The next morning we were greeted by this:
. . . and a giant, ominous raincloud that thwarted our plans to bike home, so we took the train. I was crushed, as you can plainly see.
So, after parting ways with Courtney, Chris, Peter and Lacy (who were spending the day in Hiroshima), Hans and I spent the morning sipping bowls of coffee and saying good bye to this quirky little island. The dusty walkway had transformed into a sea of plastic umbrellas, and there was a kind of weary hush over the crowds that hadn't been there the day before. I found myself a little sad to not only have parted with my friends, but to see this once obnoxious and flamboyant mob reduced to a slow stream of dreary window shoppers. A lady at one of the souvenir shops lent us two umbrellas, and as we wandered the sights one last time, I thought to myself, you know Suz, the people are half the fun of traveling, and all the fun of life. Stuff your lofty ideals and spiritual experiences, and let the carnival sweep you away . . .
The jury is out on how I fared on this adventure. Despite my disappointment in the things I should have anticipated after 3 years in Japan, I had a great time and felt thoroughly invigorated to be traveling again. I kept my complaints to a minimum - the tough bike ride, lack of food, lodging and showers didn't really phase me - in fact, I thrilled at the unpredictability of it all. You can't do this kind of haphazard traveling with a child in tow, so I rather enjoyed being a child myself. What bothers me, what I can't seem to shake, is the awkward social retardedness I felt with everyone around me. I know I haven't been myself lately - that is to say, I haven't been the easiest person to hang around or get along with. I find myself shaken and disoriented because of my personal trials, and at times I feel crippled - to move, speak, or even smile. It's not the first time I've felt distant and reticent despite my colorful surroundings, but I think I passed whatever test I was giving myself. This was a chance for me to prove that I'm not broken - that I'm still kicking. I don't know how successful I was, but I tried. And dammit, I had fun trying.