I'd just like to begin by saying that the title of this is not a joke, the traffic lights in Kyoto actually do make birds noises, instead of the beeps, bleeps or alarms or whatever the noise is that they make in Australia. It gives you the impression of being in some sort of jungle metropolis, surrounded by invisible wildlife. It's weird and unsettling; unless you want to be all poetic about it, which I may be at a later stage.
We stayed Sunday night at a YHA on the Gold Coast, just near Coolangatta airport, where it was so cold I had to sleep with two blankets, two jumpers, four towels and thermals on (too stupid for belief, I was under the naive impression it was suppposed to be warm in the QLD).
Flew out Monday morning, direct to Tokyo, then a connecting flight to Osaka. As predicted I was totally stoned off my nut on my flying drugs (my nurse aunt has informed, in a rather panicked manner, that I'm taking twice the recommend dose. No wonder I walk into walls and see double when I take them). But anyways, we had an impromptu concert from some bearded hippy with a banjo (read: gorgeous man/future husband) at the airport before takeoff, and the flight was full of cute Asian kids who didn't scream, talk or try to make me play with them, so all in all the flight was pretty good.
When we got to Osaka we stayed in a hotel in the airport (I think it's name was the Nico Hotel??? - who even cares anyway) which had illusions of grandeur it's cheap carpet and refusal to leave complimentary biscuits in the rooms couldn't quite cover.
This morning we caught the train to Kyoto, which took about 90 mins. Breakfast consisted of some kind of hamburger wrapped in a bun that tasted of sugar (do not try that at home kids, it was horrendous). When we got to Kyoto we wandered around lost for a little while before we found our hostel. We left our bags there and set off with a vague idea that we'd like to try the Philosophers Walk. Never made it that far, instead we walked in the sweltering heat to the Imperial Palace, which is surrounded by public gardens, and took a tour of the palace. It's all been rebuilt, most of it after the 'big fire' (I kid you not, that's what they call it) 160 years ago. But it's all an exact replica and very beautiful, so definitely worth a visit.
After the tour, Summa and I once again made a valiant effort to find the Philsophers Walk (read: half-hearted effort, mostly in search of ice cream), but again never got there. Turns out the beginning of the walk was about 5km away, so not sorry that we abandoned our attempt.
We caught the subway back to Kyoto station. Here they have this massive underground food and shopping mall which links the subway, trains and buses. We had vego raman for dinner, which was deelish. We were also enticed into buying these creme caramel sort of things, mostly because the company that makes them has the symbol of the samurai and I'm a sucker for all things novel and remotely dorky.
And thats about it for now. Was given an 'economy straw' at dinner, which as far as I can tell is an ordinary straw with the word economy written on it. Also, the hostel manager has just put a jug of sake down in front of me and fortunately no one has as yet warned him what a bad idea that wash. Also, I saw bottles of sweat today. Not really but that's what the label says, I took a photo to prove it's weirdness and bad-englishness.
Off to Nara tomorrow for a day trip. Not really sure why, apparently there is some deer park or something there that mother wants to see.
Missing you all