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Tuesday, September 15, 2009


We arrived once again at Hotel COM's lobby, retrieved our bike boxes and proceeded to disassemble our bikes in the lobby and put them back in the boxes. We ran into other cyclists while we were doing do, and they were impressed that we had spent 3 entire weeks riding in Hokkaido. Characteristic of the Japanese, we were told that our rooms wouldn't be ready till 1pm, but by the time I was finished packing the bike at 12:15pm, they had a room for us.

We had time enough to take a shower, run downtown to Sapporo for lunch, and take the Moiwa-Yama ropeway to the top of a local ski mountain to see the sunset and Sapporo lit up at night.

The initial thinking was that we'd wake up the next day, check in all our baggage, and then take the train back to Chitose (5 minutes) for brunch. But when we went to check in everything at 9:30am, we were told that our original flight to Narita had been cancelled, and we had to take an alternate flight to Haneda airport, transfer to Narita on a bus, and then board our SFO flight from Narita. That led to us getting onto a 10:30am plane.

The whole morass went surprisingly well (perhaps not surprising, since the only person I've ever heard of who was disappointed with Switzerland's efficiency was a Japanese woman) --- we were handed envelops with cash to buy our bus tickets with, our bikes were checked and again treated with white glove treatment by ANA, and the bus transfer went well.

Once in Narita, we had plenty of time to buy lunch, look around and spend the rest of our cash. Unfortunately, between Narita and San Francisco, my Canon G9 went missing. That was very sad as I had no pictures from the last week of the trip as a result!


Amy said...

Did the camera disappear from checked luggage? If you need to check valuables, here's a trick I've heard (that I've yet to get set up myself, but I will): if you carry firearms, they're required at check in to inspect them, watch you lock them, and then, upon arrival, watch you unlock them - thus permitting an actual locked bag. You only need something like a flare gun to qualify as a firearm... so get a flare gun and a good locking case with room for it and your camera gear (or whatever else you'd like to be able to check) and it should be relatively theft proof.

Piaw Na said...

Alas, it was on a carry on. Someone could have stolen it out of my backpack while I wasn't looking.

Unknown said...

Flying into Japan with firearms might turn out to be complicated. One of the nice aspects of visiting there is one needn't be concerned that folks are packing heat.

Amy said...

I wasn't even thinking about it for Japan specifically, just flying within the US. I have no idea about other countries' firearms laws; since I don't own any I've never been interested in looking.