Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How they do things up north...

There are some things here in Okinawa that are “must-sees” and you would think that at some point during my 10+ months here, I would have visited these sites. Well, just like the fact that I’ve never been to a Bears game, have never been on the Navy Pier ferris wheel, and have never been up the Hancock Building in Chicago, I just sort of put off going to the famous aquarium here on my little island.

This weekend, I put it at the top of my list of things to do, which involved a trip to the friendly north and crashing on Amy’s couch for two nights. Saturday ended up being a fairly beautiful day despite weather predictions to the contrary. After schlepping to the Jusco bakery for some delicious pastries, we made our way to see some fish in large quantities. I owe Amy big-time for taking me to the aquarium since she has had to take numerous visitors there before and will most likely be taking her mom next week. She was a great sport, though, as I oohed and aahed at the tanks. The admission price at the aquarium is slightly steep considering that this place can be entered and exited within an hour. The most famous bit is the world’s largest freestanding tank or something like that. It was quite impressive and have made a fantastic “Finding Nemo” wonderland out of that tank.

After snapping some photos, we met up with Paul, king of off-roading, and decided to go see a habu snake (Okinawan poisonous snake) fight a mongoose. Or at least that’s what we thought we were going to see. Turns out ¥300 won’t allow you to see any actual blood spillage, but we did have a funny nature man show us the habu and many other snakes found on the island. There were only 7 of us watching the show and since we were the foreigners and they thought it was funny, we had numerous snakes wrapped around us and each got to experience forked tongues kissing our noses. He showed us a video of an actual mongoose/habu fight in the wild since anti-cruelty laws prevent public showings. Spoiler Alert: The mongoose wins. I guess the mongoose is one of three natural predators for the habu. He brought out a mongoose named Sachiko who won 50 something mongoose/habu battle royales and was the reigning champ for Okinawa before it was outlawed. I guess they don't make heavyweight champ belts for little mongooses. Mongeese?

After our slight disappointment at not getting to see a battle, we headed into the hills to a shiisa café. Despite the fact that it is fairly hidden, it was hopping as people looked at flowers and a plethora of shiisa. It was a relaxing time and we enjoyed it just as much as this little fellow.

The next item on our list was to do some glass blowing. Juhi met up with us and we enjoyed a special teacher’s discount. The actual process of making glass only takes about 3 minutes. You stand on a box and blow into the hot glass to get the height for your glass and then sit in a chair and roll a metal pole, while sticking a sort of prong in the other side. Mine looks fairly terrible, but Juhi has become a professional in her time in Okinawa.

Our next stop was another café on Sesoko island that is connected to Motobu with a bridge. We ate at a lovely café and enjoyed some pizza, while mosquitoes feasted on us. It was very relaxing and Zen ... all of these little cafes are full of character. I could go café hopping all day long. In fact, maybe I will someday soon.

By this time, Amy and I needed to head back to Nago because we were expected at a potluck for one of her friends. Our contribution to the dinner was going to be German chocolate cake. We drove out to the house and much to our surprise, there was no one to be found, except some barking chihuahuas. We were troopers, though, and decided not to waste the cake, but rather eat it for a late dinner with “Sex and the City.” It also made a delicious breakfast.

On Sunday, we met up with Bridgit in Nago and Christina took the two of us over to Camp Schwab to the military beach. It wasn’t a very sunny day and hardly anyone was there, but it was a nice excursion, and although Taco Bell was closed, we did get some Pizza Hut. Although Pizza Hut and Taco Bell are a taste of home, I wouldn't actually choose a meal there in the States. Funny how important normal breadsticks become when you can't have them.


Anonymous said...

mmm...i would choose pizza hut anyday.

Carly said...

wow. I need to get out more. enjoy your last 43 days or whatever you said it was :)