last week we went on a whirlwind trip to fukuoka and back for colette's passport.
i know many people who travel long distances in a short amount of time but i don't think we are going to join those ranks. we left on monday morning and returned wednesday night. ferries, trains, street cars, buses, our poor feet, and taxis were involved; cranky children were appeased with happy meals and pokemon. having survived this excursion, i thought i would share the lessons we learned.
1. when taking the limited express (tokyuu), you can buy your tickets in advance. round trip tickets are cheaper and you can get a companion fare when traveling with your spouse (or respective companion). other good things we learned, always have snacks on hand because it might be a while before the refreshment cart makes its rounds. also, if son 2 is the size (and has the temperment) of a mini-linebacker, buy him his own seat. these two brothers, no matter how much they like each other, are too big to share. on our shinkansen ride to nagoya, there will be four tickets. and lots of snacks.
2. this is not new but very important. find a park. any park. let them run wild, even if it is only for ten minutes. they need that time as much as they need water and air.
3. when on a city bus in a strange city in the late evening, pay attention. if you pass your stop, press the button for the next stop. do not assume the bus route loops around. especially if the bus schedule is the holiday schedule. also, do not cry when said bus not only doesn't loop but proceeds onto the freeway and the bright lights of said city grow small in the rear window. just get off at the next stop, and run like mad with small children and shopping bags to catch the last bus that takes you back to the city, where you will gratefully stumble into your hotel, exhausted and safe.
4. taxis can be good. typically we avoid using taxis but sometimes it is the best money spent. especially if your ferry home is two hours late and it is sleeting and you have three sleeping littles plus baggage. the best five bucks ever.
5. buffets rock. especially when they don't charge for kids and have loads of yummy home-style dishes that make you feel good and decent when you clean your plate.