The Slow Boat Has Left China for Now – part 15

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFriday 7 November 2014

Awoke to find us already berthed in Nagasaki. That’s a pity, I like to see us enter the port but it can’t be helped. Another beautiful day, clear, dry and about 18C. Quick breakfast, oatmeal, not knowing when I’m going to eat again.

We go off the ship and join another endless bloody queue! I am so sick of shuffling, shuffling along in 200m queues. We finally get into the Japanese Immigration hall, then have our fingerprints scanned on small electronic imaging pads, left and right index fingers. Huh?

Once we reach the yellow line, it’s quickly forward to very friendly immigration girls, big smiles, “Good Morning”, English speaking, very quick. Another bag inspection after more queuing, and finally out to the buses. I took the easy tour, no long walking, few steps to climb, only three hours, US$79.

Nagasaki pano1The bus guide introduced himself as She Ma Da, Shimada. Another serial talker! I don’t want to know about your wife and kid, Shimada-san, tell me what we’re seeing out the windows. I don’t want to know about your wife’s failings and what a lazy son you have. Tell us what we’re seeing!

Up the twisting drive to the Mount Inasa lookout but it wasn’t bloody worth it. View very restricted by trees, we only stayed 5 mins, I didn’t bother taking photos.

Back down to the Peace Park. Big statue over water pools. Schoolkids in coloured caps and girls in sailor suits. Charming. Beautiful sunny morning, about 20C.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI finally managed to post my letter, in the souvenir shop. Stamps cost US$1 to Joondalup. The girl behind the counter put them on, then handed me the letter. I asked another girl where to post it and she took my letter, ran outside and around the corner, posted it for me and ran back, smiling. That’s Japanese politeness for you. Arigato Gozaiimas! It’ll be interesting to see what happens. The letter was a fine for having an expired ACROD sticker. I admit it, but the new one was literally in the mail. It’s a $70 fine and I asked for discretion – the disability existed last year, it still exists now as I’ve got the doctor’s letter. The date is a technicality. It was just past the 6 November due date. I wonder what they’ll think getting a letter from Nagasaki.

Bus through the streets, interesting, but no stops. Back to the port bus parking area. That’s it for the tour. I walked slowly along Ourakaigan Dori, the waterfront street for about 0,5Km then back. No Japanese money, no way to buy any food, This is crap.

Nagasaki pano2

That’s our ship

However, I should add that Nagasaki is a very nice small city of about 500,000 built around this natural harbour and surrounded by quite steep hills. The streets wind their way around, full of nice houses packed together and built up the slopes. Building a house here would cost a fortune. As Shimada-san said, he rents an apartment and will never be able to afford a house, nor his son. That’s their life.

All in all, this is a very nice place. A good tram system runs all around the flat areas and the CBD, with clear instructions in English on how to use it.

And this was the site of the second atom bomb blast in 1945. You’d never know now, but they have their memorial parks. I did wonder if there’s any residual radiation? I guess not.

I went back on board about 1230pm, downloaded my photos and video to the computer, then slept! Good sleep until 2pm WST, 3pm Japan time. Lunch on ship, good talk with US NY couple. They get taxed on everything, even retirement income.

Went to deck 6 to return passport copy, asked about cost to see doctor — they can’t tell me. Huh? Surgery is only open 4.30 – 6.30pm. This is bulldust. Looked for wi-fi, still no go!! Lots of points but I can’t connect to any of them. (For reference, once I reached Beijing and now here in Hanoi, no trouble connecting. So it’s not my computer that’s the problem.)

Went to deck 5 for coffee, met Lindsay Delahaunty and Peter Hudson, had some beers and a good chat. Peter is a Mercedes man, full of good advice. Turns out he had prostate cancer twice and is on those special pills that I’m on. Very interesting.

Then at 6pm Japan time (5pm my time) we’re moving and Jan and I went up on deck 15 and 16. The ship’s horn was sounding, loudly! Continuously loudly, threshold of pain. Impossible to speak. It just went on and on for more than 5 mins, then slowly faded down.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a beautiful departure, with an orange full moon rising over the hills, and shining cables on the suspension bridge. Cool wind but not cold, magic. Much video, many photos.

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This departure was another unforgettable experience. Amazing.

Dinner was a bag of popcorn, a slice of seafood pizza, and a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and onion. And chips with vinegar. A crap movie was showing about American football with Kevin Costner. Bottle of Chilean Chardonnay Puerto Viejo US$24 + 15%. Tired at 2030 my time, 2130 Japan time. Bed.

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