Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ishigaki, part one.

Okay, this is my third rewrite of this entry because the first attempt was yesterday, when I was wracked with the stomach flu, the second attempt tried to put everything in one story and then I realized the pictures pretty much told their own story, so that's how this one's going to go. Feel free to skim, you won't hurt my feelings. I just decided that if this blog is my history of Okinawa, I don't want to leave out the details.

Okay, so you know how sometimes a quick trip can feel as refreshing and far away as a long vacation? This one definitely did because we crammed a lot of fun into three days. We left on Wednesday morning, EARLY because I forget sometimes when I'm making plans that hey! we have a kid and we should be mindful of his schedule. But he was great, napping in the car on the way to the airport and then playing at the gate before we boarded. Luckily, the flight is only 45 minutes because Wyatt was really uninterested in sitting still. We're hoping that changes before we move back to the states. At the very least, it's motivation for strapping him into a carseat!

By 9:30, we were landing on Ishigaki. This little island is southwest of Okinawa and is part of the Ryukyu archipelago, but it's kind of the "hub" of the Yaeyama Islands, which also includes Iriomote (famous for its wild jungle cat that, strangely, looks an awful lot like the cat named George we had growing up), Yonaguni and Taketomi. It lies due east of Taiwan in the wide open East China Sea. Anyway, the big draw of Ishigaki is that it's home to a Club Med (Kabira, to be specific) and who doesn't love the idea of an all-inclusive tropical getaway? The Club Med reps were waiting for us at the airport and whisked us into a waiting taxi for the 40 minute drive. We really didn't know what to expect from the resort; we've heard good things from other people, but it's still Japan and they do things differently here. We were pleasantly surprised to be greeted with an iced jasmine tea, cool cloth and the news that our room was ready. In fact, the doorman got our bags out of the trunk and had the labels waiting for them so he took those to our room as we completed the check-in process.

We requested a crib for Wyatt when we booked the trip and had already gotten confirmation that it would be in our room. We should have known that the Japanese never half-do anything, so they also included a bottle sterilizer, a ceiling projection system, a bathtub, a special diaper can and (as I like to call it) a toilet pony. Now really, where else would they be so thorough in their child-prepping of a room? AND there was a note on the bed letting us know that we could find baby food in the dining room, available for the taking at every meal.

We put Wyatt down for a nap as soon as we got settled in the room, so Jeff & I sat on our patio and enjoyed the view. Jeff left to do a little exploring and returned with two Orions, which is never a bad thing. Seriously, sitting in deck chairs, gazing at the beautiful ocean, sipping yummy beer? That's a good way to start a vacation!

After lunch, we went all got suited up for the pool; no surprise, but Wyatt loved it. The kids area was just shallow enough for him to walk around the outside, holding onto the edge. He also loves Japanese people and - go figure - the resort was full of them and they were equally fascinated with him. Around 3:00, servers started wandering around the pool with big trays of fruit. We learned that Wyatt loves watermelon. He's never had it before (and probably won't again for a while) because watermelon is one of those freakishly expensive things here; you know, like $20 for a small one. But hey, that's what all-inclusive is all about, so Wyatt ate lots of watermelon in three days and we learned to keep an eye on him because he'll eat it right down to the rind!

So day one wrapped up in a not-so-hot way, with Wyatt refusing an afternoon nap and us slamming down an early dinner because he was in NO MOOD to be there. Club Med seems to have the theory that everyone should become friends, which is fine, but also a little embarassing when you're sitting at dinner with very polite Japanese people and your kid is throwing food on the floor. Nice. But we enjoyed talking with Ben, the watersports manager from Australia, during dinner and learned that the staff is very international and rotates from resort to resort every 4-6 months. He seemed to understand when we virtually sprinted from the table to get our seriously cranky kid to bed!

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