Where to begin? At the beginning!

I’m going to have to cut this down into a few posts because I have so much info and pics and not enough time. SO here is the long version first day of my trip to Vancouver Island.

Wow, Vancouver Island is beautiful! It has such a big British influence, and with lots of English tourists too. It is, afterall, the capital city of British Columbia!
I got the fancy pacific coach bus from Vancouver and it drove me to the ferry. Sitting up so high and in my comfy seat it made me want to do some more bus touring – like maybe a coach trip somewhere? I’m investigating!! Anyway, we then got to walk around for an hour and a half while the ferry went along.

It was HUGE! Like a mini cruise ship!

It had about 4 restaurants and shops and then another level on top with just seating.

This is what our ship looked like (another one passed us)

We passed through all these little islands with houses and it made me think about the people who must live there.

Then the bus drove me to Douglas Street (which is the main street in Victoria) and I walked up to my hotel and checked in. The place I stayed at has several restaurants, a pub and nightclub on site. The first night my room looked out on the rooftop sand volleyball court and bar.

That was all well and good during the day but when the music didnt stop until 2am it was a bit much for me. I ended up going down at about midnight to complain to the front desk, but they were all booked out and couldnt move me. He gave me some earplugs but they didnt work. So the next afternoon when the music started I ended up going down to inquire if there were any other rooms available since I was still there for 2 more nights. It turned out that I was in luck, and they moved me to another room on the other side of the hotel. I slept like a LOG for the rest of my trip. AMEN! Anyway, back to day one haha.

So after I’d settled a bit in my room I went for a walk down to the harbour.

There were so many people about!! I walked in some souveneir stores and then headed down towards the empress hotel.

It’s a beautiful ivy covered old building, and a bit further along was the parliament buildings.

I really felt the English touches, and noticed English accents and even Irish around. I hadnt noticed that in Vancouver for a while and it was nice!! Then I noticed right down beside the harbour there was a market on. As I walked down to check it out I realised that there were about 12 stalls that featured native first nations selling their wares.

They were actually sitting there, on the grass with their beads and wooden carvings on the ground – proud and strong. I had to stop myself from crying. I’m such a strange person. This was the first real group of first nations I had ever seen together in one spot and it touched me so deeply. I was way too shy to ask the questions I wanted to and couldnt buy anything. I felt unworthy.

So I walked around some more and then I got a lemon lime float. The sound of a brass band drew me back to the parliament buildings and I noticed signs saying that the roads will be closed off tomorrow.

I later found out that there was actually going to be a proper parade with floats and bands and everything the next day! Very exciting! hahaha.

Stay tuned for day two!


Did I just do that? It doesnt sound like me.

I did something this morning that is very out of character. I got into the lift in my hotel to go down to breakfast and there was a guy in there with a suitcase – I presumed he was checking out. I’m staying on the 2nd floor, and I noticed that the 1st floor button was pressed as well as the ground lobby, but I didnt think anything of it. I did my usual ‘stare at the door’ thing, and then we stopped at the first floor. The doors opened and I moved out of the way to either let the guy off or someone else in but there was no-one at the door and he didnt move. Then he said (laughing) “sorry, that was me. I pressed the wrong button.” I turned around for a second and noticed that he was quite cute, then smiled and said “no problem!”

I got out at the lobby and went to the breakfast room and I presumed he went to check out. Then when I was sitting at a seat I noticed him walk past outside and he didnt have his suitcase with him. He must have left it at the desk while he did a few things around the city, I thought. As I ate my breakfast some strange part of me formulated a plan. I would go upstairs after I’d eaten and I would write him a letter and then I would ask the front desk to give it to him.

So I went to my room and I wrote:
“Hi! My name is Alesha. We met on the lift, I got on at the 2nd floor and you accidently pressed the 1st floor button. I dont ever do this but I thought you seemed really nice so I wanted to give you my email address in the off chance that you might be heading to Vancouver and want to hang out sometime. I’m Australian and on a working holiday, staying in North Van. It’s an adventure! (insert email address) Take care, Alesha. :)”

On the way down to the lobby I kept debating about whether to do it or not and decided if there was no-one at the desk I would. I always tend to do those little tests. And there was no-one there. So I spoke to the lady and I said “A guy just checked out before and left his suitcase here..”
“Yeah,” she said “did you want to get into it?”
“Oh no, I just wanted to leave him a letter.” I replied.
“Ok sure.” she answered.
“Did you see him?” I said
“Yeah.” she replied.
“Did he have short hair, kinda curly.”
“Yeah, and a suitcase.” she replied.
“Was it a small suitcase?” I answered.
“Hang on.” she said, and went and got it to show me.
“I think thats it, yeah.” I answered.
“Cool, wouldnt want you to give your letter to the wrong guy!” she said.
“Thanks!” I answered and walked away.

I’m not expecting to hear anything (it might not even be the right guy haha) but it was good to do something out of my comfort zone. I’ve always wanted to get a letter like that!

I will be doing a HUGE post all about my time here on Vancouver Island when I get back to North Van. I’m leaving here tomorrow. My camera battery died, so I cant upload the photos I have taken and had to buy a disposable camera today.
I have so many little stories I wouldnt know where to start, so the wrap up post should be up soon!

Through the window -outfit post!

Alrighty, it’s high time for an outfit shot! I thought I’d take advantage of my hotel room this morning before I up and leave in an hr or so for the final time.

Now here are some funny self closeups.

Dress – night owl by Annelise for Sussan
Top – sussan
Slip – thrifted
Tights – black from sussan and purple from a sample sale
Boots – Myer
Hairband – reworked -it was a sash from a dress
Necklace – gift

The sun is out again today! But I’m hoping it’s not as windy as yesterday. On the news it said that there were 100km winds at one stage and several boats were washed up on Kits beach. I’m watching the trees outside my window and they dont seem to be moving to much, so it should be ok!

I took a few photos the other night from my window of the progression of sunset and night coming. Thought it’d make an interesting photolog.

Have a lovely day!!

ohayo gozaimasu from tokyo

Hello! I am safe and yes, I’ve arrived in Tokyo. Ohayo Gozaimasu (that means good morning!). What an adventure it has been so far! Just getting to my hotel was pretty crazy. My first flight in the morning was to Brisbane, where I caught a connecting flight to Tokyo. When I was walking down the aisle to get on the plane I thought to myself ‘I am going to Japan!’ and I was happy. This was the view of the sunrise from the windows of the plane – so pretty!

So, we landed and what I hadnt remembered was that Brisbane airport has two terminals – one for domestic and one for international – so I had to rush around to try and find out how to get there to make my connecting flight. I eventually found a bus and by the time I got through immigration and looked at the flight board it said my plane was boarding in 20 minutes. Yeah, we cut that one a bit fine! While I was waiting I went and got some money changed over into smaller amounts (they were more helpful than melbourne airport) and then took this photo before I boarded.

This was my view for the next 8 hours.

And this was the tiny, tiny screen where I watched three movies – Whip it, The Blind Side and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. The Blind Side was the best of the three, I almost cried several times.
Whilst flying I decided that I’m not a fan of long haul flights – I dont know how anyone can sit on a plane for longer than I did, I couldnt sleep and after a sleepless night before I was worn out.

When we finally arrived at Narita Airport we were ushered into a small train, which then took us to the main airport. We waited at immigration for around an hour, before collecting my bags and going out through customs! Next I had to find the luggage storage to keep my huge suitcase at the airport for the 4 days I’d be travelling. I asked three people for help and even though they didnt speak much english they all did their best to send me in the right direction. The Japanese are so polite and helpful! After more confusion and asking one more person I found myself on the right level and checking my bag in. Hopefully I can find it when I want my bag back! hahaha.

Ok so then I had to find the japanese JTB rail window, where I had been told I could convert the rail pass I had bought before I left. After asking someone I found the window, and the queue that was waiting just like me. Half an hour or so later I was served and promptly handed my new japan rail pass (something I’ll need today for my trip to Kyoto!).

I followed where I had been told to go and ended up on one of many, many platforms. Everything was written in japanese, so I wasnt too sure if I was in the right spot but I thought I was. You may have heard Japan is big on these things.

I just wanted some water and it took me a while to find it – right next to this interestingly named drink.

Pocari Sweat? Who is he and why do people drink that? Hehehe.
I took some headache tablets and tried to will myself to feel better. At this stage I just wanted to curl up in a ball – I needed sleep, I had a headache, I was hungry, my bags were annoying me and I felt a little overwhelmed to say the least.

Then a train pulled up and I checked with the man beside me if this was mine, he said it was – so I hopped on and found my seat. A lovely japanese lady hopped out of the row so I could put my bags in first (I had the window seat) and then in the process of trying not to hit her with my bags getting them infront of my seat I smashed my head on the bar above the window that I hadnt noticed. I couldnt help but laugh.

It was dark outside, so I couldnt see too much of Japan passing by – my eyes were closed half the time so that was ok by me. I kept thinking about how when the train stopped at Tokyo main station I had to find my way onto three more trains and three other lines before I’d get to my hotel. The time was quarter past 8pm and I was thinking of other options. I made a choice to try to get a taxi from the station, as I thought it might be easier and quicker. I didnt care if it’d be expensive I just wanted to get to my hotel. I looked at the huge signs detailing every different line in the station, desperately trying to find an exit. Swarms of people walked around me and I felt lost in an endless sea. Still, I pushed myself and followed the way I thought I was meant to be going. The tunnels went left and right and winded around for ages. After help from another lady I found my way out into the open. I could breathe.

This was my first real look at Tokyo and I liked what I saw. I crossed the road and headed in the direction of a line of what I thought were taxis. I stepped onto the road and the man in the first car opened his window. “I want to go here” I said, and handed him the paper I had so thoughtfully written down with the address of my hotel. He entered a few numbers in his JPS and got out to put my bags in the boot. Then I hopped in and he drove off. He said nothing, as we drove around the streets and I stared in awe at the lights and trees and skyscrapers.

Then he asked me “where you from?” I told him Australia.
“How many time?”
“How many times have I been here? This is my first time.”
“First time? Ok. I tell you places.”

As we drove along he pointed out The Imperial Palace, Ginza provence, Tokyo Tower, The Parliament Building (which looks a little like our shrine of rememberence), The Canadian Embassy (funny that!) and then we arrived at my hoteI. I tell you what – when I saw the sign it was like a beacon of hope to me. I was so happy! I thanked the taxi man, gave him a tip and then checked myself in. I went to bed right away and slept well.
My room is tiny! But it has all that I need! I will be checking out the breakfast buffet soon – on the menu is dried seaweed, fermented soybeans, japanese pickles and grilled fish. I think I’ll stick to eggs, bacon and bread. Then I might go for a wander along the streets before checking out and heading to the train.

I am feeling better after my sleep, and looking forward to some more exploring!