mandag den 23. juli 2007

Tuesday Oct. 24 - Beppu

It was a two-dog night in the wagon (i.e. so cold an Eskimo would take two dogs with him to sleep), and there’s a slight drizzle as I go out for breakfast. My breakfast contains 526 calories, the menu says, but this is still better than the two balls of rice and two small smoked fish, which the Rikuo guy at gave me at the old bike rally. Also note the first military vehicles here, from The Japanese Self-defense Forces, at least 50 of them, in new Hummers and Mitsubishi-built jeeps. “Fall maneuvers”, one of the locals say. (“Remember Pearl Harbor!” I think).

You only stay in a rider house for one night, so even if I’d have liked to hang around for a few days in the area, I have to move on. Some of my excess baggage goes to Chiba by mail, because all the gifts and souvenirs I’ve acquired are taking up too much space. The girls get their gifts, and following the wishes of the Museum owner, the Nimbus upstairs gets dragged out of its hole, so pictures can be taken with me in its saddle. I leave town at three, by which time the rain has gone elsewhere.

Cross a mountain pass, the landscape turns to grasslands, a bit like seen on pictures from Scotland – though without kangaroos – and everything is just as nice as I want Japan countryside to be. An amusement park along the way has an enormous rollercoaster built in wood. Save for a few incidents it has been without problems to ride on the left side of the road – if I’m still sleepy in the morning (10 a.m.), and accidentally take of on the right hand side, the horrified facial expression on whoever is driving towards me is usually enough to make me remember where I am. At some point I also have to figure who has the right-of-way in four-road intersections.

A mere 25 kilometers of turns bring me to Beppu, a large costal town where I want to find an internet café. Have to check out my bank balance, and send four days of travel reports. Tourist Information at the train station locates a 2,000 yen hotel for me, and while the place offers wireless internet connection – which I can’t use - they direct me to an expensive hotel nearby, that has pc’s for public use. Very neat. I also crave some time of speaking proper English, hoping to find that at a bar called – well - ‘Speak-Easy’. After walking in the world’s narrowest streets in the red light district I locate the bar, all boarded up, so my English-fix will have to wait. At some time over the summer I talked with a Polish friend about meeting here – never thought I was going to miss him for his ability to speak English.

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