Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sakurajima Walking, Part 14


Trip End


It's now getting close to 4:30. I've been on my feet since 12:30 or so, and according to the street signs I've gone 8 km (4 miles), but I'd like to think it's at least closer to 6 miles. Anyway, I haven't eaten anything other than the peanut brittle cookie thing since breakfast, and there's no stores in the area selling real food. I'm reminded of the Haisoki manga, and the inability to find a good ramen restaurant. Occasionally I'd passed bus stops, and the next one would be coming some time around now. The sidewalks have been getting narrower, and I'm now at a spot along a bridge where there's not a lot of shoulder space along the street. When I do find the next bus stop, I decide it's time to head back. But...


(I wonder if it has a hiking trail?)

There are two concerns. First is that the next bus is supposed to arrive at 4:34 PM, but I don't know if it keeps the same schedule on Sundays as on the rest of the week (if not, there may be no bus). Second is that I'm just now realizing that I spent my last 1,000 yen bill at the gift shop on puddings and yuzu squash, and all I have left is a 5,000 yen note ($50 USD). In the time remaining, I try hiking farther along the road to find a store or something to get change. There's another gas station, but this one is closed, too. I return to the bus stop, and pour water from my 2 liter bottle into a smaller bottle to make it easier to carry. As I'm trying to put the caps back on the bottles, the bus arrives. I scoop up the bottles, backpack and cameras and race to get on board, then try to ask the driver about the fare. It takes a couple of minutes for him to understand my question, then he answers, "No, I can't accept 5,000 yen bills". I'm getting ready to get back off the bus when he adds that I can get change from one of the gift shops next to the ferry port building at the end of the ride.


(Red - where I planned to go. Blue, where I went. The bus stop was named "Kawa ana" (River Hole), but it doesn't show up as a place name on google maps.)

15 minutes later, we reach the ferry port. The driver tells me that the fare is 260 yen ($2.60 USD), and points me to a konbini across the street. There, I try finding a sandwich, but the place is sold out. I buy a can coffee instead, and return to the bus, where the driver is loading on about 20 passengers. He seems relieved to see me, and happily thanks me for the money. I'm just happy I didn't have to spend another 2 hours backtracking my route on foot.

What I really wanted with my actual route was to go around the southern end of Sakurajima and get far enough to the other side to be able to see the volcano cone. Maybe next time. Since the fare was only 260 yen, I may take the bus both ways and save myself some time.

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