9 Days Escape To Bliss- OKINAWA (Pt.1)

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Pregatiti-va de un post in 2 parti! Caci nu se cade sa inghesuiesc Okinawa si Taiwan intr-o singura pagina. Pur si simplu nu se face asa ceva… Iar acum, pentru ca am primit atentionari cum ca ar fi bine sa-mi scriu articolul in asa fel incat sa fie inteles si de vorbitorii de limba engleza, imi scot cuvintele din desaga si le astern pe 2 fronturi- est si vest. Sa fie de bine!

Get ready for a 2-part post! ‘Cause it’s not nice to cram Okinawa and Taiwan in only one page. One simply does not do it… And now, because I received some stern tugging at my sleeve that it would be best to write this article so that it may be understood by English-speaking readers, I’m rummaging through my bag of words and laying them out on 2 fronts- East and West. May it go well!

Cum am promis, povestesc de Okinawa, frumoasa insula din sudul Japoniei, unde plajele sunt strajuite de ape albastre, in care din pacate salvamarii se uita urat la tine daca decizi sa inoti in afara „piscinelor de copii” (cica meduzele apreciaza tare mult carnea de om). Primul fapt ce merita mentionat este acela ca in comparatie cu restul intins, mainland al Japoniei, Okinawa este un loc ce seamana cu un mic Spring-break de-o masura pentru japonezi, chinezi, coreeni si taiwanezi, de asemenea. Avantajul de a fi aruncat in Oceanul Pacific, banuiesc. Lumea este mai relaxata, mai putin punctuala si mai vesela in canturi si dansuri. Au spirit! Un spirit mai plin si mai volubil, menit sa te invaluiasca. Concluzie? Okinawanezii nu sunt alta natie per-say, desi te pun un pic pe ganduri cand vezi niste ochi mai rotunzi si mari, si fete mai tropicale; ci poate doar oameni ai marii, cu piei sarutate de soare si zambete mai largi.

As promised, I’ll talk about Okinawa, the beautiful southern Japanese island, where the beaches are guarded by blue waters, and where unfortunately the lifeguards give you a sting eye if you decide to swim outside the „kiddie pools” (it figures that jellyfish take a particular liking to human flesh). The first fact worth mentioning is that in comparison to the broad, mainland rest of Japan, Okinawa is a place resembling a small-proportion and pretension Spring-break for Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese alike to enjoy. The perk of being cast in the Pacific Ocean, I presume. People are more laid-back, less punctual and merrier in songs and dances. They got spirit! A fuller and more voluble spirit, meant to envelop you. Conclusion? Okinawans aren’t a different nation per-say, although they make you raise an eyebrow when you see bigger and rounder eyes and more tropical faces; but maybe just folk of the sea, with sun-kissed skins and wider smiles.

Pentru a crea o ordine logica a ceea ce vreau sa transmit, cer permisiunea de a continua cu punctele urmatoare (asta, desigur, ma si ajuta sa-mi amintesc tot ce am facut in cele 5 zile)/ In order to create a logical order in that what I want to forward to you, I ask for permission to continue with the following points (this, of course, also helps to keep in check with everything that went down in those 5 days)

2. O treaba ciudata, care mi-a adus rasete din partea fetelor este sentimentul pe care l-am avut de cum am pus piciorul pe strada Kokusai Dori, bulevardul „strain” dupa cum ii zice si numele. Mi s-a parut ca aterizasem pe o strada din Miami. Palmieri pe marginea strazilor, cladiri de inspiratie americana si din nou atmosfera aceea incredibil de calda si umeda, de lenevit pe plaja cu o lada infinita de bauturi reci ca gheata. Dar nu. Eram in Naha, capitala acestei insule luate de americani din 1945 pana in 1972, astfel explicandu-se aerul un pic anormal. Nici gand nu-i strica farmecul sau i-l pune in pericol, ci din contra accentueaza o frumusete tacuta a Niponiei, chiar si sub amenintare capitalista.

2. A weird thing, which sprung laughter from the girls’ part is the feeling that I had as soon as I set foot on Kokusai Dori street, the „foreign” boulevard as it’s dubbed. I felt as having landed on a street in Miami. Palm trees on the side of the road, American inspiration buildings and again that incredibly hot and humid atmosphere, perfect for doing nothing on the beach with an infinite case of ice cold drinks. But no. I was in Naha, the capital of this American-sieged island from 1945 to 1972, thus explaining the bit abnormal air. It does not in any way spoil its charm or endangers it, but on the contrary it accentuates a silent Niponian beauty, even under capitalist threat.

3. Mancarea. Dumnezeule mare, mancarea! Am auzit din toate partile ca este absolut delicioasa, dar stii cum e, pana nu te lingi tu pe bot de delicatese, nu crezi cu totul. Am incercat tot ce s-a putut, desi trebuie sa recunosc ca inca sunt innebuniti dupa carnea de porc si vita… Dar is asi la a pregati peste si fructe de mare, de toate asortimentele. Si e adevarat din nou ce se spune de a manca in locuri cu traditie si istorie, fara pretentii de restaurant fitos, unde mancarea e ieftina, rapida si atat de buuuuna: este o experienta in sine. Oamenii chiar se aduna. Deci, din punctul asta de vedere, inca o intalnire reusita… am si mancat salata de meduze. Si sa ne noteze ca Anca a mancat si a aprobat!

3. The food. Good God, the food! I’ve heard all around that it’s absolutely delicious, but you know how it is, until you haven’t had your fill of delicatessen, you don’t really believe it. I tried everything possible, even though I have to admit that they’re still crazy about their pork and beef… But they’re aces in cooking fish and seafood, of all kinds. And it’s again true what they say about eating in places with tradition and history, lacking the fancy restaurant pretenses, where food is cheap, quick and so gooood: it’s an experience in itself. People actually get together. So, from this point of view, yet another successful rencontre…I even had jellyfish salad. And let it be known that even Anca had it and aproved it!

4. Nu stiu despre voi, dar imaginea din capsorul meu pentru cand te duci in vizita pe o insula, e musai sa te plimbi cu masina, ca altfel nu ai cum s-o parcurgi. Si-atunci, cum sa n-o facem si pe asta? Masinile de inchiriat in Okinawa sunt ridicol de ieftine si cochete. Cu atat mai bine cu cat te asteapta in parcarea de la hostel o dragutica de Toyota-hibrid, cu cutie automata. Recunosc, la inceput au fost putine emotii si cateva momente de concentrare maxima. Ca si copilot. Karin soferita viteaza a prins rapiiiid gustul condusului si am lunecat sub nori pufosi si cer perfect albastru, ce ne-a deschis plaja moale, patura de picnic si desertul din partea lui nenea cu umbrelele, caci tare frumos ne mai zambea…

4. Don’t know about you, but the image bubbling up in my head when visiting an island is that it’s a must to drive around in a car, ‘cause there ain’t no other way to roam it. And then, why not do that as well? Rental-cars in Okinawa are ridiculously cheap and stylish. Even better when in the parking lot of the hostel there’s a cute little auto-gear Hybrid-Toyota waiting for you. I admit, in the beginning there was some nervousness and few moments of maximum concentration. As a co-pilot. Karin the brave driver quickly got the taste of driving and we slid away under puffy clouds and perfectly blue skies,opening up the soft sand, the picnic blanket and the desert offered by the umbrella man. My, was he smiling at us…

N-am sa mai adaug punctul nr. 5, caci deja m-am lungit si trebuie sa las si niste puncte de completat. De catre voi… Asadar, cu umilinta va ofer dovezi vizuale ale unei calatorii de 5 zile in care sufletul mi s-a imbatat cu nesat si trupul mi-a fost ars fara mila de soare.

I won’t be adding any no.5 point, considering I’ve already made a lengthy exposure and there are some dotted lines leaving the freedom of interpretation to you. So, in all my humbleness, I give you visual proofs of a 5-day long journey in which my soul got insatiably drunk and my body mercilessly burnt by the sun.

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Sper sa vi se fi bucurat ochii. Ramaneti pe fir, urmeaza Pt.2- TAIWAN! / In hopes that you’ve feasted your eyes, stay tuned, Pt.2- TAIWAN is next!

And remember: all you need is love… and sand in your sandals.

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