London, United Kingdom
51° 30' N 0° 7' W
Oct 19, 2004 10:45
Distance 385km

Text written in: English

Departure from Netherlands

October 19th, exactly one month after I left South America I left Europe. First stop? London for a 3 hour wait for my connecting British Airways flight to Tokyo. Heathrow was still expensive but I managed to get a decent lunch for about 7 pounds sterling before boarding my flight where I was condemned to eating flight meals again.

Inflight entertainment was excellent and the flight was very smooth. We flew over Norway and over Nova Zembla only to fly in a southerly direction again north of the Koreas. Arrival in Tokyo was a rainy one. Miserable weather as they were suffering from their tenth typhoon or so in the last three months.

Immigration was fast and efficient and thank God and Allah my luggage had arrived as well. Time to have a look around the arrival hall of the airport and trying to find my way into the city, some 65 kilometers away.

The Tourist Information was extremely helpful and they spoke excellent English. Brilliant. I booked one of the cheap hotels just 20 minutes by metro from downtown Tokyo and the price of 2800 yen was excellent. Cheaper than the cheapest hotel in Amsterdam. Not bad for the most expensive city in the world as Tokyo is according to those listings that come out every year.

Taking the metro was the cheapest, 1000 yen for the 77 minute trip. The express train, taking 60 minutes would cost 1980 Yen, almost double the price of the slow one and only saving 17 minutes!!! Of course I was not paying about 10 euros extra for 17 minutes!

Metro stations were signposted in both roman script and kanji, the Japanese characters, making things easy to get around. Some signs like exit, keep left, entry etc were even in English. Nice. Much better than China where I felt like a death and blind disabled tourist, not being able to ask for directions or read anything at all.