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October 5th, 2000 · No Comments

We flew from Cairns on the northeast coast of Australia over the top of Australia northwest across Indonesian air space to Malaysia. Changing from a charter to commercial airlines in Kuala Lumpur we traveled back to the northeast over Philippines and Taiwan to Osaka, Japan. It was a long journey.
Our bikes are still in Kuala Lumpur, they will follow us in the next couple days via air freight to Amanohashidate (Miyazu), hopefully in time for us to start riding!

Australia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Singapore to Osaka, Japan

Day 279

Airport signsFour countries in one day is one fast tour! I am glad we are going back for close up looks at both Malaysia and Singapore. Their airports impressed me to no end. Kuala Lumpur has a spectacular, knockout airport that puts anything I’ve seen to date to shame. I only had two hours there passing through customs and immigration to change planes, but it wasn’t enough time to get to see everything. The structure is impressive in design and size. There are upscale shops surpassing any mall in the U.S. and all this in just an airport. Of course Kuala Lumpur now boasts the tallest twin towers in the world, so I guess they must know how to attract visitors.

I was assigned to flight on the JAL #722 that was stopping in Singapore. It was a longer flight because of that reason, but it was a pleasant one. We had to deplane in the Singapore airport so the crew could come on and clean the plane. We then took on a full plane of passengers, it was a tight fit for a rather long flight. At the airport I found a A & W Stand and treated myself to my favorite, root beer float. Lucky for me I had a few American dollars in my pocket, and they accepted it (of course!) I sat on a bench watching American Golf on a thin screen TV with American Rock & Roll playing in the background. It was all too familiar I had to remind myself I was in Singapore!

My first realization of a culture change arrived at breakfast. My tray of Glutinous Rice, Jelly Salted Sea Cod, Japanese Pickles, Omelet and Fruit didn’t resemble any breakfast I was familiar with. The omelet was so small at 1 by 1 1/2 ” oblong, it was precisely two bites for me. The Glutinous Rice was tasty but so glutinous it was glued to the bottom of the dish, I had to scrape it off with my chop stick. I stabbed the Omelet in an effort to break it in two, later learning that using chop sticks for stabbing is not proper etiquette! The correct way is to grasp the food between the chop sticks and nibble on it.
Unfamiliar as it was, breakfast was tasty, but not filling. It became very clear to me why the Japanese are small people, they don’t eat much and what they do eat, is not fattening. I overheard comments around the plane, “it’s going to be a long 10 days!” They were referring to the food, the chop sticks and the culture shock we were entering. It’s going to be different I know, but I’m looking forward to it.

Bring on Japan, I’m ready!

kk holding yenWith 10,000 Yen I felt momentarily rich! (just a tad over $100) cashed in a travelers check at the airport. My first very pleasant experience with a Japanese vendor. The man behind the counter, scrutinized the checks to make sure they were done correctly, then placed my Yen on a tray. As he handed it to me with both hands he bowed.

He treated me with such respect I felt very honored.

These people are naturals for providing customer service!

I love it!

Tags: Japan