RTW 2007 installment #19 (Dec 18-Dec 24)

Tuesday 18th December/Wednesday 19th December

I’m writing these two days together because we lost a day with the flight from Vancouver to Tokyo.

So we headed out after our forth day in a row of McDonald’s breakfast and caught a taxi to the airport. We were there pretty early, and our flight left more than an hour late, but the service with Air Canada, since we were travelling with a baby, was pretty good. They checked our passports before boarding began, and we were the first on the plane.

Even though we weren’t right at the front of the plane and didn’t have a bassinet for Doyle, it certainly wasn’t as bad as United. The flight itself was a bit more than ten hours, and Doyle slept for the majority of it because he was still on Vancouver time. He did do a bit of walking around the plane, though. On the flight I managed to get through Michael Moore’s “Sicko,” a documentary about Michael Moore, some student short films (Upsidedown Girl was good) and some sitcom episodes.

Whilst on the plane I also worked out with Perth’s current daylight savings, Tokyo is in the same time zone. That’ll make it easier for us to adjust when we get home.

The service through customs at the Tokyo Narita airport when travelling with a baby is pretty good, too, because they send you to a special queue. I also found a lot of locals to be very helpful, which was great.

We found our hotel pretty easy after taking the Narita Express to Tokyo and the subway to Ginza, though we did have a local stop and ask if we needed help. We didn’t really, but she was friendly so we let her help.

By the time we got to our hotel, my right knee – or more particularly, the part where I have an extra bone growing out the side of my leg – was really hurting a lot. I’m beginning to wonder if it has to do with my skiing accident, and if I ought to have had my knee x-rayed as well when I was there. I’m hoping it’ll settle down enough so I won’t have to worry about it until we get home to Australia.

The hotel room, although small, is probably big by Japan standards. And the room looks quite Japanese style, so it was nice to be welcomed in to that. We even have one of those fancy, technologically advanced toilets than warms the seat and has an in-built bidet.

My initial impression of Tokyo is that I love it. Although it might’ve been handy to have learnt Japanese characters and the language before coming here, there is enough Romanised words to get by.

Thursday 20th December

As you can probably guess with the extent of Doyle’s plane sleeping, he thought it was time to wake up for the day at 12:30am. Jeremy was an absolute champion, looking after him while I slept until Doyle was finally ready to go back to sleep at 4am.

We luckily still had a couple of bananas left over from Vancouver, so that’s what we ate for breakfast. It meant that we didn’t have to leave the hotel until a little later during the day.

When we did leave, though, almost nothing was open. This made it really easy to notice how clean Tokyo is. I’ll go out on a limb and say I think Tokyo is, despite its massive population, probably the cleanest city in the world. It was still before 9am, and the shops didn’t open until at least 10am. So we took the train to Akihabara and wandered around to a Mister Donut for a donut snack (because it was cold and I wanted to go inside somewhere warm, and there wasn’t much open), then went to a couple convenience stores before the rest of the shops opened.

I would describe Akihabara as a shopping district for geeks. Which is fantastic, because Jeremy and I are both big geeks. You can probably guess that we managed to spend most of the day there, just looking around a lot of shops. The first thing I bought was a USB car power adaptor, so I can plug any USB device into the car and power it. I mainly bought it to power my iPod in the car when we use it to transmit to our car radio to listen to songs. This will come in really handy if we ever take long road trips.

My favourite shops were all the ones that sold anime toys. I picked up a couple of figurines from a couple different stores. One was a kind of “lucky dip” Final Fantasy super-deformed character, which means it’s a “small and cute” version of the proper anime. I don’t know how I managed it, but I lucky dipped my way to get the character I wanted most, which was Vaan from Final Fantasy XII, my current Final Fantasy favourite. The other figurine I got was Major from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. I’d wanted to get an action figure of her when we were in Singapore but couldn’t find one. I eventually found one after I bought the miniature figure, but considering it cost about AU$45, I’m glad I didn’t wait. The miniature one was less than AU$3.

Lunch involved going to the Japanese fast food burger joint, Mos Burger, which we recalled enjoying from our trip to Singapore. I had a teriyaki chicken burger, whilst Doyle had a rice burger (and enjoyed so much – he ate most of it! He wasn’t too keen on the seaweed part, though).

I also picked up an original Nintendo-like USB game controller that I can hopefully get to work with our Linux box, xoanon, back home, which will make it a lot easier for me to play the emulated video games Jeremy installed for me to convince me I didn’t need to have my NES to play them. Jeremy, however, was unable to find a cheap enough bluetooth headset like he wanted.

We had somehow managed to spend 10,000 yen before the day was over (including yesterday’s train spending), but luckily that only equates to about AU$100. I just keep moving the decimal place over to estimate how much we’re spending on things.

Doyle had somehow managed to take off his last pair of mittens and drop them without our noticing. We didn’t realise until Jeremy found one of them on the ground. It’s a good thing it’s not as cold in Tokyo as it was in the other places we’ve been on this trip, so he should be able to get by without them over the next three days, since that’s all we have left of our trip now.

Our time in Akihabara made me want to come back to Tokyo for a stand-alone trip with an empty suitcase. There’s heaps of things that would be awesome to have but I don’t want to fill the suitcases up too much. Well, we don’t have much room left anyway.

So we got back to Ginza around 5pm or so to have a bit of a look around the shopping places there, such as the Sony Showroom building where a lady gave Doyle a Christmas tree shaped balloon, and also find the Citibank. Jeremy had tried four ATMs in Akihabara and none would work, so given the similar circumstances in Brazil, we figured Citibank was our best choice. It worked, of course.

Then we had dinner at a Japanese restaurant. I had a noodle curry, which the lady was worried I would find too hot. I didn’t think it was particularly hot at all; actually it was quite nice. Doyle pretty much fell asleep for the night around 6pm, so he was asleep in his stroller when we had dinner.

When we left the restaurant and headed out, we thought he was waking up, so we decided to head back to the hotel. He didn’t wake up then, however. He waited a while before occasionally stirring, and I decided to just get him out of the stroller and change his nappy. I was going to give him some solid dinner but the state he was in meant it was just easier to give him milk. He went back to sleep there, so I just moved him to his bed. We ourselves went to sleep probably around 9:30pm.

Friday 21st December

Doyle is slowly adjusting to the time difference. Today he woke up around 3:30am for the day. Jeremy championed himself again to look after him until I decided to get up around 5am.

Today was quite possibly the best day of our whole holiday, which we all enjoyed, yes including Doyle! It was also the day I’d been looking forward to most, but wasn’t 100% sure if we’d be going through with it, given the expense we didn’t spend elsewhere.

We took the subway and then the train out east and arrived at the Tokyo Disney Resort around 9am – perfect timing, as that’s when the park opened. Transport there cost us less than AU$4! I was very impressed. Actually I’ve been impressed in general with the public transport system here. Anyway, it was just a magical, magical day. And there was so much that Doyle could do that I wasn’t really disappointed that I couldn’t go on the bigger rides. I was more excited about the fact Doyle was enjoying himself.

So we started out thinking there was so much to do and didn’t know where to start. We met Captain Hook (after many people pushed in front of us) and went to a few shops before wandering into Tomorrowland and watching the MicroAdventure show. There was only one row for English translations, and we didn’t get into the theatre in time to get into the row, but a girl in front of me let me use her headset. Jeremy, unfortunately, went without. But that’s okay, because I got to experience not being able to understand anything else throughout the rest of the day.

From Tomorrowland we headed over to Adventureland, where Doyle was allowed on every single attraction. We first took the Jungle Cruise, then went into the Tiki Room – which was much cooler than I remembered it at Disneyland Anaheim (maybe because it was in Japanese), and was probably Doyle’s favourite attraction at the whole park, because he danced along to the music and looked very interested at all the talking bits. Then we went into the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. Because Doyle then needed a nappy change, we boarded the Western River Railroad, but soon realised it didn’t go around the whole park and stop at different stops like in Anaheim, so we had to walk to Toon Town instead.

On the way to Toon Town, we got to catch Lilo & Stitch’s Aloha Christmas Parade. It was short but fun. We didn’t do much in Toon Town apart from go to the baby centre to buy new nappies and change Doyle’s nappy because it was lunch time, so we headed over to Fantasyland to eat at the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall. Doyle’s meal cost the most, and he managed to eat quite a bit of it too!

We decided to stay in Fantasyland for a little while so we could ride a couple of the rides. Before we did, though, we got to catch the second half of Disney’s Christmas Dreams on Parade as it past by Fantasyland. Then we went on It’s A Small World, where I didn’t realise until we’d got inside had been transformed for Christmas so they all sang Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls instead of the usual song. It was good, but I missed the usual song.

Then I needed to use the toilet, which I’m mentioning for two reasons. The first being that I had to squat on the ground over the toilet, and decided I needed to try not to need the toilet for the rest of the park because that was just weird, and second because when I got out, I couldn’t find Jeremy and Doyle, and looked around the area for maybe ten minutes, scared I’d lost them, before they came back with yummy chocolate popcorn to eat while we waited in line to ride Pinocchio’s Daring Journey. Even Doyle thought it was so yummy, he had to take a piece out of the box himself. We couldn’t all sit next to each other on the ride because of ride restrictions, so Jeremy sat in the front, and Doyle sat next to me in the back. He ended up standing up toward the end of the ride, which was very naughty of him, but I held onto him so he didn’t fall.

After that we headed over to the Haunted Mansion, where it had been dressed up special for Christmas, themed as the Nightmare Before Christmas. I enjoyed it immensely, and appreciated how difficult it must have been to fix it up like that just for a month and a half of Christmas festivities. Doyle again decided he was allowed to stand on the ride.

Jeremy wanted to go on the Mark Twain Riverboat in Westerland next, since he hadn’t done that when he was at the Anaheim park, and Doyle squeezed himself into a space at the top of the boat so he could see through, and I had to watch him carefully. Then, as I had convinced Jeremy that Big Thunder Mountain was a pretty tame rollercoaster, and he was lame for being afraid to go on it in Anaheim, he went on that while Doyle and I wandered back to Fantasyland to watch The Mickey Mouse Revue. It was pretty neat to watch a bunch of animatronic Disney characters singing songs from their movies in Japanese.

On our way back to find Jeremy, Doyle and I met Alice from Alice in Wonderland, saw the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit, saw the Seven Dwarfs, and met Mary Poppins. I had thought the human characters would look strangely Asian, but actually they’d hired caucasian actors for those parts. Mary Poppins sounded Australian!

After we found Jeremy, we went on the Tom Sawyer Island Rafts and explored Tom Sawyer Island. Then we headed back down to Adventureland, caught the first half of the Disney Christmas Parade (where I lost Jeremy and Doyle a second time because I was taking photos), and wandered through the New Orleans area, and went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It was a really short wait; I was impressed. Actually the longest we’d had to wait for a ride was the Haunted Mansion, and even that wasn’t the 50 minutes it said it would be. The most we had to wait for a ride during the day was maybe 15 minutes. But then that was why I wanted to go on a Friday.

The Pirates of the Caribbean had been redesigned since the movie came out; a lot of characters from the film had been inserted into it, and Jack Sparrow appeared around 4 times, I think. Considering it’s been nearly ten years since I’ve been to any Disney theme park, it’s been really cool to re-experience all my memories, even at a different location, and see how things have changed. Doyle had to sit between us on the ride, and he suckled milk the whole time we were on it. Then he promptly fell asleep in Jeremy’s arms once we left. It was about 5pm by now, and I realised he had probably conked out for the night, so there wasn’t much chance we’d be able to go on any more rides with him if he’d have to be able to sit on his own.

Then we found a churros cart, and Jeremy waited in line for that while I tried to go over to Tomorrowland to save us a place at a show called One Man’s Dream II – The Magic Lives On. When I got there, I found out I had to wait for Jeremy anyway. So we missed out on seeing the show because it was full, so we went back to Adventureland to see the Minnie Oh Minnie show at Theatre Orleans. It was a very colourful, Latin America style show. The lyrics were sung in Japanese, English and Spanish, so I was pretty satisfied. Actually it was a really good show, and it featured Minnie (obviously), Goofy, Donald, Chip, Dale and Mickey.

After the show, we went back to Tomorrowland to make sure we were able to see the last showing of One Man’s Dream II, which we managed just fine. It was also a good show, worth seeing. It featured even more Disney characters.

Well it was about 7pm by then and time for dinner, so we checked out a few restaurants, and ended up eating at the Center Street Coffee House. I had a nice rice curry, and Jeremy had a Mexican dish. We tried to get Doyle to eat something when he woke up, but he only had a sultana and piece of pineapple before all he wanted was milk.

We then rushed to see as much of the Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights parade as we could, but it was really hard to see. Then we looked in a few more shops before heading over to the Castle Forecourt to watch the Twinkling Holiday Moment. It was a special event that involved a few of the main Disney characters lighting the Christmas trees and castle. There were fireworks after, and Doyle was pretty crabby so we left straight after. Though we did stop at the shop outside the park so I could pick up a souvenir before we caught the train and subway back to Ginza, where we promptly went to sleep in our hotel room.

Obviously we didn’t manage to see everything there was at the park – it’s impossible to do everything there is to do there in one day, I reckon, even if you didn’t have to queue for rides. And we missed out on the Disneysea park at Tokyo Disney, but when we only really had three and a half days to spend in Tokyo, we weren’t going to spend more than one day at Disneyland. The important thing is we had fun, and even Doyle had a good time.

Saturday 22nd December

Doyle woke up at a more reasonable 4:30am this morning. Hopefully that means by the time we get home, he’ll have readjusted himself to wake up at his usual six or seven in the morning. It’s hard to believe that we’re now on our last full day of this trip, given our plane leaves Tokyo to go to Singapore and then home at 5:30pm tomorrow.

Today was a pretty good day, because I made a deal with Jeremy that he would make all the decisions and wasn’t allowed to ask me what I wanted to do, while I wasn’t allowed to make any suggestions or try to help him know where to go. This was a bit difficult for both of us, because it’s the opposite of how we normally behave, but apart from a couple slip ups here and there, I think it was very successful. I’ve decided I need to let go a little more, because it helps to encourage trust between us. Especially when the decisions Jeremy makes normally end up being the decision I would have made anyway. It shows how connected we are as a couple. And sometimes I think I forget that, so it’s nice to be reminded on days like these. Even if it does make me a little uncomfortable not to have complete control over what is happening!

So we headed out around 8:20am because, unbeknownst to me, Jeremy had a big day planned. We walked toward the Hibiya Park and Imperial Palace Gardens and picked up some pastries and a drink along the way for breakfast. Jeremy made his first slip up here by asking me if I wanted the sweet, savory, or half-and-half pastry choice. I told him he had to decide, and he chose half-and-half, exactly what I wanted. We had, after all, done the same with the pastries Jeremy bought for breakfast yesterday too.

Then we wandered around the gardens and grounds, where we were allowed to walk, and I noticed a tree that looked brilliant and fun, because the leaves don’t grow like ordinary leaves. I don’t think I’ve ever had a favourite tree before, but now I do and it was this one. Jeremy told me it’s called a Cypress tree. We got to see some traditionally designed Japanese architecture in this area, which was stunning to see. It also started raining, so we finally bought an umbrella at one of the rest stops to replace the one I left behind in Brazil. There wasn’t much choice, though, so hopefully it’ll fit in the suitcase as it doesn’t collapse down. It seems studier than the one I lost, though.

From the Imperial Palace grounds, we continued on and walked through Kitanomaru Park to see the Nippon Budokan. Then it was time to stop walking, so we caught some public transport to Asakusa, which is this really neat district that features lots of little shopping stalls and a big temple at the end, plus some smaller ones around the area. We didn’t see any of this until after we’d had lunch, though. It was time for some more traditional Japanese food, and to test my ability to use chopsticks. I surprised myself at how well I managed to use them, particularly to eat the rice, but I’m still not brilliant, so I’ll be setting a goal to eat a meal with chopsticks once a fortnight when we get home so I can keep up the practice. It’s amazing how quick you learn to use something when you don’t have any alternative, though. When wandering through the stalls in Asakusa, we picked up some hot, sweetened sake (rice wine), which was quite nice, a kimono for me, and a Japanese dessert on a stick that was okay but the powder made it a bit hard to eat. We also saw a couple of brides and grooms, and rickshaws here.

When it was time to move on, we caught to Ginza subway line all the way to the other end at Shibuya and got off at a department store to pick up some nappies and baby food for Doyle. It seems in Japan you can only buy disposable nappies in packs of two, so I wonder if they just use them for back ups like we normally do, and then have cloth nappies the rest of the time. At least it meant we didn’t have to have a big, bulky bag of nappies crowding our luggage for our trip home.

Then we took the train to Shinjuku, as it was already getting dark, and wandered up to the Metropolitan Government Office (stopping only to watch the end of some martial arts tournament or class we noticed inside a building on the way) to catch the elevator to the 45th floor observatory – for free, unlike the Empire State Building in New York. We got to see Tokyo Tower, although it was a bit dark and hard to see, and where Mt Fuji would’ve been visible if it had been during the day, amongst other landmarks. We could even see Tokyo’s Timesquare, which amused me. Doyle had had a nap on the train and woke up just before arriving here, so we thought we ought to feed him dinner and change his nappy before we left, in case he fell asleep again. This proved to be a good judgement. He was asleep by the time we got to the place where we had dinner. More Japanese food for dinner – I got to try a pork cutlet with rice and egg dish I’ve been noticing around the place and wanted to try. It was really nice, and my chopsticks skills are still improving. I’m actually quite enjoying all this Japanese food that you don’t really see outside of Japan, even in Japanese restaurants. Unless I’m just not going to the right places.

We wandered through an area with lots of lights like Timesquare, but it wasn’t Tokyo’s Timesquare (that’s just a shopping mall/centre) for a little while before realising we’d left the brand new umbrella behind at the restaurant. Lucky we hadn’t gone that far, and it was still there when we went back to get it. Then we wandered through another couple of department stores, up to the roof of one of them – I think it’s really cool how you can go to the roof of these buildings – and also having a look at some of the toys in the shop. There were a few that taught Hiragana to preschoolers, but I thought it would have been handy to anyone learning. I was tempted to get something, as being in Japan has inspired me to finally learn what all these funny symbols mean, but Jeremy had us move on. I don’t think he likes how much we’ve been spending here – but it’s the last stop on our trip, so it’s not like we’ll be spending like this when we get home. We have, after all, finished our Christmas shopping!

So then we caught the subway back to Ginza. At the station we saw a shop selling books and manga, and I thought I’d put my learning Japanese goal in real terms, by aiming to be able to read a manga book with Japanese characters in it after a certain amount of time has passed. After all, it is the Japanese culture I love so much that is making me want to learn the language and the writing. But also I think it would make it a lot easier to watch the anime we have at home that is in Japanese, though includes English subtitles. The menus are still in Japanese, though! It’s a big task to become fluent in a language that uses completely different characters than I do, and I probably should’ve started before turning 24, but I think if I stick my mind to it and keep at it, I should be able to do it in a couple years. I wasn’t that bad when I took Spanish classes either, although that’s another language I’d like to be able to practise more too.

It was definitely bed time when we got back, so I fed Doyle until he fell asleep, and put him to bed and fell asleep myself (although I fell asleep while feeding him, too, but got up when Jeremy came to bed so I could move him).

Sunday 23rd December

Wow, it’s already Christmas Eve Eve, and the day we head home. Doyle was naughty and woke up at 4am and wouldn’t go back to sleep until nearly 7am. Jeremy looked after him for a little while and then we swapped until I got him to go back to sleep. This meant we didn’t check out until a little after 10am. We left our bags at the hotel and took the train to Harajuku to see Meiji Shrine, which included a few bridal parties in traditional attire and a couple of small museums.

We wandered back into the town part around 12:30pm to grab some lunch, which was Japanese style pizza at an “Italian” restaurant. By the time we finished lunch, there was barely enough time for us to catch the train back to our hotel, grab our bags, and catch the Narita Express to Narita airport. As it was, we arrived half an hour later than I’d wanted to. At the train station, we stopped quickly to use the ice cream vending machine and grab a Japanese ice cream each. I got an ice cream that was strawberry flavoured wrapped entirely in an interestingly shaped ice cream cone. Jeremy says he preferred mine to his, which appeared in the picture to be a round chocolate covered ice cream, but rather than chocolate, he says it was rice.

We managed to make the flight okay, which left slightly late anyway due to an emergency plane landing on our runway. I began feeling sick almost as soon as we were on the plane, though, and I’m not quite sure why. I thought I was just hungry, so was pleased when our dinner came. I got to see the Darjeeling Limited, which I had seen advertised in a London Underground Station and was looking forward to seeing the latest Wes Anderson film. It lived up to Wes Anderson’s usual style of humour.

After some rest, Doyle became a bit antsy so I changed his nappy and talked to a few of the flight attendants at the back of the plane for a little while before one of them eventually offered to look after Doyle while I had some rest. Fantastic! I jumped at the offer, but didn’t actually get too much sleep. I eventually woke up and used the airplane sick bag for the first time in my life, filling it up about halfway with my dinner and probably my lunch, too. Then I went back toward the lavatory to dispose of it, only it was occupied. While I waited, I was shown that Doyle was asleep in a little kind of cot next to the emergency exit, and then one of the male flight attendants took my sick bag for me to discard. Then I was given some hot lemon water to help me feel better, but I didn’t drink much because it actually just reminded me how I felt sick. Despite being a United Airlines flight, all of the flight attendants were Japanese. And their behaviour is pretty much complementary of all the Japanese we encountered during our time in Japan – very friendly and will go out of their way to do whatever they can to help you. Not only do I think that Tokyo is the cleanest city in the world, but the friendliest. I can honestly say it is the best place I have ever travelled to visit. Would I live there? Only if I could focus enough time on learning the language.

Monday 24th December

I wasn’t intending on creating another dated post for today, but for reasons that will soon be obvious, I have good reason to now. We got into Singapore airport around 12:15am Singapore time, which is an hour behind Japan. We had about 50 minutes before our next flight left, which wasn’t a great deal of time at all. Especially when we had to change terminals, and it took me about ten minutes to realise just that. I did, however, think there would be enough time for Jeremy to pick up a bluetooth headset for his iPhone, as I promised he could try to do so in Singapore, assuming it was cheaper than everywhere else we had looked. It was decent enough priced, so he did so.

However, the events that followed led me to become probably the most distraught and upset with Jeremy I have ever been. Due to his misunderstanding what I had said by assuming I was telling him how long we had until we had to board rather than when the flight left, Jeremy had decided he wanted to spend a few minutes on the Internet. I feel this cost us the very valuable time that led to us missing our connecting flight home. I cried so hard when we got to the gate and the doors were sealed, and even harder when a man came to tell us the plane had already left the gate. Despite the fact he told us we could catch the next plane at 9:30am, I was so afraid it would be full and we wouldn’t be home for Christmas. Even though I had concerns, I made Jeremy call his parents at 2:30am Perth time to let them know not to come to the airport when they were going to originally, and what time the following flight was expected to arrive, so at least they wouldn’t be waiting for hours wondering where we were.

It was near impossible to sleep at the airport. Doyle slept on the floor, I slept next to him for maybe an hour, and slept a little in a chair near there on and off for most of the rest of the time at the airport, but Jeremy didn’t sleep at all. He disappeared to use his computer for a while when we were asleep, and I had no idea where he was when I did wake up.

Around 5am or so, Jeremy was able to get us boarding passes for the next flight, and they made sure we’d be able to have a spare seat for Doyle since we weren’t able to get the same seats we’d booked for the previous flight.

We managed to catch the flight all right. I slept for most of it because I was still sick (I’d thrown up at the airport in the morning, too, despite only really having something to drink) and Jeremy was marvelous considering my behaviour toward him, and looked after Doyle despite his complete lack of sleep while I slept. While on the flight, my sickness decided it was time to reverse where it exited. I was not impressed. I avoided eating the lunch on the plane because I was worried I’d sick it back up again, but did have a little ice cream and some lollies to suck on.

We made it into Perth a little after 3:30pm, which was the scheduled arrival time. We bought our obligatory duty free alcohol (though only one person’s allowance worth, because we’re not big drinkers and we’re also cheapskates), I visited the bathroom, and we headed down to collect our luggage. Three items had made it onto the flight we were meant to be on (even though the guy at the gate told us all of our luggage had enough time to get there, so we should have been able to, too). Our “oversize luggage” (Doyle’s stroller with our new umbrella taped to it because it was too long to fit in our suitcase) was waiting by the oversize luggage part, and our bag with all the presents in was on the baggage carousel with the rest of our flight’s luggage. So it turned out for the best that we did miss our flight, because otherwise we’d have arrived without all our luggage and probably no Christmas presents to give family tonight!

Given our duty free expenditure and the amount of food we tried to import, we had a bit to do when going through customs. Especially when I’d forgotten about the hot chocolate I’d bought in New York! But we were cleared there without having to leave anything behind, throw anything away, or pay any extra duties. They let us off on the extra duty stuff because they depreciated the value 20% and also because it was Christmas.

In conclusion, it’s so good to be back home again, and Jeremy is being an absolute champion looking after me and doing the majority of the unpacking while I’m still sick. I wasn’t able to eat anything at the Christmas Eve dinner we went to, but I have been able to eat little bits during meal times since then. Hopefully I’ll be completely cured in a few days. I’m getting sick of having to visit the toilet every little while like I had to today (Boxing Day).

2 thoughts on “RTW 2007 installment #19 (Dec 18-Dec 24)

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    There are all kinds of vacation activities in Maine, but one of the best and most unique is taking a hot air balloon ride for an aerial tour of the area. The best place to take a hot air balloon ride is in Kennebunkport, Maine. Everything beautiful abo…


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