Monday, July 14, 2008

Turtle of the Day - the Dratyl

I picked this guy up in one of my two visits to Hong Kong. I think it was my spring trip in 1991 - where I called my Sister Terri one morning, found out she and a friend were heading to Hong Kong (from London) the next day, and while she was sleeping London time, I was scrambling Kanazawa time and finding a ticket to fly to Hong Kong and meet them. Surprising, especially since it was the start of Golden Week in Japan. (I was back in Hong Kong for Christmas 1991 with Brother Bill - but that's another story)

I have always called this one Dratyl -part dragon, part turtle, but I really knew nothing of it's mythical meaning when I bought it - I just thought it was a fun and different kind of turtle, and a cool way to remember my trip. It is made of soapstone, I think, so you can scratch it with your fingernail, and it is VERY heavy (it was in my carry on - believe me - it is HEAVY!)

That was an interesting trip - it was early in my stay in Japan, and really the first time I just took off traveling without a travel buddy to "hold my hand" so to speak. I also got to Hong Kong airport FOUR HOURS before they did, with no idea of the hotel we were to stay at, no travel guides to Hong Kong at all, no local currency, and only a vague idea of their flight numbers and route. All sorts of "what do I do if..." scenarios went through my head. Seriously this was way out of my normal style of planned and researched travel - as was very very evident when I realized upon landing in Osaka very late in the evening after a fun filled few days in Hong Kong that A) the last train for Kanazawa had already departed and B) I had no clue of any place I could stay the night (it was about 3 hours by train to get home from Osaka).

I had met a family in line at the Hong Kong airport that was from Kobe - and they must have been more astute, or less jet lagged, than I because they realized from our conversations that I was going to be stranded, so they waited for me on the other side of customs and offered a place to stay for the night. We took an airport taxi/van back to their apartment and I ended up spending the entire rest of the weekend with them, sightseeing in a very beautiful area. They took me around some newly developed areas where tourists don't go very frequently, and then on the last day they traveled all the way back to the Osaka train station with me, made sure I had my ticket, loaded me up with travel food and snacks, and stood on the platform as the train pulled out of the station.

I often marvel at that experience -not something I would ever dream of doing now -but at the time it felt safe, comfortable and perfectly natural.

I wonder if I dug through my box of stuff if I could find their address - and if they remember that crazy weekend the way I do?


Barb said...

It's so amazing to hear of your experiences. Thank you for letting me "peek in" to your life.

BitnByAQuiltingBug said...

That turtle is beautiful. I have no perspective big is it?
Regina in MI

Anjeanette said...

Your traveling stories are so interesting. I think it is so awesome that you have had the experiences that you have. I would love to have seen things and experienced things that you have. Thanks for sharing. I'm pretending I know something about the places you've been. But really it is just like a story to me.

Darling Jill Quilts said...

Yes, very amazing and exciting! Did I ever tell you that my youngest aunt is currently living in Beijing and has been there for a few years now? She has some funny stories, too!