So, I know it's been a bit of time since I last wrote, and for this I am sorry. Especially since I had a 2 week vacation during which Rachel and Josh visited, and we did many awesome things. So there's lots to write about! :-)
So, Shikoku is up there as being one of the most amazing and amazingly beautiful places I have ever been, even if getting there wasn't so easy.
As I said last time, Rachel and Josh's flight was delayed by 6 hours (during which they sat in the airplane on the runway). They ended up having to spend the night in Tokyo, and we met up at the Nagoya airport the next morning for our flight. They got there JUST IN TIME to make the flight.
We flew to Tokushima, and when we got there, they informed us that the weather was bad so we were going to have to fly around for a little while waiting for it to get better.
We did this for about an hour before finally turning around and heading back to Nagoya.
Poor Rachel and Josh.
All of the rest of the flights to Tokushima that day were canceled, so we got our refund and headed to the Nagoya station. From there, we took a Shinkansen to Kobe where we quickly transferred onto a bus which took us all the way to Tokushima.
While it was long and we (especially Rachel and Josh) were tired, the upside of this is that we got to see the Naruto Whirlpools, which are sometimes thought of as one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, from this bus window. And, because it was SO STORMY and it just so happened to be the high tide, they were at their best. And let me tell you, it was a sight to see. They were absolutely AMAZING! I am SO glad that we got to see them. Unfortunately, also due of the ridiculousness of the storm, we weren't really able to get any good pictures. :-( Believe me when I say they are a sight to behold.
Pretty much all of the pictures take from the window looked something like this. Josh might have a better one - I'll post it later if so.
We finally arrived in Tokushima, surrounded by a thick shroud of fog and rain, at around 7:50 PM, and the place from which we had rented the car closed at 8. So, we hopped in a cab and called them to let them know we were on our way.
Our cab driver was NOT your typical nice, subdued Japanese man. He kept literally SCREAMING at us these things that we did NOT understand, and when we acted confused, he would just scream them LOUDER (even though we were already covering our ears in pain). He then proceeded to pull into this abandoned back alley, turn of the meter, and scream at us to get out of the car (in Japanese that I actually did understand). Needless to say, we were frightened.
Luckily, I have some minimal Japanese now, and I was able to explain to him that we were trying to rent a car and that we were obviously in the wrong place since the scary back alley was not a car dealership. I called the car dealership and stuck the phone in his face and told him to talk. He got directions, and we eventually made it to rent our car.
And FINALLY our luck started to change. They stayed open a little late for us, and we were thus able to rent the car. We had seen an Indian restaurant on our way in, so we decided to go see if they had some vegan food. They did, and it was DELICIOUS!
Rachel and Josh FINALLY settled in the restaurant!
We ate dahl and eggplant and vegetable curry and samosas, and it was DELICIOUS! I do love me some Indian food! :-)
From the restaurant, I called the hostel at which we were supposed to be staying that night. It was about a two hour drive away, and they informed us that they are located on an intense mountain and that, with the storm (which, admittedly, was raging), there was no way we would be able to get there. We were actually slightly relieved, as it was about a 2 hour drive from where we were, and Josh did NOT want his first time driving on the left side of the road to be in that horrendous weather. So I called a hostel in Tokushima and luckily, they had space!
us FINALLY relaxing in the hostel
I think we all slept as if we had never slept before (well, I know I did, and Rachel and Josh MUST have been far more exhausted than I was). The next morning we bought early our train tickets for the trip to Kyoto a few days later and then were on our way.
And since this is already so long (who would have thought that I could write so much about just GETTING somewhere) and since I have a festival to attend, Shikoku awesomeness will be for next time. That will give me time to go through my pictures, too! Yay! I've got some really awesome ones, so definitely be looking forward to that! :-)