Monday, January 23, 2006

white touch-down

  1. The ¥11,500 yen taxi to airport cost me one-third of my plane ticket price!
  2. The ANA check-in lady asked me if I want a window seat. Then after X-raying my baggage, she told me it's snowing in Sapporo so the flight might be diverted to Tokyo!
  3. Next the personal X-ray machine beeped and I had to put their slippers on to re-enter the X-doorway - meanwhile, I'm sure they are retracting the boarding bridge!
  4. Finally I managed to get on the plane that was heated to well over 30 degrees and yet still some passengers were wearing their beanies and jackets.
  5. The flight over the sea suddenly changed to a big white island...
Almost a ski-plane
Almost a ski-plane,
originally uploaded by vfowler.
Hokkaido: The whole world here is completely covered in snow. The plane touched down on a black strip surrounded by white. Helpful airport stuff directed me onto the bus, which disappeared into what we'd call a snow storm back home. The 3:20pm bus ploughed through a land of ice and snow until the driver pulled over to let another fire truck drive past.

Niseko YubokuminFor night skiing, the mountain is lit up like a Christmas tree. The bus dumps everyone into the dark cold night. A Welcome Centre staff, Emiko, was knocking off for the night and offered me a lift to Yubokumin. Rather lucky for me as I had no map and calling the hostel was a communication challenge.

Dinner the minute I walked in the door. I turned down the offer of a lift to the local onsen and searched for my Aussie mates instead. Aussies dominate the entire village, so it was a little like finding needles in a haystack, but they were in Hank's bar. A beer and a chat followed by a visit to the enigmatic Seicomart before we called it a night.

after dinner banter¥10,000 yen later and I've got my lift ticket for the next 3 days sorted. The 2 meals and accommodation seems like a great deal, staying with friendly Japanese people who enjoy knocking back a bit of sake or shochu at night. Finally my dream holiday is happening...

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