21 October 2014
This is our last day in Japan, tomorrow we head back to Malaysia. So our days have been filled with our usual exciting pre-travel things: laundry, repairing anything that needs it, sorting and culling items (we even shipped a box of stuff home), printing boarding passes and such. Nothing eventful or exciting, just enjoying our neighborhood as we walked around accomplishing these tasks.
One of the more interesting things was the laundromat. Just a few blocks from our hotel, we walked down the road with our laundry. Tossed it into two machines. Added the money, pushed the button. The lady who works there came out and we asked - you don't need to add soap! The machine gets the clothes wet and automatically adds soap at the right time, and proceeds to continue washing the clothes!!! How amazing is that!?!? And why don't washing machines around the world have this capability????
While things were in the machine, I wandered around the neighborhood and found these wonderful trees, one in front of each house, right in a row.
It was pretty funny at the post office: no one spoke English, so we went with our bags of things to send back and I whipped out my pocket notebook. Wrote "USA" and the zipcode. Drew a plane. Drew a boat. Drew a cube (box). We talked to the man slowly, in short sentences, pointing to USA and the zip, price for airmail (plane), price for slow mail (boat), and we need a box. He laughed and got a box, packed everything, weighed it, and gave us three price options. It was great, and so much easier than trying to struggle with charades! (Every traveller needs a little notebook, even if you can only draw stick figures it helps!) Anyway, we thanked him profusely, he really was great.
Of course, this was more difficult trying to find a place to print our documents from a USB drive. The ladies at the store thought I wanted to buy a USB drive. Then they thought I wanted to buy paper. I had to draw the USB drive, arrow to a computer, arrow to a printer, arrow to the document printer. "Ah so deska, PRINTAH!" "Hai, hai (yes, yes)" I said, "printah!" They were able to tell us where to go (although the place is named Lawson's, and Japanese doesn't have an L sound, plus their R is somewhere between an L and an R, so "Lawson" sounds more like "Roarson" and it took us a few minutes to figure it out). Anyway, we had little adventures along the way as we took care of the errands. And that's all part of what makes travel so interesting, the little adventures that happen daily.
We'll be back in Kuala Lumpur in our usual spot, the Ancasa Express at the Pudu bus station. Centrally located, priced right, with free wifi and breakfast included.
As Richard says, life is good in SE Asia.
And we get to experience monsoon season in Malaysia. After an earthquake, a volcanic eruption, and two typhoons in Japan, monsoon season shouldn't be any big deal.