Hello again ! We are sitting in the Tokyo Narita airport lounge operated by the good folks of ANA airlines. They are part of the Star Alliance that includes Air Canada, and we are on an AC flight leaving here bound for Vancouver. Since arriving back in Canada I have had the dubious pleasure of again flying Air Canada and I regret to say that they are no longer the premier class act that they were back in 2000 when we moved to The Netherlands. On this trip, we flew Thai Airlines a couple of times and they were fantastic – the food, the service level, the attentiveness of the cabin attendants etc. are all better than what good old AC offers these days. In comparison, on my last trip, AC lost my luggage, and this next flight is going to be late leaving by 2 hours. Its a shame – they are now worse than KLM !
Thailand was very nice – we stayed at the Marriott Resort in Phuket which is a time share and hotel combination on the west coast and at the north end of Phuket island. Its a lovely place, with multiple swimming pools, pure white sand beaches, very well appointed rooms and suites, and very friendly staff. While there, in addition to doing a bit of shopping we managed to take a few day trips to see the local sights, including one by motor boat to a small cluster of islands about 100 KM off shore called the Similans where we did some snorkling and walking in the surf. Very pleasant. We were visited there by a friend of mine from high school who was in Thailand on business and had a couple of free days before returning to Toronto. We had a great dinner, a few glasses of wine and talked about old times and people from high school we were still in touch with. Evenings like that can risk becoming like a line from the Springsteen song “Glory Days”, but at the same time it is nice to hear about how folks are doing and the various life experiences they have had over the past 35+ years. It was a great evening.
On the return trip, we stopped here in Japan just to take a quick look around as Donna had not been here before. From the Hilton Narita, it is about an hour’s trip into downtown Tokyo via the JR train line leaving Narita airport. Great service, and a reasonable price (about $30 per person each way). From the Tokyo train station, it is just a short walk to the Imperial Palace gardens, and from there down into some shopping and restaurant areas south of the station. As might be expected on a Saturday night, the area was packed with people. On a previous trip here I had one heck of a time getting about, due to my lack of Japanese and the general lack of any English on the street and rail station signs, but this time around it was much, much easier. In those cases when we couldn’t figure something out, we had no trouble finding someone who could help – if you get the chance to visit, I recommend it.
The weather in Calgary is certainly colder than what we have enjoyed the past couple of weeks – Phuket was in the upper 20’s to mid 30’s (C) and at home its hovering around the zero mark. I suppose we will manage !