A Travellerspoint blog

Day 105-108: It's All Over!

Covid19 unfortunately ends our trip early!

While enjoying our free jam and toast hostel breakfast we checked the government website for travel advise (something we seem to have become accustom to doing every couple of hours every day). The pit of the stomach feeling instantly rose as the most recent update was that Malaysia had closed borders to all non nationals. Fuck. Another flight wasted. The main problem was this didn’t leave us with many options, there was now nowhere in Asia we could fly to without being quarantined (which our insurance confirmed we wouldn’t be covered for), irrelevant of quarantine there was nowhere allowing us to fly in to from Japan. It was a disaster and we didn't really know what this meant but deep down we knew the wheels were coming off and it was all coming to an end. We sat for several hours while waiting for our train from Hiroshima to Fukuoka, contemplating our choices. Trying desperately hard to come up with a solution that didn’t involve curtailing our trip.

On arrival at our flat we’ll call home for the foreseeable future we were trying not to let things dampen our spirits. We had this hotel booked until 23rd March, past that everything else was uncertain. We decided best option was to see how things panned out in the next couple of days. Japan’s tourist attractions would be opening again and countries may reopen borders to travelers from Japan. Well we hoped with all our might not wanting our trip to end.

Since it was St Patrick’s day and we’d past an Irish bar on the way here so decided we’d go test out the Guinness. It couldn’t be any worse than the one in Australia! This bar actually had a 2020 certificate to say they had passed some test Guinness holds to prove they consistently pour a great standard pint! At over £7 a pint it better taste good! They also served English classics; sausage and mash, shepherds pie and fish and chips. Now as we didn’t know how long we may have to wait in Japan we opted for the cheaper option... supermarket shop for dinner.

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We bought sausage, carrots and potatoes (Stew fancied some home comforts). Back in the flat we realised we didn’t have anything to peel or chop the potatoes, we had one tiny saucepan, one tiny frying pan and only one hob ring. Not a great start. Handy we have a pocket knife (Andy will happily brag that I said we wouldn’t need it but have actually used it a few times now), carrots in a bowl of water in the microwave, potatoes being mashed with a fork, and four sausages in the pan at a time rotating with the two out of the pan. It really felt like something scouts had prepared me for survival! We had better coming equipment in the camper! Many would’ve just given up and gone out for dinner but we coped. We couldn’t find gravy in the shop (trying to guess what things are based on the pictures is hard and risky), but we found something that resembled something similar. Having no way of heating them up we poured the four tiny cartons into the pan with the sausages (everything here is unnecessarily double or triple packed, the butter we bought was in a plastic tub inside a cardboard box). I would call it a success, the sauce was a gravy hybrid bbq sauce mash up. It did the trick.

The evening was winding down and we were still feeling pretty low when a friend messaged to say the UK had changed travel advise to ‘non but essential travel’ which could invalidate our insurance if we chose to stay out here. Cherry on the cake! We decided to call insurance to talk about curtailing our trip. Since we don’t have any way to use our phones (without it costing £2per minute), half an hour later we were all set up on skype and on hold. After 15 minutes on hold the call picked up and instantly hung up, kind of annoying! Called again and the same thing happened after 15 minutes, what is going on! Called one last time, on hold just short of 45 minutes before the same thing. It was now 2.30am and we decided we’d try again in the morning since it was only an hour or so before the call center in the uk closed anyway.

We hadn’t planned much to do here and while researching found there wasn’t a large amount here, other catching up on blog and hopefully sorting the rest of our trip. A boring couple of days but considering we were supposed to be heading to the rest of Asia the rest of the trip wouldn’t be as laid back. The day was being wasted away until finally we could call the UK again, around 4pm our time. Both of us anxious as to how this was going to impact our trip for definite. Another hour on hold and finally through to someone, half an hour later we hung up. Completely deflated we started searching for our flights home for the next few days. Another hour and a half later and being torn how much flights were, how long layovers were and which airline we were willing to deem safe to fly with (you know, some Asian airlines have disappeared mid flight). Heartbroken we pressed ‘confirm’ and the realization it was all over.

We cancelled our booking for sushi making class for Sunday since we’d be on a flight home by Saturday. A stressful few calls later and all our future flights were either cancelled or in the process of cancelling. The rest of the days were spent wallowing and doing a little light shopping. Another Japanese fad is these kind of lucky dip boxes of different characters, we’d spotted some Snoopy ones before, each box has about 5 or 6 different styles. We bought a couple of them and got super excited that we got a Christmas one!!

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Friday night was spent packing our bags up, ordering a taxi for the following morning and trying not to let ourselves get too down. We were grateful for the amazing experience we had been lucky enough to have in the last four months, unfortunately it doesn’t make it any less upsetting that we were heading home so early. We had plans for all the future countries, we were excited to spend two weeks in an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, learn to cook authentic Vietnamese in a small market and swing around in hammocks on the beach Bali. We’d spent three years saving for this trip, we’d spent the last three years forfeited some luxuries or experiences with friends for the benefit of this trip (#thinkofBali). We had saved to ensure we got to do everything we wanted on this trip of a lifetime. We were supposed to be hitting our mid trip point, not the end.

It’s a hard emotion to explain. We have been so lucky and fortunate to have this time and there are so many people all over the world with some real struggles during this time; unsure if they’ll have a job remaining after this time, unsure how they will afford to feed their children or look after sick relatives. It makes us realise ours is a first world dilemma.

Posted by Bears on Tour 08:02 Archived in Japan

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