Nimotsu-less in Tokyo

Asia ~ Japan ~ Osaka & Tokyo

And once again I’ve made it back to Japan.  Although not without a few tiny weeny little incidents.  These last couple of months have been so hectic that planning for this trip was left to the very last minute – literally.  I finalised accommodation details for my first couple of nights only 1 night before I left!  Problems for the trip began when, two days before my flight, I received a phone call from Jetstar.  “Eeek”, I though, “at least I have travel insurance”…  Turns out they had canceled my first part of my flight – the Melbourne to Sydney section – and so had booked me on an earlier flight.  As I’m not known for my awareness early morning, I begged them to put me on a later flight, which they agreed to.  Little did I know…

Wednesday morning saw dad and I at Tullamarine Airport awaiting my (first) flight.  When they began announcing that there were technical faults, I knew straight away I was to miss my connecting flight in Sydney to Japan.  Several hours later I finally got on a (new) plane, getting into Sydney waaay too late for my connection.  Qantas (it was a Qantas domestic flight) put me up at an airport hotel, which was fine by me, meant I got another nights sleep…  Bags hadn’t arrived yet, as they didn’t want to delay our flight any longer (so they said), they would come in on the 2pm flight we were told.  So we toddled off to the airport hotel with just our carry on bags.

Needless to say, the bags didn’t arrive that night.  When I went to check in the next day, my bags still hadn’t arrived, so I checked in, then went to the Qantas counter to beg for some vouchers to get essentials.  The guy at the counter asked if I’d checked the ‘baggage room’ – not one person had mentioned this in the numerous times I was on the phone the night before.  So off I went to the ‘baggage room’, where you have to knock on a blank wall three times, wait three minutes and knock two more times to be allowed entrance…  Wasn’t expecting to find anything – after all, I had been chasing the bag for nearly 24 hours, and assumed it hadn’t left Melbourne yet – however, sitting right on top was my familiar backpack.  “It’s mine!” I shouted with joy to the staff.  As I had already checked in, they promised to get it on my flight for me.

On the way to the boarding gate, I grabbed some deoderant and earplugs, because I had forgotten to grab some out of my backpack.  Although I had spent half the night thinking about what clothing I would buy at the airport, I bought none, as my bag had been found, or so I thought.  How wrong I was.  Flight was uneventful, I had 3 seats to myself, so I got a decent rest.  Arrival in Japan bought an unpleasant surprise – my backpack wasn’t on the flight.  About then is when I went into panick mode.  No change of underwear?   No pajamas?  I’m in Japan, where the average size is toothpick.  Eeek!

Much of the next couple of days were spent attempting to find clothing – although I did ok with some tops (surprisingly!) underwear and skirts eluded me.  In any case, I was sure that my bag was going to arrive “tomorrow”, and didn’t want to over-buy, just in case.  In Australia, mum was spending almost every waking moment attempting to locate my bags, screaming her head off at incompetent Qantas staff.  Amongst trying to find clothing, I have also spent a good amount of time trying to buy a mobile phone in Tokyo, a near impossible task.

Crazy Shibuya at night

Crazy Shibuya at night

Never fear, my luggage did arrive, but not without dramas.  On my fourth day in Japan, I headed off to Hachijo jima, a hippy island an hour south of Tokyo.  After being assured by Qantas staff in Australia that my bag would be at Haneda airport, I spent an hour and a half trying to communicate with staff there, only to find the bag hadnt even left Australia yet.  But I was over it, I was heading to a tropical island…


So I told a little fib…

Oceania ~ Australia ~ Toomuc Valley

Surprise! I had told my family that I was arriving home on the 2nd of November, so you can just imagine my mum and Laura’s shock when I wandered in on the 30th of October. I found my way home from Melbourne airport (bus, train and taxi) all by my little self, and managed to surprise almost everyone. Was definitely worth it when I received the screams of shock. So this is the last blog, hope everyone has enjoyed reading them, I’ve certainly enjoyed the travelling required to write them! Keep in touch – at this stage the next travels is planned for November next year, if anyone’s interested in seeing Japan, China and Thailand, let me know!

Arriving in Melbourne

Arriving in Melbourne

Luv yas all,
xoxo BOBBI!!!

Chomping on churros

Europe ~ Spain ~ Girona, Barcelona & Madrid

Getting here turned out to be harder than we thought… Cast your minds back to a week ago, when poor, exhausted Bobbi and Tash stumbled out of bed to catch the 4am bus to the airport. What really happened is we got to the bus station at 4.05am, consequently missing the bus. The next bus didn’t leave until 5.30am which meant we would have missed out flight. As there were no other busses or trains to the airport, we were just about to catch a taxi (would have been about $280 AUD) when… a Swedish girl rocked up to the bus station with her parents, to find out she’d missed the bus also. So, in return for the money we would have paid the bus driver, they offered us a ride to the airport, and we all caught our respective flights. Looked bleak for a moment there though…

Arrival in Spain went really well, considering how much trouble we had just getting to the airport in Sweden. We spent our first two days in Girona, a small town about an hour and a half north of Barcelona. We were lucky enough to find a bed at the first place we looked – a pension run by an motherly Spanish woman. A pension is basically a flat that the owner has opened up to guests – for a double room (with bathroom, yey yey yey) it turned out cheaper than a hostel would have been. We spent our first day seeing the sights of Girona (cathedrals, river, Arab baths) and our second day bathing in the beautiful Costa Brava – the Spanish sea. We lathered ourselves in sunscreen and ‘baked’ away for 5 minutes – and got sunburnt in the weirdest spots. I got burnt in two places on the small of my back, whilst Tash has bright red ankles.

Standing in the entrance to our pension in Girona

Standing in the entrance to our pension in Girona

We rocked up to Barcelona with the intention of buying a ticket on the night bus to Madrid. Which we did. Kinda. Having brought the ticket, we spent the rest of the day wandering about, idly looking at hostels for when we returned to Barcelona later in the week. It wasn’t till about 8pm (our bus left at 11.30pm) that we looked at the tickets and realised the bus left the following night. Whoops. Rushed down to the station to attempt to change the tickets, but quickly realised there was no hope, so concentrated our efforts on finding somewhere to stay. Did I mention that Barcelona was in the middle of a fiesta (festival)? Luckily, we once again found a bed at the first place we looked, so it wasn’t all bad. We were able to spend the second day seeing the sights of Barcelona (mainly Gaudi’s cathedral – La Sagrada Familia and some of his other buildings), wandering along the main street of Barcelona and watching the going-ons of the festival.

We spent the better part of 3 days visiting our cousin, Katy, in Madrid. She’s over here improving her Spanish (not really sure how, it seems pretty fluent to our ears!) and is really living it up the Spanish way. She took us around town, showing us some of her favourite haunts. One night was spent in a hookah bar, where we used a giant pipe to smoke flavoured (in our case, apple) tobacco. Very laid back, cool atmosphere. Katy also took us to the big park in Madrid, where, on a Sunday, everyone congregates to dance, fire twirl and play bongo drums. Once again, fantastic atmosphere, everyone really gets into it. We went to the Sunday market (so many people, luckily our experiences in Asia taught us how to act in a crowd) and tried chocolate churros. Yum – you’re served a big plate of churros (long, Spanish donutty things) and a mug of thick hot chocolate, used to dip your churros in. Mmm.

Katy, Tash & I trying hookah

Katy, Tash & I trying hookah

We spent last night on a bus from Madrid to Barcelona, arriving here in Barcelona at 8am. Tonight we are camping out at the airport before our 6.30am flight to Italy. Traveling is fun, but I sure do appreciate a bed!!!
Take care peoples, let me know how you’re going,
luv bobs

Saying G’bye to Edinburgh

Europe ~ United Kingdom ~ Scotland ~ Edinburgh

Edinburgh is gearing up for festival season, its amazing. I’ve slowly got used to the idea that I’m living in a tourist town, but now we are in the middle of Edinburgh’s biggest festival – or rather a collection of big festivals. The Fringe Festival, the Military Tatto, the International Festival, the Film Festival, the Literary Festival and a few others are running concurrently, meaning that there are performers and big names all over town. The Royal Mile is a delight to see, clowns and ‘robot people’ everywhere. Of course, its also great watching other tourists getting lost and confused – knowing our way around the city now we’re now able to laugh and point them in the right direction. Bagpipes are everywhere and every now and again you wander past a Highland’s band. On Sunday there was a parade on the High Street to celebrate the beginning of the Fringe Festival, lots of marching bands (mainly military ones, from the Military Tattoo) and floats. So many people lined the streets to watch, I haven’t seen so many people in Edinburgh (except, perhaps, when the protests were happening, but then it was almost all riot police).

Highland Band

Highland Band

One of the boys in our room had a nasty shock last night. Poor guy had just moved into our room, drank too much and passed out on his bed. At 3am the fire alarm went off and the hostel had to be evacuated. Tash and I jumped up and threw on our shoes, then attempted to get Nuffy up. He wasn’t having any of it, we finally rolled him onto the floor (off the top bunk, OUCH), where he continued to snore away. Whilst we were trying to slap him awake, some of the boys came in and just dragged him down the stairs, he woke up about 3 flights down. Luckily it wasn’t a real fire – just someone smoking in the wrong place. It’s the third fire alarm since I’ve been here, they don’t have false alarms, if it goes off the whole building is evacuated, and the fire brigade is automatically called. Interestingly, there is a hostel on the floor below us, and they never evacuate (even though they can clearly hear the alarms). I guess they figure that its just an activity our hostel enjoys, not one for them to join in to. There’s gunna be problems the day it is a real fire…

Apart from dealing with the hoards of people, not much else is new. We went and saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the other day, very fun. Of course had to get the compulsory hoard of candy before the movie, needless to say the four of us finished the GIGANTIC popcorn before the movie even started. Many of the people at the hostel are starting to move on now, so alot of our original friends are gone. Consequently, the hostel is a lot quieter, people reflecting what they are going to do, and people planning their next leg of their trips. It’s sad to see everyone go, but great to hear their plans and see another persons opinions about the MUST-GO places.

Elysha, gathering her candy

Elysha, gathering her candy

I’m off to Ireland tomorrow, so incredibly excited. I plan on staying in a castle, visiting the various breweries, going to see Giants Causeway and a heap of other things… Thanks to all for the help with all the advice on places to see, sorry to those who requested leprechauns, not sure I’ll be able to fit them in my luggage, but I’ll keep an eye out!

Hugs and Kisses, Bobbi

Being famous in Xi’an

Asia ~ China ~ Xi’an

Well well well, hasnt been long since my last blog, but so much has been happening that I thought I should write it all down… We managed to catch our 14 hour train trip from Beijing to Xi’an, home of the Terricotta Army. Train trip was good, we were in a cabin with an older Chinese couple who went to bed as soon as we got onto the train (about the same time that Tash went to bed!). I stayed awake for a bit longer, chatting to a Mongolian guy who was travelling to Xi’an to go for a job interview. He had some really interesting views on life. At one stage, while waiting to go to the toilet another woman starting chatting to me, telling me all the good places to go to in Xi’an. Many many other people were happy to talk to me on the train, unfortunatley they didn’t speak English. However, when trying to communicate this, they obviously didn’t care and continued to chatter away to me in Mandarin!!!

On arriving in Xi’an, a group from the hostel that we’re staying at met us at the station. With them was another woman from our train who was to stay at the same hostel, turns out she was at the same hostel in Beijing with us! We all hopped on the local bus with our HUGE backpacks on, quite an effort, and ended up at the Bell Tower Hostel. Ended up sharing a room with Tracey, the girl from the train, really nice girl from Wales. Getting ready to go out for the day, we stepped out onto the street to find some food. Straight away a guy jumped in front of me and started snapping photos of me (no doubt because of my hair!), the first photo he took must have looked a treat, me completely shocked, with little sleep from the night before and just in general absolutley buggered!

We spent the day with Tracey, going to the Terracotta Army, an amazing place! About 30 years ago, a farmer who was digging a well found some statues buried in the ground. Come feel it was the greatest archeoligical find of the 20th century. 3 Large pits of terricotta statues have been uncovered, it is thought that there could be more, not yet discovered. The biggest pit is thought to contain over 6000 peices, including soldiers, horses, carts and weapons. They are believed to have been built over 2000 years ago, although there is some dispute over that. Really interesting site though.

That night we went out to a bar with Tracey. Turns out that whilst on the train, she met a group of guys and gals from Xi’an, who treated her as their guest all night, taking her to dinner and wining and dining her. One of the guys, Stanley, owns a bar in Xi’an, and he invited us out, so out we went! Upon arrival he started pouring our drinks, and didnt stop! The bar was awesome, made from old railway carriages, really interesting paintings and murials on the walls (he’s an artist as well, it turns out). After a couple of drinks at his place, he took us to another couple of bars, all the bartenders were shouting us too. Last stop was the Music Man, where we staying to the wee hours. Night was really good, only problem was that only Stanley and another girl, Jojo could speak English, so we were forever translating between them. And then we discovered that one of the other guys had been to Japan for 6 years, so I was able to chatter away to him in Japanese, it was great! We ended up getting back to the hostel at about 3am, late, but well and truly before the other people in our dorm room!!!

This morning we were all buggered (one of the other girls didnt get back until 7am!), so we slept in. At about 10.30, one of the girls that works at the hostel came barging in, saying “Bobbi, I have a surprise for you!”. Bit of a shock, we all sat up in bed, as I was given the morning newspaper with my photo in it! Turns out that the crappy photo that the guy took the other day when we had just arrived was in the paper! We spent today touring the markets and every second stall had the newspaper, so I had people shoving it in my face and pointing to it all day!! Who knew, I don’t have to earn millions to become famous, I just have to have purple put through my hair!!!


Me with my purple hair, scary!!!

Me with my purple hair, scary!!!