Sunday, October 09, 2016

Bon Voyage!

"Well, Lizzy, on pleasure bent again. Never thought of what your poor parents will suffer in your absence."
                                                                                                           --Mr. Bennet

I know you all thought I had abandoned you forever, but here we are! Almost a year after my last update (when things were starting to look up after the disaster of 2014), I'm back and ready to lavish attention on my blog and you, my dear readers.

So what prompted this return to form? A big trip, of course! If you've read my blog over the years, then you know that I generally use it as a travel journal of sorts, chronicling my adventures all over the world. In just a few short days I'll be departing for a jam-packed tour of Asia with stops in Japan, China, and Taiwan! Many people have asked me about my itinerary and all the places we're visiting so I thought a blog post was in order.

But first, let me tell you the story of how this trip came about. Three years ago, in April 2013, Chris, Kent, and Monique and I went on a cruise to Hawaii (you can find the posts about that trip here, here, here, and here).  Most cruise companies will offer substantial benefits and/or discounts if you book a future cruise while on a current cruise. We took a look at the offerings and since none of us had ever been to Asia....we decided to go for it! Fall of 2016 seemed nice and far in the future so we booked a cruise and never looked back.

(My friends and I have a habit of booking vacations waaaaaay in the future and then when they actually arrive, we're like, "OMG this snuck up on me, I'm not ready!")

And here we are! We've had a couple changes along the way--we ended up switching itineraries somewhere back in 2015 and Kent decided to stay home to cuddle with his adorable pup, so Bayard, my boyfriend, was able to sneak right in to the group. He's a lover of all things Japanese and speaks the language so everyone is happy to have him along.

Here's the plan:

On Thursday, October 13th, Bay and I will fly to Tokyo (switching plans in Toronto) arriving on Friday, October 14th around 4PM. We'll spend the next few days sampling the pleasures of Tokyo until the afternoon of Sunday, October 16th when we board the Celebrity Millennium for a 14 night cruise that will take us to three countries!

Check it out:

My Itinerary

Day   1Sun, Oct 16Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan7:00PMShow now
Day   2Mon, Oct 17Mt Fuji (Shimizu), Japan7:00AM3:00PMShow now
Day   3Tue, Oct 18Kobe, Japan11:00AMShow now
Day   4Wed, Oct 19Kobe, Japan10:00PMShow now
Day   5Thu, Oct 20At Sea
Day   6Fri, Oct 21Nagasaki, Japan10:00AM8:00PMShow now
Day   7Sat, Oct 22At Sea
Day   8Sun, Oct 23Shanghai (Baoshan), China6:00AM10:00PMShow now
Day   9Mon, Oct 24At Sea
Day   10Tue, Oct 25Okinawa, Japan7:00AM3:00PMShow now
Day   11Wed, Oct 26Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan1:00PMShow now
Day   12Thu, Oct 27Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan6:00PMShow now
Day   13Fri, Oct 28At Sea
Day   14Sat, Oct 29Hong Kong, China7:00AMShow now
Day   15Sun, Oct 30Hong Kong, ChinaShow now
We'll get off the ship on Sunday, October 30th in the morning and then spend the next few days in Hong Kong. We'll even be there over Halloween so I am excited to see if there are any interesting celebrations in the city (Hong Kong is obviously the most Western of all Chinese cities).  We'll then fly home the afternoon of Monday, November 1st and arrive home at Washington late that evening.

Whew! Good thing we have some days at sea worked into the cruise itinerary so we can have some time to actually relax!

The prep work for this trip has been a lot more intense than the international travel I've had in the past. Because of the way our itinerary is structured, we need a visa to get into China on the Shanghai leg of the tour and that required multiple trips to the Chinese Embassy visa office. And giving them my passport for four days. That part was a little sketchy, not gonna lie.

But the hard work is over and now it's time to just pack, double check the "to do" list, and try not to think of 1,000 things that could go wrong. Eeeeeek!

I'm hoping this will be more Lost in Translation than Brokedown Palace....