Friday, October 23, 2015

Kyoto: Getting There

As many of you know, when we were first got cut orders to Japan we had big plans. I mean, big! We were going to see Vietnam, Thailand, Bali, Hong Kong... to name a few. Well, as many people also know, time flies when you're having fun and also when you have a little one. It seems the only trip we were able to follow through on was to Kyoto, Japan. I should also say, that this was never a place we had even talked about visiting until we got to Okinawa. The facebook groups are amazing as to offering help and ideas on where to travel with children, so we took some of that great advice and booked our trip.

Jason recruited a friend of ours to drive with us down to the airport and then bring our car back to Jason's office so we could park it there while we were immersing ourselves in culture. When we arrived at Jason's office, the guy who was supposed to give us a ride was "busy" on a phone call. So, luckily another guy had no problem giving up his lunch break to cart our family to the airport and back. Thanks, dude! Another lucky thing was that this certain gentleman had been to Kyoto before, well at least mainland. We booked our trip through Peach airlines and assumed that we would go to the domestic terminal to check in (like any other normal city), but to our dismay we had to go to bus stop 4 (so random). It is in the airport terminal, but if we had lugged all of our junk inside and then found out that we just had to go right back out again, I would have been a little peeved. So, everything happens for a reason and since the original man couldn't give us a ride, we had a leg up on the situation. He dropped us off right at bus stop 4 as the bus was pulling up! Woo hoo! It doesn't get better than that. So after a bus ride to a cargo terminal, yes a cargo terminal, we were dropped off in a warehouse looking building where there were lines and lines and lines of people with no signage as to which flights were checking into where. We got in one line and waited until we got up to the check-in kiosk only to realize that you can't check in early to your flight. We had to let several people ahead of us before our allowed check-in time came. All the while I am chasing Colton around the world's tiniest airport terminal trying to keep him occupied. After all the confusion of where do we stand and what time is it, we finally got our boarding passes. By the way, no one ever checked out IDs. We could have been traveling under any name and no one would have known. All we needed was to type in our names and our reservations were pulled up. Sketchy!

Finally we were in the airport terminal and having lunch. Okinawa Soba for mom and dad and I had packed Colton a couple of ham and cheese sandwiches and some other snacks, so he was satisfied with that as well. So, there we sat with nothing to do when we realized they had individual Orion Beers for sale at the little store. Kanpai! Let the vacation begin.

After a short delay we were ushered outside to walk onto our plane. Let me tell you, I thought Colton was thrilled about the bus ride to terminal. When he saw that we got to walk on the "flight line" he was elated.

This picture gives you no real idea how thrilled he actually was. He wanted to stop and look at the engines and talk about the tail wings and all that stuff, but I suppose for security reasons (I mean, they don't even really know who you are) they ushered us onto the plane in a hurry. The whole while, Colton was yelling in my ear, "Look mom! Those are the engines!!"

Our flight was simple and easy. When we landed we knew we might run into a little hiccup. Our flight landed in Osaka so we needed to take a train to Kyoto. Its not just a little short train ride either. I think it was something like 2 and a half hours. So before getting off the plane we asked the stewardess about which plane to take and she said "Haruka." Well, when you read it, it doesn't seem as funny, but when she said it, it reminded me of when the cartoon characters in the older cartoons see a pretty lady walk by and their eyes pop out of their heads and they say, "Awoooooooga!" That's all I heard. It seemed a little silly until I saw it spelled out at the train station, then it wasn't nearly as fun.

Jason followed the little monitor where you buy the train tickets and assumed he had gotten it correctly. We went over to enter the area where you put your little ticket stub through, but were stopped by the train security people. After being sent back and forth to buy different things from the little monitors, eventually a fluent English speaker was called over. We had it way wrong and had almost missed the train by the time we got it all sorted out. We ran! We didn't even know where we were running. We were just asking people as we ran, "Haruka?" and pointing in the direction we were running. Somehow we made it as the train was just about to pull off.

So, this being our first time on a Japanese train, really any sort of train for myself, we get our seats and Jason goes to use the bathroom (big shocker). Well, I notice a Japanese man in a conductors-ish uniform coming down the train cars stamping and looking at everyone's tickets. Well, mine and Colton's are in Jason's pocket and he's still not back. What I'm thinking at this point: I don't speak Japanese. What am I going to tell this man? and He's totally gonna think I'm trying to just sneak my way on this train! Well the man enters our car, says what I assume is a little greeting and bows to all of us in this train car. There weren't many people and I was starting to get nervous. The man gets to me before Jason. He looks at me, puts out his hand and says, "Chicket!" and I say (in English), "My husband has my ticket, he's in the bathroom." Said man looks at me completely blankly (because he doesn't speak English - and why should he?) and says even louder, "Chicket!!!!" I was so nervous, if Jason hadn't entered the car at that exact moment I probably would have been in tears or laying out on the sidewalk. So he stamped our tickets and left us alone the duration of the trip. Phew! I feel like that was a close one. Colton made himself right at home. Which was good since it was 5pm and this kid hadn't taken a nap all day.

So we arrive in Kyoto Station. I had read a little about Kyoto Station as a tourist attraction, but had no real idea what we were in for. It was HUGE!!! And there were people everywhere. We had no idea where to go or what to do. All I know is somewhere along the way I realized that you had to have your ticket to put through another machine to exit the train terminal area and enter the vastness of stores and restaurants and bakeries. I didn't have my ticket. I left it on the train in the little seat back pocket. Oopsie! So we randomly picked one of these areas to exit and luckily I slipped by unnoticed. Phew. Another close call. We wandered around in this madness for what seemed like an hour before we thought to ask someone where the exit was.

Again, this picture does not do justice to the confusing signs or the amount of people that were hustling and bustling around. So when we found the exit we were lucky to have gotten out on the correct side of Kyoto Station because we were staying at an apartment that we had booked through AirBnB and couldn't exactly say, "Which way to the Ritz Carlton?" (Because that's how classy we are). So I pulled out my email from our agent and we began to navigate the streets of Kyoto. After wandering around in a few dark alleys at night we managed to find a few European looking people and asked them for the name of our apartment. Just so happens, its the same one they were staying in and we were right in front of it. How perfect! So we got onto the elevator and put our stuff down in our small (if I'm being honest, it was the size of my mom's living room) living quarters and decided we were starving and needed to find something to eat for dinner. Colton had just woken up from his late nap and was willing to go for a walk. We walked and walked and walked. Nothing suited for a child had seats available it seemed. So after much hesitation we came upon a Coco's Curry House. Now, this may seem like no big deal, but there is a Coco's Curry House about 10 minute walk from our house in Okinawa. It is all the rage around here for military members. So, it seemed a bit odd that after all this traveling and being so excited to do something new, here we sat, eating curry that we could have any day of the week. Oh well. Colton loves it and it filled our bellies. Plus, there was the cutest little Japanese couple sitting beside us and they were so excited to see Colton, you would have thought they were our long lost relatives. That always makes things a little more fun.

We finished our dinner and headed back up to our room to get settled in and try to get Colton to sleep. We had a full day ahead of us and wanted him to be in good spirits. When I began folding down the futon, Colton's bed, I realized that there were no sheets on it. I looked in the closet and found more comforters but no sheets. So, I figured if I layed 2 comforters down, if Colton wanted to, he could slide in between them and still not be sleeping on a dirty old futon. I also knew that if, on this first night, I just let him crawl in our bed that he would expect that every night after. When I went to open the bag that held the extra comforter I noticed there was a lock on the zipper. What?! So weird. So I called our agent and she told me the code and also told me not to take anything else from the closet. Duh! So finally, we were able to start bed time routine. This is when I realized I forgot to pack books to read at bedtime, so instead of doing what I made Grandma Kathy do and read magazines as bedtime stories, I decided to make them up. I'm sure Jason can vouch for this, they weren't good stories. Side note: I always figured I would be good at storytelling, turns out, not so much.

I think he finally fell asleep around 10 and slept until about 6:30. We got up, got dressed and ruffled around to see what we all had in our apartment. Colton served up the tea and we were out the door.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Our 3 Hour Tour

Our family is on our last year here in Japan and have still not ventured off of the main Okinawan Island at all except for our 2 glorious trips back to the USA. I was facebook surfing (as is a popular pastime of mine) one day and saw a poster for a trip to Yoron Island with a tour group through the Air Base here. Jason called to ask for some more information and was told there were seven people ahead of us on a waiting list. We added our name to the list, thinking surely there was no chance we would actually get to go. About thirty minutes later we received a call saying "someone" had cancelled and did we want to book the spot. Hm... "someone" cancelled. What about the six people ahead of us in line? Oh well, yes please!

Our credit card was charged, our voucher had been picked up and we were all set to go. We couldn't have been more excited, luckily for us, we booked last minute so we didn't have to wait too long. As the time got nearer and nearer to our departure date we began checking the weather. I think we jinxed it by checking too soon or too frequently, but the forecast said it was sure to rain the ENTIRE time we were on Yoron Island. We held onto our positivity. I mean, after all, how often is a weather forecast correct? We were sure even if it did rain we would make the best of it, as there were no refunds for a cancellation.

The day finally came. We had coffee in our bellies (and orange juice) and high hopes for sunshine as we headed for our bus on base.

Colton I think was just as excited about the bus ride as he was about anything. The whole time we were riding in the bus he kept saying, "Hop on bus, mama." So sweet. Either way, he was having fun from the get go. So, it was about an hour and a half ride on the bus (with no bathroom for Colton by the way) to Motubo Port where we caught the ferry. Now, I don't know if its because I'm from Sheboygan and the only ferries I've ever seen are the ones that only have to cross Lake Michigan, but I pictured a ferry to look a certain way. Also, the night before we were leaving Jason and I were getting Colton excited about the trip and I did a google image search for "ferry to Yoron Island." There were pictures. I just didn't believe that google knew what I was talking about after seeing the size of this vessel.  I guess I understood that you can put your car on there and large storage units and stuff, but I didn't expect this ferry to look the way it did when it showed up. All I do know, is that when it did pull into port for us to board, Colton couldn't have been more thrilled.

This ship was ENORMOUS. It was exactly the same as the pictures that I had seen on google the night before. They were even loading 2 huge containers of cows into the bottom of the ship. It was so weird, they weren't even mooing or anything. Even the cows are polite in Japan. There were some serious steps to climb up the side of the ship to get onboard. As you can imagine we had a lot of stuff. We were spending 2 nights and 3 days on an island we'd never been to before and needed to be prepared for the beach and sadly rain. We had to bring all of our beach gear, our camera, a cooler full of stuff to eat on the ferry ride and at the hotel because we were getting there 2 hours before check-in was allowed and Colton's car seat because he needed it for the bus ride. Plus, it was wet, because of course in this instance, the forecast wasn't wrong and our entire weekend was due to be rained out. Colton had to be carried just to be on he safe side too. Needless to say, we did eventually make it on board. Yet again, Colton was extremely excited.

So after we boarded we were shown where to put our luggage and where our area was for the duration of the trip. We walked around and checked out the ship a little before settling in to our new bedroom for the 3 hour trip. On the ship there was a full restaurant, serving just the normal Japanese fare, Okinawa Soba, Taco Rice, Japanese curry. There was a pachinko area (gambling machines that we can NEVER figure out how to work). There was a small sitting area with a tv and some tables, but the tv wasn't working and there were the outdoor viewing areas. Colton didn't like being outside. I don't know if it was rain or the feeling of nervousness he had about being on a ship. Either way, he enjoyed his time in the cabin, as seen above.
A bus met us at the ferry to shuttle us over to the hotel we were staying at, Pricia Resort. We had read some reviews about the hotel and knew a little of what to expect. The pictures on the website were taken before a recent typhoon came through and did some damage, but we aren't your average high maintenance hotel guests as long as the rooms were clean and safe we were ok with it. Well, the bus that picked us up was more than a little ragged. This was our first moment of, "Oh geez, what did we get ourselves into?"
We arrived safely at the hotel and piled our things into the little closet for safe-keeping until check-in. Now, had it not been raining we would have gladly grabbed our swimming suits and sand toys and headed straight for the beach and never looked back. But, it was pouring. So we grabbed the umbrellas the hotel gave us and headed to check out the facility. We were the only ones there. Our little group, walking around in this stark white resort with blue umbrellas. It was a little creepy. Jason made a comment to one of our fellow tourists about how we might not make it out alive... this "would-be-beach-goer" was also a little nervous.
After the rain let up a bit we decided to hit the pool. We got out Colton's squirt guns and we were set. It was still hot and humid out, so we didn't have to worry about getting cold.

You can't tell in the pictures (because of my excellent photo taking skills) but the pool was missing quite a few tiles and the bathrooms were disgusting. There was stuff piled into the shower area even, umbrellas, chairs, tables. It was a mess. It had a nice wading pool so we didn't have to worry about Colton too much so that was nice. If it wasn't raining we would've never been in the pool in the first place, just seemed easier and less messy as we were just waiting for check-in. In the second picture above, in the back left corner you can see there are stairs that go up to a "hot tub." Literally. Hot tub. It is not a Jacuzzi or a whirlpool. Its empty. If you want to take a hot BATH, you turn on the faucet and let it fill up. Also, there are plants all around over there, bugs and probably snakes and all sorts of stuff. We didn't go over there.
We finally got to check in and were the given the keys to our, as Colton would say, "New Blue House." It was a beauty, number 803.

 It had a full size living room and a lot of other room downstairs, but no other furniture. It was pretty strange. There was a refrigerator and a drying rack, but that's it. I don't really understand it. Just a lot of empty space. Maybe the other furniture got blown away in the typhoon? Upstairs were 2 twin beds, which we were told we would have 3 but without a hiccup like this, it wouldn't be a vacation. First things first. The beds are pretty much on the floor. Seriously. They are also hard. Not a little hard like a normal hotel bed, but seriously hard, like a rock. Also, the pillows were feather... maybe? Anyway, they are weighted down by beans like in a bean-bag. One whole side of the pillow is hard and overstuffed with beans. So uncomfortable. We ended up pushing the twins together so that we could all sleep on one bed and not have to worry about Colton rolling off (although looking back, it wouldn't have been that far of a fall). When I woke up in the morning, the only way I could describe it was that I felt like an old crinkled up piece of recycled paper. It took a good 2 hours to feel all straightened out again. Colton slept like a dream so I shouldn't complain too much.

The next day was forecasted to rain on and off all day and thunderstorm starting at 6pm. We got up early, got showered and headed to breakfast. We have had Japanese breakfasts before, but I don't think I've ever blogged about them before. So strange. I think generally Japanese people just eat a light breakfast or no breakfast. What I see them eating in their cars are things like rice and hot dogs. There aren't a lot of breakfast places in Okinawa and the ones that are open generally serve more sweet breakfasts like French toast and pancakes with fancy coffees and teas. Now, I didn't take any pictures of breakfast, although I should have, you'll have to just read about it. First off, it was the most vegetables you'll ever eat for breakfast... ever. Salad bar to start with. Normal salad bar, normal dressings. Weird. Fermented soy beans in weird little paper cups with plastic wrap over it. Almost every single Asian person at the restaurant ate one of these. I didn't even try it. It was all slimy looking and stringy. Pass. A lot of stir-fries. Seaweed (warm and cold). Unsweetened yogurt. Hot dogs. Miso soup. Deep-fried corn and mashed potato balls (yum). Also, omelets, which seems normal except that the eggs are completely cooked on the outside and on the inside they're still all half cooked. Their scrambled eggs aren't ever all the way done either. These are all I can think of. Normal drinks, coffee, milk, orange juice, pineapple juice.

After breakfast we rented the jeep. Colton was so excited because he had a jeep to play with at "Amma's House."

We didn't actually let him drive. We got his car seat locked in and off we went. The island is only 45 square kilometers (or something). So we took a map, even though we were pretty sure we couldn't get lost even if we wanted to. We turned out of the resort and we were on our way.
At first, all we seemed to find were beautiful views and beautiful beaches. We stopped at the first few, but after a little while it started raining and we had to stay in the jeep.

We took a wrong turn some where along the way and ended up at a dead end and noticed a sign that says "café." We decide to stop and eat. Turns out they have a cute little kid play area and the woman who is cooking lives upstairs and owns the land and the beach! Jason was awestruck by this. He couldn't stop talking about and went out to look a few times. He even spotted the sun for a minute (hence the sun-soaking stance). She had only cooked one thing for the day. It was curry noodles. Which didn't sound delish, but Colton was happy playing and the view was beautiful. We decided to eat and relax for a little bit. It was very nice. The food was not so nice.

Next we ventured off to find some of the landmarks that were marked on the map. We found a limestone cave. It was pretty cool, Colton liked that he got to handle a flashlight. He looks a little frightened, although while we were down there he wasn't acting scared at all. Actually when he saw the picture of himself looking like he'd just seen a ghost, he jumped back into my arms.

Next we were off the Yoron Village. On the way there were all kinds of cows and farms with fields and fields of sugar cane. That's the only crop we saw. Sugar cane. The tour guide told us that there are 5,500 people who live on Yoron and 5,000 cows. We saw this guy just hanging out on the side of the road.
Then we saw the Yoron Village thatch-roofed little houses. As we walk in it seems like it will be just one of those lame tourist traps, but it was actually really interesting. The man who we paid at the entrance was actually the owner of the building. His family still lives there. They obviously don't live in the historical homes (there's a newer one in the back). They had the kitchen area all set up and the living area and also a storage area. The storage area was filled with all of these different sized urns and vases from China, some of which were 300 years old! He was widdling these little foldable "pillows" out of wood, too. Probably just as soft as the pillows in the hotel room. The man's family still uses the old looms in the workshop to make hand-made silk kimonos that they send to Tokyo and sell for $100,000-$200,000. Whoa! They were also selling some hand-made coasters for about $5 each. We got those instead. In the gift shop I noticed they were selling these little glass bottles of ginger ale that we saw a big poster of on the ferry. On the poster there are 2 old people holding bottles of ginger ale. At mentioning it, the man told me the people on the poster are his mother and father. Sure enough, a bit before that I had seen his mother walking around and it WAS her. So weird. He then began telling us that his mom wrote the dictionary for the Yoron dialect of Japanese. So, we began to realize that these people must be rolling in the dough. When we were done with our little tour the man's wife showed up with some pickles for us to eat and tea to drink. Colton enjoyed swatting flies and the man's wife was shocked at how good he was.

After this we had to head back to turn in the Jeep and Colton needed a nap. We had an adventurous day. When he woke up we headed down to the beach as there were still supposed to be a couple more rain free hours. There were a ton of people at the beach. Everyone was out soaking up the little sun we were getting. We decided to rent snorkel gear, which consisted of a life vest, goggles and a snorkel and flippers, for 2 hours and each head out for a little while. Don't worry mom, we didn't venture too far off shore. Jason went out first and as you may or may not know, he is scared of putting his head under water and this always kept him from snorkeling. He was only out a short time and said he was starting to "freak out" and needed to come back in. It was so fun. I saw all sorts of fish and star fish and sea urchins. I thought Colton was crying so I headed back to shore. Colton wasn't crying, but I stayed in anyway. Jason wanted to give it another try after I told him what I had seen. He was out for a long time for his second go around. Colton wanted to walk up to get a "pop" so we headed up. When we got up there, though, my yen was all wet and the machine wouldn't accept it. I asked a man who was working nearby if he had a different 1000 yen bill or change and he quickly grabbed it from my hand and went running (seriously running) into the main building to find me some dry money. I was thinking, now this is service with a smile.
By the time we got back down to the beach Jason was so far out I could hardly see him. Luckily, it wasn't very deep so we didn't have to worry about him not being able to get back in to shore. When he finally did get back in to shore he said, "That changed my life." Now he wants to snorkel all over town. We could, too. This is one of the greatest places in the world to sea ocean life.
We were supposed to have an outdoor BBQ dinner that came with our reservation but it was cancelled due to the, you guessed it, rain. The hotel would be serving the buffet style dinner we had the previous night. Jason was dead set against this so we decided to catch a cab to a recommended restaurant. It was a seafood restaurant.
When we walked in we were the only ones there. We thought we could possibly have gotten the restaurant wrong as there was another restaurant right next door. We said excuse us and headed over to see if the other place was jumpin' and we had somehow gone to the wrong place. Nope, the other place was definitely not seafood. So, we go back into the other restaurant and sit down thinking that the hotel workers wouldn't steer us wrong. As we sat down a man (looked like the cook to me) came over and handed us our menus. They weren't in English, which can be expected. We weren't upset and continued looking at the menus to see if any of the pictures looked appetizing. The man began talking to us in Japanese, we couldn't understand him and he continued talking in Japanese, kind of rudely. Jason said he didn't want to stay there and that he had seen many other restaurants just up the street and we could try any of those. So we left for the second time.
We wandered into an izakaya. Jason's favorite type of Japanese restaurant. They did have an English menu and a very friendly waitress (also friendly customers who helped us interpret), already we felt better. We ordered the gyoza, which we love EVERYWHERE we go. I will learn how to make them before we leave as they are a staple for us here. Sadly, they were sold out. Colton got soup, his favorite, Jason ordered a sushi set and I ordered the recommended dish. Ton-katsu. It was spareribs cooked all day served with rice, pickled vegetable, seaweed salad, and miso soup and all the normal Japanese things. Next Jason really threw the waitress for a ringer. He showed her a picture of what he had assumed was alcohol just because of what the bottle looked like and ordered 2 shots. The lady kindly pointed down the street and shook her said and said, "Make there." We chalked it up as a loss and assumed she didn't have any here. We had trouble with a few other words that were lost in translation too and a young couple a few tables away from us started shouting out Japanese words. They understood us. To-tu-ganash (that's thank you in Yoron dialect).
A little while into our meal the waitress comes over to our table and starts speaking directly to me in Japanese. All Japanese. Is this the same lady that I struggled to speak to a minute ago? Doesn't she know that if I spoke Japanese, I would have done so earlier? Guess not. I apologize again for not knowing at all what she is saying and she says, "ok." She proceeds to speak in broken English giving me a chopstick lesson. I thought I could work chopsticks just fine. All she kept saying was, "more beautiful, more beautiful." She even did a mimicking of my chopstick skills, and let me tell you, it was inspiring. She made me out be some badger like creature all hunched over shoveling food into my mouth as fast as I could. She then turned to Jason and began to teach him. He couldn't do it. He was hungry. He didn't want anything to do with the lesson and I could tell. He was trying to be polite and go along with it, but all he wanted to do was eat. This woman was not leaving until he got it down.
When we left we thanked the lady and the other customers who had helped the "stupid Americans." The food was delicious and we had made a memory.
We had to walk about a block to the taxi cab office. There was a woman sitting inside a window in a garage with 2 taxis on either side of her. She was chain smoking cigarettes and the first thing she said was, "Kawa-eeeeee." In reference to Colton. "So cuuuuuute." We jumped in a cab and were on our way back. Jason always feels a need to try to talk to cabbies. I don't know where this stems from. I suppose he likes hearing their stories, they can be interesting. The cabbies in San Diego always had cool stories about where they came from. These people just end up repeating what you are saying and trying to figure you out. They think you are changing your destination or have some other problem. No matter how many times I tell Jason to let it be, he continues to try. I guess its good he's not a quitter. So after a very confusing 7 minute ride we were back.
Sunday was check out. It was raining, yet again. We headed out to our weird Japanese breakfast buffet then back to the hotel to pack up and tidy up our cottage. We had to wait a couple hours after check-out to head back to the ferry. We decided to try out one of the restaurants on site to eat lunch to pass some time. The only one open for lunch was a Mediterranean cuisine. Completely decked out in greek décor, I was excited to have something different. We open the menu and... voila! Japanese food! Ok, so not completely. Pizza (that's Mediterranean) but with shrimp and corn? Pasta (that's Mediterranean) but the name is Yoron Pasta, so it has Japanese vegetables and sauces. Soba- Japanese soup. BLT... Mediterranean? Beef Curry... Needless to say, I was bummed. Same old food.
We hit the gift shop to pass some time. We bought a couple of little jars of the famous "star sand" since we couldn't get out to the sand bar in the rain and saw the Yoron "liquor" we had ordered at the restaurant last night. Because we were in a gift shop it had a little information about it on a little placard next to the bottle. No wonder the lady didn't have any... it was sugar cane vinegar. That lady must have thought Jason was nuts.
We headed back to the lobby to wait for the bus. We still had about an hour, but it was raining and there wasn't a lot more we could do. Everyone had the same idea as us and the lobby was packed. Colton was getting sleepy and dozed on my arm. A Japanese lady came over while he was sleeping and came about 10" from his face and was staring at him. So creepy. I was just hoping she wouldn't touch him and wake him up. Move on lady!

The ferry home was a step up from the first. Separate, smaller rooms for guests with more privacy and much nicer all around. She even had hot vending machines. Jason got "squid balls." That's what we call them. They are these small chopped veggies in some batter with a tiny ball of squid in the center. He said they were good.

 We are already planning a trip back as we got rained out of the most of the activities we like the best. We made the best of it and definitely had a ball.