It’s midnight, & I’m so wired I can hardly think about sleep.
This morning Susie & I slept in a little, & when we got up it was pouring rain. We had decided to use our last day to the fullest, but the downpour & enjoying our instant cup of coffee while watching the view of the rain falling on the pagoda outside did slow us down a little.
Finally we headed out & had our easy to reach $5 breakfast down the road. Fortified by another cup of coffee & breakfast, we headed out to tackle the city with our newfound knowledge of the city bus system.
We got on the right bus & went straight to Kinkakuji temple, the site of the golden pavilion, just in time for the bottom to fall out. Being experienced travelers by now,we just pulled out our ever-present umbrellas & enjoyed the lush green of the maples and the moss. The pavilion itself sits on, or rather over, a large pond. The top two floors are coated, inside & out, in gold leaf. Oddly enough, they won’t let you go inside. The surroundings of the temple are richest shades of emerald, & jade, & forest greens. It reminded me of my grandmother… “look at all the beautiful shades of green.”
We took turns sharing umbrellas with strangers & taking each other’s pictures with our cameras. Alas, somehow I didn’t get a picture of myself there.
We puttered around in the souvenir shop during the worst of the downpour, & on the way out I stopped for some green tea & vanilla swirled ice cream. Yum.
Then back on the bus. I’m an old pro now.
We headed down to a little pedestrian shopping district, but many places were closed. I didn’t mind though. The place was deserted compared to Taramachi shopping district, so I was able to meander & look without feeling like I was going to get run over. You have to watch out for the bike riders though. They can clean you out if you aren’t watching for them. I looked up once & saw a little boy, maybe five or six, completely covered by a rain slicker peddling with his goulashes on this tiny little bike down the mall. He hardly looked old enough to know how to ride a bike, but he was smiling ear to ear, obviously proud of himself, as he zigzagged across the entire width of the mall, blissfully unaware that at one point he nearly caused a 3 bicycle pile up & sent a couple of adults careening toward some shop windows.
I found a place that prepared sushi at the counter & had 8 nice pieces of sushi for about $6.30. Unfortunately there are few places to sit, & I don’t see Japanese people eating on the go. Oh well, I’m a tourist, & I don’t know any better. So I sat down on the wall of the courtyard children’s playground in the center & had myself a little sushi feast. I ate octopus today & found it quite tasty & not at all boingy liked I’d feared. The salmon was especially excellent. I skipped the clam, as it has the consistency of chewing an uncooked tongue.
Then I heard a high-pitched giggle & looked over as bicycle boy was sliding down the slide in the rain into a puddle at the bottom. He reminded me of my nephews so much – Daniel especially. Just playing by himself, entirely unselfconsciously giggling & stomping & singing & entertaining himself while his grandmother looked on. I took some pictures of him twirling his umbrella & stomping & washing his hands in the puddles. He finally noticed me, & I showed him his picture on my camera. He looked unimpressed & went back to his puddle.
We wandered around for a while down the street outside the mall & found nothing of particular interest. We hopped a bus & headed back into town. There were three women, in their late 60’s I would guess, all dressed to the nine’s in their immaculate & very expensive kimonos, complete with tied obis and covered with an outer yukata. Their stockinged feet in wooden clogs & covered with plastic covers to protect them from the rain. Their hair styles were works of art. Many women, including young women, dress in traditional elaborate kimonos for a nice evening out. I could hardly stop looking at this group of friends, they were so striking.
It was still early yet, so we looked for a place to have a quick drink & a sit. I took us over to where I’d found the Irish pub the night before, & we explored the area. Found a store with antique silk fabric. Wow, that was neat. Unobtainable, but really neat. I bought a couple of postcards there.
After having exhausted our options on that street we headed back to the Irish pub. It was, at least, a sure thing & we were ready to take a load off. A different person greeted us from behind the bar, & the place had a particularly fun & friendly atmosphere this evening. We ended up meeting some people from Yorkshire & Canada & chatted them up. Had a few American drinks & a lamb pita that was good. We checked our emails & sent some home. It was uncomplicated & familiar, & to be honest, we’re both looking for familiar.
Susie & I both admitted to each other that our hearts are already back at home, & we aren’t fighting it anymore. I miss my kids, & Susie’s are coming into town the day after she gets home. Plus, we were a real sight tonight. Both of us primping & plucking & powdering like we were getting ready for a first date. We’re ready to see our guys.
Packing had its usual challenges. Susie has a routine every time we’re leaving a city. She becomes convinced that there was something she bought that she has lost. She unpacks everything she has in all her bags & spreads it around her like some kind of untidy nest. She frets & mutters to herself all the way through it. I used to try & help her find the missing item; then I started encouraging her that it would turn up. I have since learned that it is part of a ritual I do not understand, & I just assume I am unnecessary to the ongoing discourse.
Now there is nothing left to do but to go to sleep, & as impossible as that seems, I guess I will try it.