Saturday, October 20, 2007

More Japan Photos

When we travel, how we deal with breakfast is always an issue. I like to drink coffee and eat something when I get up in the morning. The first morning, we were starving. We were in an unfamiliar country and we were not sure of our options. In the hotel room, the coffee was instant and and part of the mini-bar. We never touch the mini-bar for any reason because everything is overpriced and I was not about to change our behavior for instant coffee. A cafe was open and busy off of the lobby so we entered. A huge buffet was along one wall and I noticed coffee pots on a little cart so we seated ourselves. The waiter came along and asked us if we wanted to do the buffet and we said yes. It was $25 a person we realized later but we did not care at that point.

I learned that in Japan even with a buffet breakfast with American style eggs, bacon and waffles, one does not serve themselves coffee. Three cups wake me up and when I helped myself to the second cup after quite a wait from the coffee cart, I was ushered back to my seat with an immediate refill. The third cup came shortly after that.

By the next morning, we had discovered a Starbucks right across the street. In addition, during my solitary explorations, I found that within 5 minutes of our room were four bakeries. These bakeries were wonderful and had every baked good you could think of from around the world. Not only were there French croissants, but there were bagels, Hawaiian sugar buns, and American muffins, donuts and sticky buns. Everything was fresh out of the oven. Needless to say, every morning after the first, we would get our coffee from Starbucks which opened early enough for Dave to get to his meetings and eat our baked goodies that I had picked out the afternoon before. I know, I know. Not the healthiest but hey, we we were having a holiday. The antioxidant cereal, low fat yogurt, and whole wheat toast would wait for us at home.

Anyway, more pictures of beautiful Kyoto:

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Lake in the park around the convention center.

I walked around this lake by myself at dusk before the first fancy sit down banquet. It was warm and humid and I was wearing open toed sandals and a skirt. I did not want my hair to go cafluey but it did anyway and I didn't want to be pitted out but most everyone at the meeting was as well. It was worth it. The thing is, everywhere I was in Kyoto alone, I felt completely safe and I haven't always felt that way in Europe.

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The lake was filled with Koi.

Not only was the lake filled with Koi but I noticed another type of rather large creature following me as I walked the path. At first, I thought I was seeing water logged sticks up ended but when I looked carefully, they were turtle heads. The turtles were begging from me but I had no bread crumbs.

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Another temple gate

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Huge wooden timbers from ancient forests supporting the gate.

More later.