Published: June 10th 2009August 23rd 2005
So I'm in Ishigaki now and this place is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I spent the rest of the afternoon on monday walking around the shops in Naha again and even though my boat didn't leave til 8pm I planned to get there around 7pm just to be on the safe side, so i started to make my way back to the ferry terminal around 6.30pm that evening, knowing it may take me a while to walk back with my backpack, and it probably sounds silly that I went that early but I used every minute of that time, as things turned out not as I would have hoped. Not bad, but well let me explain...
I walked to the ferry terminal that I had been dropped off at the night before and, when I bought my ticket for this boat trip a few weeks ago 2nd class was already booked out so I had to buy a 1st class ticket, which sounds better that it actually was, I mean it was good but.... Anyway, I had noticed on the last ferry that I caught that they let the 1st class passengers board earlier than the
rest, about an hour before so I planned to get there around 7pm, and sure enough after my very long walk I reached the ferry terminal at 7.05pm. I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice so I went to the ticket office so they could give me a different ticket and room number only to find out that I was at the wrong ferry terminal!! When I asked where the other one was he gave me a brief description of "over that way" and said it would take about 45 minutes to walk there, well I didn't have this type of time on my hands so what did I have to do, catch one of those very expensive taxis that I had been trying so hard to avoid! Thinking that this would only take 10 minutes at tops I wasn't worried, annoyed with myself that I hadn't checked the ferry terminal but not worried. I jumped in the taxi and told him where to go and you'll never guess how long it took, about 45 minutes! Why? Roadworks! We were stuck in traffic for that long and the more we sat the more I started to worry, the
driver could obviously notice this because he asked if I were in a hurry and I said that I had a ferry to catch at 8pm. Well then he miraculously found a short cut!!! Some taxi drivers can be so frustrating! Cheeky little....
I arrived and luckily there was no queue this time so i didn't have to wait but they did have a shuttle bus that was taking people to the ferry which I had to wait for, but all the people were catching my boat so I stopped worrying that I would miss it, Few! Lucky I left early!
So, the 1st class ticket was a godsend, I was in a room that accommodated 4 people but it was only me and a middle aged lady, who was very quiet! And I got given an outside cabin so I had a view of the ocean which was really nice and we also had our own bathroom and my bed was relatively comfortable, it is definitely better in 1st class, but I had to pay for it, it wasn't cheap.
I arrived in Ishigaki island at 10.30am the next morning and once again had no idea
how to get to the centre of town and how to get from there to my accommodation. There were a few maps on the sides of the streets so I just followed them and soon enough found myself in the middle of town, not that it's that big but you could tell that this was where all the action took place. From there I had printed off a map from the internet that showed me how to get to my accommodation and as they didn't have a certain check in time I decided to make my way there straight away. Well I walked for a good 20 minutes and it was so so so hot, sweating profusely yet again. I found the petrol station that was just up the street but couldn't find the place so I was wandering around for some time. Soon I noticed that there was a Japanese guy hanging around, I remembered passing him more than once and at first I ignored him but it was obvious that he was following me so i turned around to see what he wanted and tell him where to go and he must have seen the look on my
face because before I could say a word he just said "lost?", I then decided he might know where this place was so I asked him and as it turned out he is also staying there as well so he showed me how to get there. He said he thought I looked lost and that there was only a couple of places in that area where you could stay, and he also knew that a new person was arriving at his accommodation that day and wondered if it was me, well lucky for me he came across me wandering around. So we went back to this little guesthouse called Costa del Sol, which is run by a young guy, and it is so laid back and relaxing. It's just a house that he had converted into a few rooms, all dormitory style, but the house has exposed wooden beams and a thatched roof and tatami mats inside and it just has a really beachy feeling. There are tropical flowers and trees in the yard and some seats where you can sit outside, and the guy is really nice. There are 8 people staying there at the moment, 4 girls and
These are found on top of houses in Okinawa, to protect them from evil spirits
4 guys, the girls are all quiet and keep to themselves mostly but the guys are all really friendly, it feels like living with a group of friends or something.
Anyway, back to yesterday, after I arrived the japanese guy who had showed me the way, whose name is Kouji, said he was going to another little island just off the coast for the afternoon and asked if I would like to go too, I didn't have any plans so i went along. First we went to a little restaurant because I hadn't eaten anything yet and he paid for it for me! And then we went down to the ferry terminal and caught a speed boat over to this other little island called Taketomi. The ride over only took 10 minutes and it was so much fun, bouncing up and down on the waves! When we arrived we picked up a map and set out, it only took us a couple of hours to walk around the whole island, it was tiny! But absolutely gorgeous! It had a very small village in the middle where people lived but apart from that it's mainly uninhabited. The village was composed of
sandy streets and walls made of coral and hibiscus flowers everywhere and there were also ox-drawn carts that you could ride, but we didn't because we could walk a lot faster than the ox! The coast was beautiful beaches and we went to them too, the water an aqua blue, the sand white. One of the beaches in particular is famous because the sand is star shaped. I didn't actually believe Kouji when he told me but sure enough it is! It's actually the skeletons of sea creatures that are in the shape of stars, they are tiny but definitely stars! It was amazing. After a few hours there we had seen the whole island so headed back to Ishigaki and our guesthouse, it was a really cool day and Kouji turned out to be a really nice guy, even though my first impressions were that he might be a stalker! I didn't do anything for the rest of the afternoon except hang out at my little guesthouse with the others and go into town for dinner.
This morning I decided I wanted to head to the beach to start working on my tan, so I decided to go
to a place called Kabira Bay which is in the north of the island, and takes about 35 minutes to get to by bus. So I made my way down to the bus station and bought my ticket and just as I was about to get on the bus it started to rain! Can you believe that! Well I still went and when we arrived it was still raining, but I sat in a little cafe there for half an hour and it did eventually stop, and I am so glad I didn't just turn around and go back because the bay and beaches and scenery were breath-taking! It isn't on the coast as such, more inland and well as the name says a bay, so no waves, just crystal clear flat water, white sand and little islets scattered throughout the bay which are covered in tropical trees, it was (again) amazing! I walked around for a while and then sat on the beach, doing absolutely nothing. You know when you're stressed or just had a bad day and people say to picture yourself on a tropical island or something, well this is place in those dreams, something so unreal
but it does exist! And I was sitting there!
I spent a few hours there and made my way back to town, I have been walking around the little streets and shops here since then. This place is so gorgeous, if there aren't palm trees lining the streets then its hibiscus, what more could you want?
So that's my last couple of days in tropical paradise, I'm catching another ferry tomorrow morning (yes, another one!) to a different island called Miyakojima which is a bit bigger and I'll be there for 4 nights, I'm loving this!
Bye for now.
There are more photos below