Saturday, August 02, 2008

hokkaido summer trip day 1

Its 5:00 a.m. in the morning and I’m riding my bike. I stopped at the Lawson konbini to buy a bottle of energy drink and a shake (salmon) onigiri for breakfast, before reaching to the university’s main gate. The bus that is going to take us to the Akita Marine Port is already waiting.

This is a trip for foreign students, conducted by the university. We were only required to pay 20000yen, the remaining 26000yen is taken from the university's international activities fund. That covers everything from the ferry fares, bus rental, food, entrance fees to various places etc. Pretty good deal to me.

*10 Korea, 19 China (1 Hong Kong, 3 Taiwan), 1 Myanmar, 1 South Africa, 1 Mongolia, 1 Malaysia*

I’m quite nervous for this trip. For some inconvenient reasons, I’m the only Malaysian (and Muslim) on the trip, and I’m afraid that I would be alone because everybody else came with their group of friends. I knew some of the Korean and Chinese students, but they’re sure are going to be with their own countrymen; just like Malaysians, the Koreans and Chinese stick with their own.

I was all alone, and the seat next to me was empty. Everyone has their own seat partner except me. The also lonely South African and Burmese student  (I knew them just well enough) was sitting together, so I’m all alone.

Then there comes the (also alone) Mongolian to save the day. I knew it from her swaying eyes, that she was just like me, alone and didn’t really knew anyone on the bus. So I asked her to sit next to me. Her face lit up.

We left Akita by ferry at 6:00 am.

It was a very big ferry; complete with a restaurant, game room, hot bath, jacuzzi, mini-theatre etc. Right after boarding, I immediately took several pictures before I got sea-sick and spend the rest of the time on the ferry sleeping.

We arrived at the Tomakomai Port at 05:30 pm and then went straight to the Sapporo Beer Park to have our dinner. It was such a nice place and the food was ok. Everybody had Jingisukan (a Mongolian mutton barbeque) while I’m the only one having a seafood version of the popular dish. It was not so bad, as long as it’s halal and I don’t have to pay extra, I’m good.

On the way back to the bus, I took some pictures and then bought the creamiest of all soft ice-cream that I have ever tasted; it was so rich with the thickness of milk and vanilla, I don’t know how to describe how good it was.

We arrived at the Susukino Green Hotel in Sapporo at 08:40 pm and were given each a single room, which is quite awesome.

The night was still young, so I went out with the Mongolian girl for a quick night-trip around Sapporo City. The city felt like Tokyo, except the roads are wider and the buildings are lined up a lot nicer. The air was better too.


Then we found ourselves walking through this street full of street performers. One performer caught out attention: a four-person troupe of dancers wearing yukata and matching black fedora hats, with garbage picker as their samurai swords.

Before we went back to our hotel room, we decided to take a break at a coffee shop. I ordered the very sweet almond caramel latte. I don’t know how it went down, but somehow our conversation turns into a deep history lesson about why the Mongolians hate the Chinese. It’s really weird and hard to understand racial hatred, but it is the truth.

I took a nice, warm bath before going to bed. At first, I thought about watching the paid channels, but after coming to my senses that people nowadays watch these stuff for free, I performed my solat jamak and went to bed.

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