Our plan had been to get up & eat the breakfast we ordered from the ryokan & then head across the street to see the temple & memorial, but either there was a misunderstanding about breakfast, or we slept too late, because it never arrived. We wandered down to the place we had dinner the night before & got a $5 breakfast that was pretty good. At least it included a good cup of coffee, so that was good.
We walked back to the ryokan to change our clothes, as we had mistaken the temperature & dressed too warmly. Then Susie suggested that we venture out further & leave the temple for another day. I was disappointed, but I agreed.
We hailed a taxi to take us to an area that had a bit more life, & it wasn’t far actually. We did a little – very little – shopping. Things are UNBELIEVABLY expensive here. These people must have serious incomes around here. I’m so glad I did all my shopping in China. Also, the clothing shopping here is just downright demoralizing. I have serious body image issues after spending so much time in Asia. Anyway, with prices what they are, I’ll just do a lot of sightseeing & picture-taking here.
We finally found an ATM for me to get some cash. The only place to do so is at the post office, which is on the 7th floor of a department store. In China I could pull money out at any Bank of China ATM, which I found even in the most remote cities we visited.
I felt like we did a lot of nonproductive walking today. I couldn’t afford anything in the shopping center, & I didn’t see a single temple or shrine or historical site. Susie doesn’t eat sushi. We went down an alley to try & find a place for me to get sushi, & I ended up at a place that sat on the river. Then, when I got inside I found out that to sit outside I could only order from a set (& very expensive) menu. Susie didn’t eat anything, & there were no drinks on the menu she wanted. I felt uncomfortable eating while she just sat there in watched, but I tried to just enjoy the weather, the view, & the food. I was mostly successful. I can say that at this point, Little Rock sushi is measuring up just fine!
After eating we walked all the way back to our ryokan from town. It was a few miles I suppose, but it didn’t seem too bad. We stopped by the grocery store, & I bought some things for breakfast & for lunch. Susie said that she had decided she would let me go to the temple & memorial center on my own in the morning. We came back to the ryokan, & I sat down outside for a cigarette & then went on a walkabout for a few minutes. I came back & suggested to Susie that we take a day to do our own thing tomorrow.
American cell phones don’t work here, & this ryokan has no internet access, & I can’t get any info as to where to find any either. In China I had someone helping me negotiate the area & the culture. Here I’m just wandering blind. Between the isolation I feel in this strange city, & the isolation I feel from friends & family with no telephone or internet access, I am suddenly very homesick. I’m ready to be home.
Maybe after I spend some time finding my own way around tomorrow & seeing some things I want to see I will feel a little better. I think I will make finding net access &/or a telephone card part of the equation. That would certainly help.