Monday, July 9, 2007

Kyoto - Gold Or Silver, It's All The Same

It was kind of a late start in the morning, due to the late night before. But I had business to do, if you catch my drift, so step number one was finding a western toilet. I struck the jackpot with the seventh floor of a department store - western toilets not only in separate stalls, but separate rooms. Unfortunately, the store is only open from 10 AM to 8 PM, so I'll just have to get my body on some sort of schedule. This makes two poop-related stories so far, for those of you keeping track.

I then made my way to Kyoto Station to attempt to figure out the bus and subway system. And let me tell you, Kyoto Station is impossible to miss. It is absolutely enormous, and almost entirely covered in glass. I spent about an hour there, exploring the millions of shops and restaurants inside, and then piked up my two day bus/subway pass. I first took a bus out to Kinkaku-ji, a famous golden temple. It was nice, but I have seen much better temples, and for free, too. Plus it was way, way too crowded. I had a feeling that would happen all over Kyoto.

The next stop was Ginkaku-ji, a famous silver temple that was never completed and therefore has no silver on it. But I figured I should get the golden and "silver" temples out of the way. Before going to the actual temple, I took some side paths next to it, which wound up into the mountains. I ended up spending hours up there. The area was just little houses and cafes mostly around this small little river, and it all had a really European feel to it. Up in the mountains were all sorts of really ancient forests and temples and Zen gardens. There were only a couple other people exploring these back roads, so it was perfect. Reluctantly I went back to the main temple and paid 500 yen to get in and see gardens and temples crammed with people and inferior to the ones I had just been in for free. Unless something looks amazing, I will be doing my best to avoid paying for any other temples.

By the time I got back it was starting to get dark, so I strolled along the river again, where I saw at least five geishas pouring tea and sitting at tables with businessmen at one restaurant. I snapped a picture, but you can't see much, since I tried to sneak it.
There's one in yellow next to the three
guys in white on the left, and one in pink.
Of course, I could be lying and you
wouldn't know the difference.

After dinner, I returned to the hostel, where Ben was watching Crank, that really stupid Jeremy Statham flick. After that, we started A Night At The Museum, but it kept skipping, so we turned it off and Ben and Andrew went out to meet a friend. Katie and Laura were just getting back, and a new girl from Australia named Chloe had just gotten in, so we all decided to watch a movie. We put Laura in charge, who chose The Devil Wears Prada. I vetoed it, and she came back with The Prestige or Happy Feet. The Prestige it is!

What followed was an hour of four adults trying to get a DVD player to work. Eventually the girls forced me to go up to the fifth floor lounge and steal their DVD player without providing any excuses for what I was doing. Of course, we couldn't get this one to work either, and just as we were all starting to complain about what we would do all week (Me: "I want to go home." Katie: "Laura, this is half the reason we booked this place for five more nights!") Andrew and Ben came back. Andrew is a technology whiz, so he got the thing going in roughly three minutes. But then the disc was bad, so he ended up just hooking his computer to the TV so we could all watch Sin City from it. Hopefully it doesn't happen again after Andrew and Ben leave the hostel, because we'll all be screwed. The best I could do was turn it off and turn it back on, and then unplug it and plug it back in. And the best Laura had was, "At home we just press the button with the arrow coming out of the square. Do we have that here?" It's good to see I'm not the only one challenged by simple things.

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