Friday, May 29, 2009

At Long Last...

So, plans didn't work out as we had hoped and we had to make an unfortunate layover on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. So, now that all the suspense is over, I can finally finish the arduous task of giving a play by play on our adventures.
So, we left Japan around the afternoon and took a 8 hour flight from Japan to Hawaii. That's a a short way in a long time, and to make matters worse, we weren't in the most comfortable of planes as evidenced below. It was in a military plane that provided awkward seats with cargo 2 feet in front of us. However, arrive we did. This is where it got sticky. We arrived at midnight Hawaii time. Now, we have been awake for 16+ hours, 8 of which were traveling, there are a ton of loud and rambunctious little kids, and we are in an airport terminal. No rental cars were available and no hotels would answer their phones at 2 in the morning. There were no chance of sleeping with the noise and with small seats with arm rests that refuse to allow you to be comfortable. So, I half dosed for a short while, read, watched TV, and did stuff of the like. Then I had the brilliant idea to go and take pictures of the sunrise, and brilliant it was!! This is what I was privileged to see, but because I am still a rookie in photography I wasn't fully able to grasp the beauty of it. Then, things took a turn for the better.

It started like this...

And ended like this...

Bird of paradise

We got a taxi and rode to the air force owned beach and relaxed for several hours there. The following are pictures of our activities. I spent most of the time on the beach reading Angels and Demons when I could steal it from my sister. I also swam alone, kayaked with my sis, played frisbee all by my lonesome, ate with the others, took a nap which resulted in a nice sunburn, and took some fun pictures. I hope you enjoy. Well, we returned to the terminal for a few more hours where we played cards, read, and napped again. Eventually our flight left around 4ish. I got the great honor to sit in the cockpit and watch takeoff with the other pilots. I enjoyed it. After another highly exciting 6 hours in the plane we arrived finally in Spokane. Doug Nelson was there at the terminal to pick us up and shephard us home. Shortly after my father had to buy a ticket and fly to Seattle to pick up our car which was parked there. Then drive 5 more hours home along. That, however, marks the end of our journey! Enjoy the pictures!! You can find some more on my facebook album that I recently put up, it's devoted to the trip. Thanks for your attention during this adventure!

I thought it was funny...

Place to rent equipment

The beautiful

We went kayaking, it was a lot of fun

Saturday, May 23, 2009

JAPAN!!!! (again)

I left Singapore in the grasp of a tropical thunderstorm while reclining on the 3 empty chairs next to me in the plane eating a delicious meal compliments of the stewardess. Could life get better?!? YES! We watched 3 in flight movie. We were on top of the world (almost literally) living like kings (quite unliterally). So we arrived in Japan and went to bed! The next day we jumped aboard the bullet train and cruised 6 hours to the other part of the island. So besides from the delightful detail, we just spent that whole day traveling as well. Then the fun started!

Waiting for the trains...a daily occurrence

We went to Hiroshima. It was a very sobering thought to see where the only nuke has been used as a warhead. While I do regret the evil that the bomb was, I am glad we won the war! It was really sad though, a dark spot on our history. The area around the hypocenter was converted into a peace park and there was a museum commemorating it. Here's my proof!

Hiroshima Before

Hiroshima after

The domed building right
below the explosion of the
bomb. It survived.

We also went to an island called Miyajima. It was my favorite day all around. It was a beautiful island full of temples, pagodas, shrines, and tamed deer who would eat straight from your hand. If you didn't offer it, they would come to you. However, the best part was renting bikes and riding them around the island-cool weather, beautiful ocean, beautiful mountains, ancient temples, modern markets=FANTASTIC time!!

The friendly deer

A sweet arch

A tunnel we biked through

All of us champs on our bikes

And to cap off that beautiful day, I made a very important purchase. Yup, that's right, SAMURAI SWORDS!! Two of them, with a stand. What a glorious day.
The next day we stopped in the city of Kyoto and saw another temple. Then we traveled back to Tokyo and stayed in a high class hotel that the military owned for cheap. It was amazing. The next day we went to the temple (our temple, the LDS temple) in the morning and my dad and I sat around the house while my sister and mom shopped. Then at night my mom wanted to buy these porcelain bowls that she could only get at a certain store that closed within the hour. So my mom, dad, and I ran out the door and jumped on a couple of trains and sped walked downtown among the hustling bustling teens and tweens who were gobbling up all sorts of merchandise (mostly clothing). So much for the economic recession. We got there in time, bought the bowls, and returned home. That basically ended our trip in Tokyo. We returned to the military base and hung out for the next day.

I loved the temples there

The Tokyo Temple

And for your viewing pleasure, other fun pictures from Japan

Japanese students playing with birds

A cool shrine, the water was supposed to surround it, but tide was out, so it was just dry and crabby

The sweet night life

My sister looking through a peep hole

Then we flew out early morning...which got delayed to afternoon. And we had an unexpected layover. "But where Sean?" might you ask.

to be continued....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In the words of Cpt Jack Sparrow, "Clearly you've never been to Singapore." Done that!

Singapura, as called by the local inhabitants, is a richly diverse area. Home to a wealth of cultures from Chinese, Arabs, Indians, Japanese, Americans, British, Martians, Filipinos, Indonesians (to spare you the monotony, I'll stop there, but be ye warned, there are many more). It is also a beneficiary of the jungle climate, which implies a high level of humidity, a high level of heat, and a high amount of thunderstorms. We experienced all three of these-the last of which was at night and as we were trying to leave-that kept us from leaving Singapore on time. So back to the drama! We landed in Singapore, survived customs, and went to our hotel. We spent the time doing various tasks, some of which include:
The Zoo!!!
The Sunset!!
Tasty Delights!!
Sweet Night Life!!
The Wild Life!!
Cool Bridges!!
Awesome Other Things!!Swimming!!

And what trip would be complete without my personal favorite! I think it's obvious why...
Sorry that was a lot of pictures, but we really did a lot in Singapore. I recommend it. You can learn a lot about other cultures there. They also had a lot of tourist attractions, museums, zoos, etc. The beach however was disgusting. The water was all littered, and my dad and I escaped with oil stains from all the nearby tankers. We also took a night cruise and enjoyed the ocean breeze, it was so nice! All in all, I recommend Singapore...just don't bring gum, you'll get hit with a cane. Don't smuggle drugs or you'll get executed. The list goes on, and those weren't exaggerations. Well, this is the end of part 2! Part 3 and 4 are coming up soon. Part 3 is about round 2 in Japan and part 4 is a surprise. I hope the anticipation keeps you wanting more!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Part One of Japan


An Account of our Travels to the Island Nation of Japan. Being the First Part of this Narrative.

So, after arriving in Seattle around 7 in the night, we left the airport at 5 in the morning... yeah... lame. We took a nice scenic flight to Japan and arrived there mid afternoon. Thanks to the swine flu we sat on the grounded plane for an hour as the medics scanned all the passengers. Then we sat in customs for another hour or so...then they released us into the wild!!! Japan was ours for the exploring, and so to celebrate our freedom we played ping pong and ate American food on the air base. Well, the next day we explored Tokyo. These are some of the highlights...
Colorful streets and signs

Beautiful Scenery

Beautiful Architecture

Packed Subways

And CROWDED Streets

But overall we were really impressed with how awesome Tokyo was. The Japanese people were so kind and clean and polite (except for the shoving in the subway) and well groomed. We enjoyed the time. This was all Saturday. On Sunday we went to church with a bunch of other air force members. The chapel was cool:
The church is still true, even in Japan :)

Well, after Sunday, we woke up early again and commenced a 6 hour flight to SINGAPORE!!
Please stay tuned for the next episode of "Sean's Asian Travels-Adventure in Singapore" coming shortly