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Shikoku Day 2

We woke up late on day 2 (about 9am), crawled out of our tent behind the garbage can, and took a breath of fresh sea air. Packed up the tent and rode through a little village similar to those which we had, for the most part, missed the day before because we were so pressed for time to make it to the main island of Shikoku.

Right in the village where we had stayed, we found a great house for sale. It was dilapidated and the yard filled with junk, offering a great opportunity to take on a fixer-upper project. I was ready to buy it on the spot. Unfortunately, Tomoe's company doesn't have an office on Oshima. I took a photo of the phone-number though, and I'm keeping it in the back of my mind... It really would be a great place to live. The yard was big enough to fulfill all our fruit and veggie needs, there are no high-rise apartments around blocking the sun, and, it is walking distance from the coast where I could kayak around the Seito Inland Sea every day.

Anyway, we made it around Oshima, planning to ride across the bridge to the mainland, but for some reason decided to take a ferry which dropped us off right in the middle of Imabari, over an hour out of our way in the wrong direction. While there, we ran into an old man who really wanted to tell us about the ship-propeller industry there. That threw us another hour off schedule. Finally, we got lost on the way out of the city, so ended up taking the long way back to our planed route. While we were supposed to be camping in the mountains tonight between Matsuyama and Kochi, we had to change our plan, making Matsuyama our goal for the day.

The ride to Matsuyama was nice, but required following a highway, breathing in the toxic fumes of vacationers in their cars and trucks. I can't call it the greatest day of the trip, but it beats sitting behind a computer.




We arrived in Matsuyama quite early. The only thing there really is to do there is take a bath in the famous Dogo onsen, but it was too early for that, so we parked our bikes and took the trolly train around the city for a couple hours waiting to get hungry enough to really enjoy a good dinner.

Dinner tasted great. I wish I could remember the name of the shop we ate at. Not to recommend it though, to warn you not to go there. From the minute we walked in, they made it their goal to rip us off. As we were looking at the selection of fresh fish, trying to decide, the cook offered to just cook us up some of his favorites if we told him our budget. That sounded good, but we still wanted to order some of our own choices separately, so we told him 3000 yen for both of us. He agreed, and we later found that he tried to fake misunderstanding, planning to charge us 3000 yen each. Luckily, we caught him before he could complete his little plot. When we got the bill later however, he had only charged us 3000 yen instead of 6000, but it was still outrageously high. They didn't give us a receipt, so I asked for it, and he gave me a piece of paper with some scribbles. I asked him to go through it itemized, and he said "See, 100 yen, 500 yen, 350 yen" etc... without telling me what the actual food was. After some pressing, I found some items we had not ordered, and am sure there were still some others, but having gotten the bill a little closer to what it should have been, we decided to call it quits. The food was really good after all.

It was getting late, so we head back to the onsen which was quite a disappointment. One point of advice about Japan. If something is famous, skip it. Such places can exist on their fame alone, luring hordes of clientele who care less about quality than about saying they visited a famous onsen. It was crowded, small, no soap (standard in most baths), no beer in the rest area, no cold bath. In it's defense, it was cheap, and the water was hot.

After the bath, we hit the streets of Matsuyama looking for a place to pitch our tent. We met an old man who gave us the run down. Basically the park where had planned to stay was not a good idea. A couple years ago there was a violent incident. Apparently it is still unsafe. Instead he directed us to the river, telling us to beware of the wild dogs.

All in all, it was a great day. Tomorrow we head over the mountains toward Kochi.

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Comments

I love seeing the pictures and hearing about your trip. Keep them coming.

actually, i went to dogo onsen last december and it was great. we took the somewhat deluxe version (maybe 700 yen) and we had a very nice soak room with soap and blow dryers and the people were super nice (one guy soaped up my towel, as i was a novice, right on my thigh). no beer, just tea, it was 7 am after all.

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