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July 12th 2013
Published: July 12th 2013
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arrived in Narita Japan yesterday around 4:30 pm. I was exhausted since I didn't sleep on the plane except the last 20minutes. (At that time I fell asleep and I was the last one on the plane. The flight attendants had to come by and wake me up). I took a look at the airport terminal and thought about staying 20 hours sleeping stretched out on a bank of seats or the floor and went straight to the hotel reservations information desk and did something that is so uncharacteristic of me. I booked a relatively cheap room in a nearby hotel with free shuttle service for $64/night and came straight to the hotel...Narita Gateway Hotel. I tried to explore the area/neighborhood but we're right on the freeway -- one of those hotels typically near an airport where people check in overnight for a connection -- so not really much to explore. There is however a lovely Japanese garden outside with a pool filled with goldfish but the weather here is very hot and humid -- over 100 degrees so not very pleasant. I found the gym downstairs and got the stationary bike to work so bike for about 25 minutes and then checked out the dining room...about $20 for a buffet that looked fabulous but since I had already had 2 meals in the last 14 hours on the plane I didn't think I was really hungry or really needed anything. I resisted the temptation to drink some coffee or even green tea because I really wanted to sleep.
So, I went to my room, fell asleep at 7 pm and slept through til 3 am when I got up, turned on the TV to a station that is basically music and travel scenes, fixed some green tea, and then sat to do some writing in my journal. Then I took a nice long hot bath which I can hardly ever do since my stopper in my bathtub doesn't work and I haven't fixed it. And then I came downstairs to rearrange my shuttle reservation...I had reserved a seat on the 6:30 am thinking that it takes 20 minutes to go to the airport and my boarding time is 9:15 based on the advice of the desk clerk. The catch of course is that breakfast does not start until 6:30 so I would miss breakfast. I think that since I don't have extra bags (they're checked to Guangzhou) and because I didn't have dinner last night, I was going to change my shuttle reservation to 7 am and have breakfast here and then go. It's ridiculous that I somehow have to review these minor decisions ad nauseum. I am going to try not to sweat the small stuff but I know it's going to be difficult.
In any case, now I'm in the lobby of the Narita Gateway Hotel, on the wifi in the lobby, waiting for breakfast and then I'll take the shuttle to Narita Airport in Narita Japan. My flight to Guangzhou China boards at 9:15 am and I'll arrive there after 1 pm. From there I take China Souther Airlines to Guiyang at 8:10 pm arriving at 9:50 pm where friends of Judy's -- Diane and Simon who are English teachers (or at least she is) will meet me and let me stay with them Friday night.
On Saturday I will meet 2 other staff members -- a young teacher-in-training and the grandson of the president of Zigen who will volunteer with us for the 2-week program -- and we will all travel by bus to HuangPing County where the teacher training program will take place.
Judy has already checked into the hotel where we are staying. Last year I was right over the karaoke bar and got no sleep -- it was a nightmare because the walls of the room were actually shaking at some points with all the booming going on. It was also a 3-story walk-up which proved to be a problem for Judy.
This year they have found another place for us to stay with an elevator and I hope no karaoke. Judy reports that the room is quite small with little room for storage of clothes and other items but that she has removed the hotel computer (that's unusual) and cleared a space for her materials. We'll see.
The teachers will not be arriving until july 14 so we cannot interview them and set up the classes until Monday -- The plan was to do this on Sunday which is why I was coming early. It is what it is, as they say.
Everything here is so quiet. There is classical music playing very softly in the background; the lobby is decorated in old European style decor with a chandelier in the center of the room, gilded framed lithographs from the Louvre, and old Louis XIV style chairs. I like that ambience -- it's nice to be able to sit quietly and think.
Two other people came in and they are sitting across from me glued to their cell phones. That is another aspect of modern culture that is somehow not so pleasant -- we are all consumed by our attachments to gadgets -- I think Anna was saying something about someone telling her that developing psychic powers really was impeded by the use of electronics. We develop our "psychic" powers by becoming more attuned to what is going on around us -- sharpening our perceptions -- and I do see a difference even in myself and I wouldn't say that I'm super plugged in.
So much for my reflections. This year I'm going to write more -- the last 2 summers I didn't in part because I didn't think anyone was interested. But this summer I've decided that I'm going to send you all tomes of material whether you read it or not.
Breakfast at Narita Gateway Hotel this morning at 6:30, packed onto a full shuttle to airport, walked through security with no problems or people Now boarding to go to Guangzhou.
Narita Airport has huge windows that let a lot of sunlight in but creates a greenhouse effect -- no AC when the public areas are not in use, motion sensors on electronic movingwalkways that start when someone approaches. Everyone here is so efficient!

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