pain in that area, sumo wrestlers are able to reel in their testicles to the safety of the lower abdomen.
They all have their hair tied up into a top-knot, but each is a s lightly different style. Part of the ritual is to throw salt onto the Dohyō. This seems to be more common with the more experienced combatants. We saw one chap pick up and throw a huge handful of salt!
The referees, or gyōji, wear brightly coloured outfits. They too are ranked and the most senior ones wear a sword because if they make a bad decision, they are honour bound to do the right thing.
Some of the Seniors had their own group of rowdy supporters but there were a lot of westerners here too, like us, just for the experience. It was a great day’s entertainment.
Yesterday we went to Marine World at Uminonakamichi. As the name suggests, the place was full of fish. And dolphins.
The ear worm on this occasion was Marina, Aqua Marina, from the old TV series Stingray. Look it up on YouTube and it will be in your head for the rest of the day, too. Unless you prefer Mariah Carey of course.
Remember, remember the fifth of November. Well, I always do: this year it would have been my Dad’s 93rd birthday. He never made it to Japan, but his ship was on its way when the war there ended, having, as he told us, finished off the conflict in Europe.
So here we are now in Japan, experiencing everything it has to offer. Including, this morning, a very slight tremor. I felt the bed shake and in the kitchen, the pot of cutlery toppled over into the sink.
Here’s a clue to the Japanese experience we chose to experience today:
Yes, Universal Studios Japan is a two train ride from our abode. The entertainment began early as we again enjoyed the announcements at Osaka Station. The musical cues are fantastic, no simple ‘bing-bong’ here, you get a whole tune. I recorded a few minutes and when I edit it down, I’ll have a brand new ringtone.
The young lady sitting next to me on the train kept sniffing. I wanted to offer her a tissue but that would have been a mistake. In fact, to sneeze or blow your nose into a tissue here is considered rude. Sniffing is much more acceptable. If you use a tissue, you have to (try to) be very discreet. I tried the sniffing method but that still feels wrong and rude to me.
Universal Studios was a five minute walk from the station and apart from the Japanese script on all the signs, we could have been in America.
That is indeed the Sun shining through the star at the top of the Christmas tree. We heard Christmas songs during the day too. We headed straight for Jurassic Park and my first ride was The Flying Dinosaur.
That was the best/worst ride I’ve ever been on. Incredibly scary and I will never do it again. It’s the longest rollercoaster in the world, reaching speeds up to 62mph, there’s a 120-foot drop, you’re lying facedown, prone, you’re taken through 360° loops at least twice and, and, and, my palms are sweating just reliving the experience. Yes, it’s exciting, but it’s so fast, you can’t really see what’s coming, so there’s no anticipation. If you close your eyes, you might as well be inside the world’s maddest, fastest out-of-control tumble dryer.
I had to sit down for a while to recuperate from that. With a small cup of coffee and some soy beans.
The rest of the day was calmer: all good fun but much less frenetic.
The trio playing msuic was very good, and not playing Christmas songs which was a bonus.
We were taken on an adventure in New York with Spiderman. Backdraft and Terminator 2 were both a bit disappointing. The former was just too much standing and watching people talk before a final few seconds of actual pyrotechnics. The latter was just too long a build-up for a couple of minutes of good special effects at the end. There’s a clever mix of film footage, real actors, lighting and effects but sometimes you feel that waiting in queues that long should be better rewarded.
Shrek 4D was very good. The 4th D is, I assume, the sensurround seating, you feel the horses galloping and the bump when you land hard. It was a very funny storyline too, even if we couldn’t entirely follow the Japanese dialogue.
As it’s so popular, we had a timed ticked for the Harry Potter Forbidden Journey ride. This was very enjoyable too, and probably the onlky time we’ll ever invade a game of Quidditch. Great stuff, and it was nice to see so many visitors dressed up in the Hogwarts School uniform.
Again, I told Liesel that I wish I still had my toy Ford Anglia from when I was little: it was blue/turquoise, the same colour as the one used in the Harry Potter films. I think I gave it to Garry next door.
Our churros were long, hot and very sweet, providing enough energy to keep going for three more rides. And bo9om. Five o’clock. Suddenly it’s dark. Twilight doesn’t get much of a look-in here.
Jaws entailed a nice gentle boat ride with the odd appearance of a shark. It really needs to see a dentist, though.
We returned to Jurassic Park and again, I did the ride by myself. And yes, I did get wet: very wet. Liesel sent a picture of wet me to our grandchildren.
And finally, at our second attempt, we went on the Minions ride. The ride was good fun, but again, I think the preamble was too long. Or maybe it just felt that way because we don’t know the language and consequently missed some very funny gags in the narrative.
We dined at that famous Japanese restaurant, Hard Rock Café, sitting at a table next to one of Beyoncé’s old basses, apparently.
We arrived home much later than anticipated. Probably fatigue and lack of concentration on our part meant that we didn’t notice that the train we were on had turned round and so we ended up paying a second vist to Universal Station. Oh well, it’s all an adventure, hey!
Our organised tour of (some of) the great city of Tokyo began early. But since we’ve been waking up early anyway, it didn’t matter. The bad news was that rain was forecast for much of the day. In the end, we were extraordinarily lucky: dry and sometimes sunny, our day was very enjoyable even if, at the end, we were very tired.
We picked up the first bus close to Shinjuku Station. This is the busiest station in the known universe, with 3.6 million people coming and going each day through its 200 entrances and exits.
It’s pretty much surrounded by retail opportunities (shops) but the coffee shop wasn’t open that early, not even with that many potential customers.
We watched the people and especially their shoes. This would have been enough entertainment for the day. Everything from flat, almost ballet, shoes to thigh length boots with stiletto heels. One girl must take her shoes off a night and put them in front of aeroplanes to stop them rolling away.
And if that wasn’t enough fun: the bus seats had these cute little attachments in case we fancied a game of bus basketball en route.
Not cute enough for you? How about this dragon?
We arrived at the bus station where we met up with our tour party. I’m not saying all Americans are loud but you can pretty much guarantee that in any mixed group of travellers, the loudest speakers will be the Americans. And we had a couple. You probably heard them too.
Hato Bus is named for the white dove of peace and I have to admire the clever logo: a combination of HB and four doves.
The first stop on our tour was Tokyo Tower, where we met Hello Kitty and had a view of the city from high up. Again, Mount Fuji eluded us.
Yes, that was my first thought too: it looks like an Eiffel Tower knock-off!
The view showed buildings old and new. We learnt a lot about Japanese history, samurai warriors, the Shoguns, the emperors.
In fact, our guide, Atsushi, was very funny as well as very informative. He told us what to expect at the tea ceremony. We only had time for the fifteen minute version, not the full four hours, but it was an interesting experience. The little sweet was very sweet and the green tea, by comparison, was quite bitter. And as briefed, we told the the host that the tea was excellent, with lots of bowing.
The venue was Happo-en, a popular location for wedding ceremonies. There were at least three taking place today, and we nearly got caught up in a couple of processions. I don’t think we ruined too many wedding photos, though.
The gardens are very peaceful, and the bonsai trees are amazing. They really are little old-looking and gnarly trees, so much moreso than any we’ve seen at home.
Umbrellas are an important accessory here but would you want to take yours inside a building? Lockable umbrella racks are located outside some venues.
We visited the Chinzanso Hotel for a Japanese style lunch. The meat and vegetables were cooked on on hot plate on the table. My veggie meal was prepared behind the scenes, in the kitchen. We were given an apron to wear, and the waiters (is that the word?) tied them for us. Only the Australian lady needed it when she dribbled her ‘special sauce’.
This really was proper Japanese fare. My soup bowl was small, with tofu and vegetables. Then a bowl of rice, some salad items and more vegetables. All served with a certain amount of ceremony.
At this hotel, we encountered more weddings! And we saw a couple of young ladies wearing fabulous costumes and they were happy to pose for us, arigato.
After lunch, even I managed to stay awake for the ride to the Imperial Palace gardens. We were greeted by this Samurai warrior, who would give Stirling Castle’s Robert the Bruce a run for his money!
In another first, I purchased a hot can of coffee from a vending machine. Yes, hot, almost too hot too handle. It was alright, too sweet if anything. We’re hoping to find vending machines selling items other than drinks (or cigarettes): after all, that is what Japan’s famous for!
We were taken along the Expressway to Tokyo Port.
Unfortunately, our cruise along the Sumida river was not aborad this delightful looking vessel. Instead, we spent about 40 minutes down below and inside a normal, common or garden river cruise boat. Oh well. We lost count of the number of bridges we sailed under, with no two alike.
We walked along Nakomise Street with, apparently, 90 shops, mostly selling food items that we couldn’t identify. But we did try a couple of snacks. The deep fried, hot rice cake was surprisingly crunchy after beinmg dipped in soy sauce. The sweet bean paste filled cakes were different, but we probably didn’t need five for just the two of us.
We wandered around the Senso-ji Buddhist Temple in Asakusa but couldn’t really appreciate the peace with so many thousands of people around.
The bus took us back to Tokyo Station from where we took the train back to Shinjuku and our hotel. We were glad we’d booked the extra night here, we were ridiculously tired. We were meant to be carted about all day on buses and boats and yet somehow, we still managed to walk over eight miles. That’s OK for me, not so good for Liesel with her piriformis isssues.
We found a fast food restaurant where we had Japanese curry for supper. It was quick, it was tasty and only a five-minute walk back to our room.
We rose early with the Sun, ready for a long walk.
Poor old Liesel was in a lot of discomfort pretty much from the start, but despite this, she pushed through and we ended up with 8 miles under our belts. Just don’t tell her physio.
The view from our hotel window, as you can see, isn’t very green, so we thought a walk to the park was in order. And my goodness, how busy the streets are at 8am. Everyone’s on a mission to get to work.
On the way to the park, we saw this triptych and we briefly thought how exciting it would be to watch Japan play the All Blacks while we’re here. Sadly, we have plans for that day and in any case, as the website says, ‘all packages are sold out’.
Among other adverts, and there are thousands, we saw this one. Someone, please tell Louis Vuitton that there are millions of gorgeous Japanese girls here, you wouldn’t have to look too far to find one for your billboards.
Then we turned a corner.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Park has a long history, and is very popular both with locals and with visitors.
We saw some interesting animals, 0-, 2-, 6- and 8-legged.
Finding our way around was easy. The map we picked up included coordinates where any two or more paths met. These coordinates matched the descriptions on the posts at the relevant junctions. So easy and such a contrast to the bright, colourful maps you get at UK attractions which are useless for actual navigation purposes!
I think because we’ve been through Autumn once already, the trees appeared, to us, to be ridiculously lush with leaves. The flowers were gorgeous too.
The roses in the rose garden were blooming lovely and some, such as the New Zealand rose, were strongly aromatic.
[click here to smell the roses]
Yes, the park was very photogenic. And when it was time to wander back to the real city, it felt slightly anticlimactic.
Time for a snack.
We visited the Tokyo Municipal Government Buildings where, from the 45th floor, you can see the whole city. Well, nearly all.
I was hoping to see our hotel, and in particular, Godzilla, but unfortunately, we couldn’t see anything in that direction without paying to eat or drink something in the (expensive) restaurant.
One of the sights we want to see here is, of course, Mount Fuji. And today presented the first opportunity.
There’ll be more chances later on, of course.
On the way out, we stumbled across an exhibition about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. We thought we might come and watch, but we’ll have to decide nearer the time: it’s quite expensive.
At the top of the tower, I used one of the ubiquitous vending machines for the first time. I tried the Boss Coffee in a can.
We walked back towards our accommodation and passed this rather moving appeal for peace.
We wanted to see the Hanazono Shrine. Without realising it, we’d walked right by it yesterday, but it’s really well hidden, which is a shame for such a beautiful building.
In total contrast with this elegant structure, here is something really unusual: graffiti.
Back at the hotel, we had a rest. Liesel had a bath and I went out for another walk, to buy some apples (XXL only) and to confirm where we’re supposed to be early tomorrow morning.
In the process, I noticed how fast sunset is. I went into a shop during daylight, came out and it was twilight.
For dinner, we went to Solah Spices Tokyo where I had 16 vegetable curry and Liesel had aloo gobi. Typical Japanese fare. But, it was located conveniently close to the hotel! And, it was very nice food: very nice, very tasty.
If you’re not interested in today’s toilet-based section, please scroll down to the picture of a little boy standing on a dolphin.
I was suprised and delighted by the number of toilets we saw in the park this morning. And I saw one of the legendary Japanese toilets, which are at floor level, so you squat, do what you need to do, then try to stand up afterwards. I imagine you need strong thigh muscles, but at least there’s a rail to help. I will give it a go, sometime, should the need arise.
Most of the public conveniences I’ve used have no hand towels nor hot air dryers, so I come out shaking my hands dry. It seems most people carry hankerchiefs with them to dry their hands.
The toilet seat in our hotel room is heated. The first couple of times, I just thought the plastic seat retained the warmth of the previous buttocks really efficiently. But no: it’s heated. The control panel on the wall is not as complicated as Asa and Gideon’s X-Box controllers, but very nearly so. The first night when I had my surprise bidet moment? I now realise it was because I’d pressed the wrong button by mistake: I totally missed the large ‘flush’ button.
Today’s general observation: we thought many more people would be smoking here in Tokyo. There are a few smokers, and we’ve smelt them inside a large games arcade but on the whole, we haven’t felt the need to wear surgical masks at all.
The flight from Seattle to Beijing was delayed due to mechanical problems. This meant we had more time to pass at SeaTac and less time at Beijing, which in turn meant that we definitely wouldn’t have time to leave the airport and go sight-seeing in China for a short while. On the plane, we sat next to a kiwi lady who had lived in Beijing for several years and she told us about the smog. You can fly around the country in clear air then, suddenly, as you approach the capital, you hit a wall of brown.
The plane didn’t have plastic shutters over the windows: instead, they could be darkened to keep the light out. We were flying pretty much towards the west, but we lost the opportunity for good sunset photos.
To paraphrase a David Bowie lyric: Where the heck did Wednesday go? We left Anchorage early Tuesday and would arrive in Tokyo very early Thursday morning. The day between was a very short period of time and the worst thing is, this will totally ruin my Fitbit statistics. How can I possibly walk 10,000 steps in one day when the day in question is just a couple of hours long and spent mainly inside the body of an aeroplane? I know, I know, this is even less significant than a first-world problem.
Crossing the International Dateline in this direction has had another unanticipated side effect. Liesel and I are now ahead of UK time rather than behind. This will take some getting used to. And to add even more confusion, British Summer Time ends this coming weekend.
Entertainment on this long flight was a multimedia experience. I listened to two (out of ten) episodes of a dramatised radio version of War and Peace. I read significant sections from the two books I currently have on the go (*).
I watched Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and it convinced me that this series of movies should perhaps become extinct. A nice surprise to see the old Detectorist Toby Jones in it though.
And, best of all, at last, I watched Hidden Figures, about the ‘colored computers’ who worked for NASA in the early 1960s, really talented mathematicians and engineers that happened to be black and female at a time when segregation was the norm. (A couple more years of Trump and we’ll be back there.)
Liesel watched Solo: A Star Wars Story and some episodes of The Big Bang Theory as well as some documentaries about Japanese wildlife.
One of the most ridiculous things is that the flight from Seattle to Beijing took us right over Anchorage. So we needn’t have got up so early, after all! Flying in Russian airspace was a first: but not having window seats, we saw less of Russia than Sarah Palin does from her bathroom window in Wasilla.
The cabin was sprayed with something that didn’t smell nice. But other than that, and the duration, I think we liked Hainan Airways. The cabin crew were really nice, and my new best friend is the Chinese girl who looked after me and my vegetarian needs.
We landed at Beijing, taxied for another couple of hundred miles and we still had to disembark in the middle of the runway and take a bus back to the terminal.
We found the gate for our outbound flight to Tokyo and made our home there for a couple of hours. Coffee and a muffin were had. Of course. And I learnt that the ¥ symbol is used for Chinese yuan as well as Japanese yen. Who knew?
We suddenly realised people were preparing to board the flight and, being British, we had to join the queue. No nonsense about gold members and business class going on first, one queue for everyone, this is China. But what a shame that again Liesel and I were separated by a few rows.
I was hoping to sleep but that didn’t really work out. These cabin crew members very friendly and helpful too.
We landed in Tokyo about 00:25 Thursday, and were delighted at how warm it felt. We were dead tired, but being this warm in the middle of the night certainly lifts the spirits!
We found our hotel at the terminal, and were in bed within an hour. Even after a quick shower, the room was still too warm (!) to sleep in, until the fan kicked in.
Breaking news: in a first, I used the bidet for its intended purpose. It would have been nice if I’d been warned it was coming, but ooh, what a surprise. (Better than a hand coming out to wipe my bum, I suppose.) I’m not convinced, but it was an interesting experience.
We woke at a reasonable time, showered and checked out. The Pocket Wifi had been delivered as arranged so we should have access to wifi wherever we go in Japan. We are now both back on our UK phone numbers, albeit, if we use them, we’ll certainly pay for the privilege.
We bought tickets for the bus to Shinjuku Station. It was a very warm, bright sunny day and I think this alone made it easier for us to cope with the last tendrils of tiredness.
It was a ten minute walk from the station to out next hotel, The Gramercy. Also known as The Godzilla Hotel.
We dumped our stuff and despite the temptation to lie down and go back to sleep, we went for a walk in the local area, to acclimatise and to find something to eat.
Fewer local people than anticipated were walking around wearing surgical masks and I’ve been too polite (too scared) to take a photo of them.
Lunch for me was jalapeño cheese toast and Liesel had scrambled eggs and pancakes with a sausage and other meat products. Typical Japanese fare.
We found apples on sale and we bought one. It’s huge, we’ll share it. I hope we can find some proper apple-sized apples next time.
We walked in a big loop back to The Gracery Hotel and then realised we walked around the less interesting parts of Shinjuku.
This young lady was cleaning the windows for her clients, a pair of moray eels, we think, maybe.
We always like random sculptures and this little chap blowing his own trumpet while riding a snail caught our eye.
Riding a bicycle on the pavement seems to be accepted here, much moreso than at home. They go quite fast too, especially the old grannies. Younger, fitter people have found a brilliant way to carry two children around.
We went for a quick walk in the evening. It was dark at 5.30, very sudden and unexpectedly. Shinjuku is very busy, lots of bright lights, clubs, even English-style pubs. There are a couple of places that we’d like to visit, when we’re more fully awake and that need booking in advance.
For supper, I had a pizza and Liesel had risotto. Typical Japanese fare.
We saw Godzilla from a distance too, not so scary that way!
Looking at and taking photos of car number plates was an Alaska-based, temporary hobby. But when I saw two cars parked next to each other with mine and my sister’s birthdays, well, out came the camera, of course.
The good news is that as we’re walking round a city rather than hiking trails in bear country, and it’s warm, I was able to wear my sandals today for the first time in several weeks. So, watch out for the return of tan lines on my feet.
(*) I am currently reading:
A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in our Genes by Adam Rutherford (in which I learned that I am descended from William the Conqueror).
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (I thought I should read some Japanese literature and this is probably the very first novel, written in the early 11th century and first published in the 16th).
We were hoping to visit Hope to join Una, Phil and Kiran for the day but Jyoti didn’t sleep much and Liesel’s knee wasn’t in a fit state to drive. It was also raining hard. All weasel excuses maybe, and I feel we let Una down, especially after her request to bring along some toilet paper.
Instead, we went out for breakfast with Liesel’s parents. Gwennie’s Old Alaska Restaurant was very busy, lots of people and lots of stuffed animals. And upstairs, lots of photos from the old days.
The highlight of the day was the start of a new series of Doctor Who. There was a global simulcast, presumably to limit the number of spoilers. Jodie Whittaker is playing the thirteenth Doctor and we enjoyed this first episode. No, we didn’t watch it live, as we were out for breakfast. To make time for more adverts, BBC America didn’t bother with the opening titles nor the closing credits. So disrespectful to the production team.
There is a balcony outside the main bedroom at Klaus and Leslie’s house. It was built thirty years ago with half a dozen wooden planters attached. No plants can survive the winds that constantly bombard them. And a few days ago, one of the planters, earth and all, fell off and covered the Durango in soil. So this day, Liesel and I helped Klaus dismantle the rest of the planters before they had a chance fall onto my head.
In the process, the botttom fell out of one, missing Liesel, who was emptying the dirt by a rock wall. She did however suffere from water spray when we hosed the floor of the balcony down.
We met Una when she finished work and went for another walk along the coastal trail. Again, it was really clear and we could see Denali way over there.
I found Jupiter, another point on the Planet Walk.
On the return walk, for the first time, I felt the cold breeze and actually donned my jacket.
Una took us into the courtoom and we visited her office with the new artwork.
How she gets any work done with a view like this is beyond me!
The War Memorial in Delaney Park Strip is quite extensive, and it was very sad and moving to see that conflicts on the other side of the world are still claiming local lives.
Twitter told me that there would be an announcement on BBC 6 Music about David Bowie. It was on at half past midnight our time and I couldn’t not tune in to listen! The exciting news is that there will be two TV programmes featuring David Bowie. The first is this month: an hour from the two-hour set he performed at Glastonbury in 2000. Then, next year, another documentary in the Five Years series. David Bowie: The First Five Years includes stories from his early auditions at the BBC, 1964-1968, I guess. I’ve asked Jenny to record both for me, but anyone else in the UK, please record these for me, I’ll come round and watch them when we get back, and I’ll be your best friend forever!
Despite staying up late, we had to get up early next day as Liesel had another physio appointment. More dry needling in the butt.
I walked up to Kaladi on Jewel Lake Road where she picked me up to go to CostCo, woohoo.
The main objective here was to receive our flu jabs. Flu shots, as they say here. My resistance had finally been worn down by the combined forces of my wife and two daughters and I had my very first flu vaccination. It didn’t hurt at all. Pulling the plaster off my hairy arm later did hurt. Liesel also had a tetanus jab. Hepatitis A and B was on offer too, but I’ll need time to think about that.
In the evening, Jyoti drove us to the Beartooth for dinner. Una joined us as did Suvan and Kayla. Later that evening, Jyoti left for Indianapolis. We’ll see her again in February, in Australia.
After all the needles poked into her today, I’m glad Liesel didn’t drink too much water, she would have leaked like a cartoon watering can.
We visited the ZJ Loussac Public Library in Anchorage. Liesel was researching Japan while I enjoyed admiring glances from a young guy. Well, not me, but he did point approvingly at my portable keyboard and smartphone combo!
Later in the day, we went for a quick walk to Kincaid Park and back.
The following day, we again walked to Kincaid Park, this time all the way to the football arena, soccer pitch, where Asa was playing again. Trotting towards us on the path was a baby moose, maybe looking for his Mom, but certainly not bothered by the humans walking and cycling by. Not as worried as my GLW, anyway! (Haha the picture looks upside down to me but the video played the right way up, so good luck!)
The air was perfectly clear, we could see mountains all round. We even saw Denali, the highest peak in north America, from a distance of about 136 miles. That’s how clear the air was.
The soccer was a bit more controlled than the last time we’d seen a game here. The ball was only kicked into the surrounding bush a couple of times.
At halftime, I walked down to the Chalet and I was delighted to see some vending machines. I really fancied a coffee and the price was just $1.50. But I must have pressed the button for sweet brown sludge by mistake.
After walking back home, we had a bit of a rest before Pam and Owen picked us up. We joined Una’s Dance Party to celebrate her recent installation.
It was a fun evening, many of Una’s family were there. Her aunt came all the way from India and as far as I know, we were the only vegetarians, so we hung out together! The venue was a house belonging to a friend of Una’s and by luck (!) there was a soundproof music and dance room at the back of the house.
The band was good, playing lots of well-known songs from the 1970s and 1980s. Just about everyone danced. I danced. And the good news is, I didn’t stomp on anyone’s foot. I also confirmed that I can’t take good pictures of people dancing while I’m jogging on the spot at the same time.
The clock on the wall was a repurposed vinyl album and I thought I recognised the triangle design. Close inspection revealed that it was indeed Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon!