Funky arrival in a funky town

Got on a plane to fly to Amsterdam to then gave up my working brain to a 10-hour flight to Seoul. Got out of the Incheon Airport, walked on South Korean soil for 2 minutes before getting back inside to pass the security/immigration control over again. Went on my 3rd plane, accompanied by lovely turbulences such as the 2 previous flights. Landed at 7:30 p.m. in Fukuoka. Joked with the immigration officer about my 5 names (they hate me every time they have to write them all in roman letters), grabbed my suitcase, bought a bus ticket (got told to book it by phone, ahah). Got on the bus and like the previous 20 hours, just put my brain on the seat next to me and waited like a zombie to arrive in Nagasaki. 11 p.m., where I climbed up the station stairs with my 23kg suitcase and my 11kg backpack. Arrived at the hostel, I took a look at the 3 floors without elevator and climbed up. Took some time, but I arrived.

I arrived at destination after 23 hours of travelling.

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And the hostel forgot about me.

 

I was told by e-mail that I’d find the key of my room on the counter for the female dormitory. No key when I arrived but a Spanish, a German, an Australian and a Hong Konger laughing in the living room. I was red, sweaty and definitely looking fresh when I mumbled as best as I could that I needed a key. They told me to relax and put my luggage away. The Hong Kong girl brought me to the female dormitory and we looked at the 10 beds, all full. I look at the email, I look at the beds, we look at the email, we look at the beds. The math doesn’t add up. We called the emergency number with a French, Hong Kong and a Japanese cellphone; it was out of service. We called the hostel owner, the phone ringing in the living room. Damn. I was so tired. The Hong Kong girl suggested I take a shower and we’d figure this later.

12 a.m.

The Spanish guy was still laughing in the living room and I decided to join him. Better laugh about that! He was from the Pays Basque and even though I didn’t understand a word, he was a good sport. I showered and changed, thinking of the night I’d probably spend on the couch. The guys took pity on me and went checking their dormitories. They found a bed for me. They took my suitcase up the stairs and I quietly made my bed through heavy snores but with a grateful heart. I waved them all goodnight and settled for 8 hours of sleep. The 9 other guys snored but I was well equipped with earplugs.

Morning arrived and I decided to get some explanations from the hostel guy, who finally showed up. He forgot I was supposed to be there and offered that I don’t pay. I insisted paying because even though I lost 2 hours, it’s a funny story after all and I still used the facilities. After 5mn of negotiation, the guy accepted 1000 yens but I feel like he would have felt better if I didn’t pay anything at all.

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I went on with my day and met the university staff at the station. He drove me to the dormitory. Or tried, for 30mn. I like to be organized so I had look some time before where was the dormitory. I have been to Nagasaki before and understood where it was. When the guy turned around for the 3rd time, I started to cringe. He kept saying in his beard that the whole situation was ’embarrassing’ as he kept pulling over to look at a touristy map. I didn’t want to worsen the atmosphere but I tried suggesting to turn left at a certain point. He brushed it off because y’a know, I’m a foreigner, what do I know about directions in a city that’s not mine? So I just waited, in the back seat, with a stinging and heavy heat. I had bought some can-coffee and drank it while he was out asking everyone the way. After the 5th time of going in front of that damn street, where you could see the damn buildings of the damn dormitory, he took the turn. And we arrived. After 45mn of struggle for a normally 15mn journey.

I got given the key of my apartment and entered. The room was small with minimum furniture. The 3 other Japanese were nowhere to be seen, but I could sure see their shoes and stuff everywhere in the living room. I arranged everything and went for a walk downtown to buy what was missing. It was an hour walk but damn, how did I forget the looming heat? The nice 5km walk became a tiresome exercice and I stopped in shops every km just to get some fresh air.

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Once the 1oo-shop reached, I did a bit of shopping and got out with a huge bag. I took the tram back home and on the way saw another student from my university. I offered her to accompany me to the supermarket later in the afternoon. We went and did some grocery shopping before heading home. Life happened and she realized she forgot her room code and couldn’t access it anymore. We tried every combination possible, we called the numbers given by the university but the emergency number wouldn’t answer (it brings vague memories of university housing in Holland…). We finished by calling a guy from the housing service who didn’t know what to do for us and offered her to sleep in her living room while she finds a solution. The university was closed till Tuesday (because three-day holidays till Monday!) and she felt so depressed that I pulled her to get ramen nearby and just forget about it. The owner was casually watching boxers on TV while eating his own bowl of ramen when he saw us coming. He promptly got up and served us with a warm smile. His shop was peculiar but we got delicious ramens and he let use the telephone in order to call one more time the emergency number with no luck. We kind of came to the suggestion that she should take a trip for 3 days just to get out of Nagasaki and the dormitory, may it be for moral sanity only.

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We finally came back to the dormitory and saw two women running towards us. Bingo, they had the code for the room.

 

I’m back in my apartment now. I think I have a few more days before the other roommates arrive. No idea what I will do this weekend but I’m already set up. I heard a typhoon is coming so I’ll see how things will turn.

 

But I wouldn’t mind some more troubles. They bring out a lot of kindness in people and good stories to tell.

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