Wednesday 2nd February 2011
Everything packed into the backpack 17kg!
All was going well, as I have resuable vaccum pack bags for my clothes, however the magic packing bags DO NOT work for toileteries.
Champagne on the palne and off to Welling to visit Joss, Ian and Zoe.
Note to self: Must try harder to reduce the number of beauty products packed (although I DO NEED THEM ALL)
Thursday 4th February
After spending a lovely day with Joss & Zoe endulging in aRfternoon tea at Cabbrty Cocoa House in Blue Water I followed Joss's directions and arrived safely at Lynda's in Guildford.
Note to self: Drinking champagne every day is NOT a compulsory holiday activity.
Friday 4th - Sunday 6th February
A few hours light shopping for the final necessaties and a chance to use up some Tesco freebee vouchers in Prezzo. Finally a grulling re-pack session and now ready for the off.
Note to self: OK for Nicola to drive me to the airport as long as she doesn't get on the same plane.
Monday 7th February
3 films and 2.5 episodes of CSI later I arrived in Hong Kong airport - very dangerous place - there are loads of designer shops (and no TK Max). Due to my 11.5 hour TV marathon I was too tired to shop by this stage.
Note to self: Must watch more dvds when I get back as it is not big, clever or funny to stay awake all night catching up on missed films.
Tuesday 8th Februrary
A further 2 films and 1 episode of Desperate Housewives saw me into Sapporo to tropical temperatures of minus 5C.
I travelled on the correct express train, subway link and pedestiran directions to my hotel. The same success was not to be experienced the next day.
Note to self: Pat on the back for arriving in Sapporo WITH luggage. Only searched once and interrogated once.
Wednesday 9th February
The hotel is in a great position and I am so glad I spent hours researching the location to make sure it was near Odori Park where the main snow sculptures are.
Not sure why after 2 hours of marching around the streets of Sapporo dressed in full snow gear I found myself back at my hotel without having seen any snow or ice sculptures. They were now in danger of melting before I had even managed to find them.
Once I worked out I had the map the wrong way round I discovered that the ferris wheel I decided to use as my landmark guide was 2 blocks away from the hotel and the coffee shop I took refuge in 90 minutes after leaving the hotel was 1 block behind me.
I do however have the complimentary use of a rather fetching kimono and slippers along with a lovely TV which doesn't have any English channels. The mini bar is empty so I guess someone must have phoned ahead to have the alcohol removed or perhaps it is just an ordinary fridge.
Note to self: Make sure the map is not upside down as the sites expected will not be where you think they are. Must learn more Japanese as Sushi, Fuji and Mitsubishi haven't been too successful. No need to learn the word for toilets - just look for the internationally recognised sign of McDonalds.
Thursday 10th February
The photos are building up already. I hate to point out that sculptures don't move and are therefore easier to photograph than penguins. Sculptures are photographable in daytime, nightime and bedtime thus providing additional hours to take photos. Scultpures are lit with lights which progress through 5 colour changes thus requiring more than one photo of each sculpture. Wow you are all really gonna like my home coming party. Perhaps you had better put in a request to take the next 6 months off work to view ALL my photos. Poor attendence to picture showings WILL BE NOTED.
The locals don't dress in winter clothes as they all know where the underground shopping centres and walkways are - I do NOW.
Apart from touring the snow & ice displays I have really throuwn myself in at the deep end with the local culture and experiences. I have been to a loacal cake shop, a local supermarket AND a local department store. Obviously I wouldn't be doing this if there were any cathedrals and ancient burial grounds to visit!
Despite the blizzard conditions today I managed to make it to the beer factory/museum. Having been up since 6.30am for the 1st SKYPE call I decided that although the beer place was only 7 blocks away I would rest my legs and take the bus. It was rather like getting the Ramsey bus to go to the Laxey Wheel. You know you are going in the right direction but nobody tells you when to get off. 11 blocks passed the stop I should have got off I realised something was wrong so decided to get off the bus and had to walk all the way back. To top it all off there was NO free beer available today so I had to buy my own.
Note to self: Don't always belive the promise ｏｆ ｆｒｅｅ ｂｅｅｒ ａｎｄ don't be lazy. If I had chosed the walking option to the beer factory/museum originally it would have saved time and a lot of additional leg effort.
Friday 11th February
After my early start for the worlwide SKYPE conference yesterday I decided to have a day of being Manx. Concerned that I may be forgetting my roots I stayed in bed till 11am, went to Starbucks for a blueberry scone, Mister Donnuts for 3 items of their finest fayre, McDonalds (obviously) and finished the day off with a lurverly calzone which cost me an arma and a leg. Ahhh just like home! Noodles, rice and sushi are great but you can't beat English stodge.
I am not really surprised that the calzone was expensive - the restaurant had to charge high prices to cover the maintenance costs of their luxury toilets. The toilet seat had builtin bum recognition and automatically opened. It also perfors an automatic courtesy flush, automatice smell sution to eliminate any unpleasant odours, auto flush when finished and auto toilet lid closure on completion. Wow impressive or what!
Note to self: Must upgrade to a Japanese toilet when I get home.