The first evening my brother and I walked around the beach well into the evening talking and taking pictures. We watched the sunset, then sat under the stars. He humored my amusement with the clean air (something we have very little of in China) and the cleanliness of the streets and beaches. We talked long into the night and finally crashed. The next day we were set to pick up our parents and sister from the airport on the southern tip of the island.
The next morning I awoke to bad news- my parents had missed their flight, but my sister had made hers and would be arriving a few hours later than planned. My brother and I prepped for the change in plans by canceling the rental car and the other cabin rental and then searching the web for Okinawan transportation systems. We found them lacking, cabs were the primary mode of transportation without owning a car (and neither of us had an international license). Meanwhile, cab rides were on par with cab fares in the USA– and on our salaries they were hardly an option. We grabbed a government bus as far south as possible then hopped a cab to pick up the sister. Her flight was delayed, so we stopped at a small restaurant where I had my first taste of local cuisine. A very fishy and rubbery noodle soup that tasted, to my uncultured palate, like a balloon soaked in fish guts. Very healthy.
After waiting until the balloon digested, we set off again to search for the missing sister. Finally we found her- pushing three giant suitcases and bundled in several layers of clothing (presumably what would not fit in the massive cases). After hugs and high fives we began the journey back to the cabins- a full two hours by bus with multiple transfers, and then a twenty minute walk uphill to the cabins– with enough luggage to warrant a minivan. When we finally arrived back at the cabin we collapsed on the couches and did not move for some time.
Because our parents could not make it, they had hastily repacked our sister’s suitcase with gifts, and these we poured around a small Christmas tree I had brought from China. We opened a few gifts that evening– my other sister had sent us UNO, the card game, so we drank Cpt Morgan and Coke and played UNO well into the night.
-Posted by Lauren.