We had a very long travel day for our two hour flight.
We were ready to leave the house by 9. I wanted to be sure that we had time to take the bus if there wasn’t a taxi available. I don’t know why the AAFES taxis have such small trunks. One suitcase fit in the trunk. The other suitcase squished in the backseat with the three of us. The stroller sat up front.
Because of the taxi, we had about an hour to kill at Dondaegu express bus terminal. Clarissa had a great time going up and down the stairs and trying to open all of the lockers.
I forgot that the bus terminals usually only have squatties. I didn’t really want to attempt that with my two year old audience. so we waited for the handicapped bathroom. I was glad that I packed toilet paper for our trip because there wasn’t any available.
The bus was really nice. We had more legroom than on KTX. It was about 10,000 won ($9 USD) to take a bus directly to Gimhae Airport in Busan. It only took about 70 minutes. Clarissa enjoyed looking out the window.
The airport wasn’t as big as I expected. The check in line was long. But, in classic Korean fashion, they opened a new line just for families of small children so we didn’t wait long.
There were only two food court options. We decided on bulgogi bibimbap and some spring rolls. The spring rolls were ready first. Clarissa confiscated them. She immediately said “mine” and dragged them in front of her. I was thrilled because she rarely gets excited about adult food. She actually ate several of them and was reluctant to share.
The bibimbap was delicious. There were a few appetizers that I didn’t recognize. The hollow sand dollar looking thing was actually pretty tasty. The yellow rectangles ended up being eggs.
Our flight from Busan to Tokyo was from 2-4 in the afternoon so I wasn’t really expecting a meal on the plane. They served a traditional Japanese lunch with shrimp, egg, mushrooms, and rice. Our favorite part was probably the rice cakes. They were two different flavors, each with a fruity filling in the middle. I bet you can guess which part of the meal Clarissa actually ate.
Japan has the most efficient immigration process I have ever seen. We only waited in line about five minutes. They asked a couple of questions, fingerprinted us (of course mine don’t scan correctly in any country), took our picture and sent us on our way. At first, we could not find the baggage claim for our flight. I eventually saw our flight number third on a list and assumed it was because our bags were not out yet.
I knew we would still have another bus ride before the hotel so Clarissa and I ran laps around the baggage claim. Yes. I am THAT mom. After about fifteen minutes or so, our flight came off the list and Tim went to ask the baggage information people about it. Our suitcases and stroller were ready for us on a cart. Oops. Like I said, marvelously efficient.
We exchanged our money and then went to find the limousine bus to our hotel. Apparently it comes once per hour and we had missed the last one by 5 minutes. The taxi from the airport to our hotel would be about an hour and cost 25,000 yen which is like $250. The bus for the three of us was 6,000 yen which is closer to $50. So we waited. Grabbed some snacks at the convenience store because there wasn’t another option.
The bus ride was very pleasant. The seats were comfortable. I think we would have enjoyed it more during the day. It was dark and we were tired. But we did get to see some neat lights around Tokyo during our 90 minute bus ride.
When we checked in to the hotel, they gave Clarissa a present. Really it was a bag of toiletries for kids. She got a kid sized toothbrush, slippers, and a washcloth. All have bears. She was thrilled!
She decided to wear her new slippers to dinner. They will probably still fit her when we move back to the US in 2018. They fell off about every three steps that she ran. It took a while to get to dinner.
There are four restaurants at our hotel. We had been warned about prices in Tokyo, but there was definitely some sticker shock while looking at the menus.
We decided on the Bamboo Lounge near the lobby. It was the cheapest. They seated us near the Christmas tree fountain.
I ordered an “American sandwich” with french fries for Clarissa. I was gluten-free the ten years before we moved to Korea, so I have never really been big into sandwiches. But this was the best sandwich I have ever eaten. No offense to anyone who has ever made me a sandwich… It had chunks of chicken breast, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. There was also a sauce of some kind. It looked like ketchup and mayonnaise but tasted way better. Clarissa ate most of the fries, but they were good too.
Tim got a raw tuna rice bowl. It came with miso soup.
He also got green tea. They make it way different in Japan than Korean. The green tea started as a mound of green ice cubes. Then the server added cold milk. Finally there was a liquid green tea sugar.
By the time we returned to the room it was about 9:30. We were definitely ready for some sleep after our long day.