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Saturday, November 16, 2013

An Okinawan Castle, Cave & Snakes

Saturday morning the girls woke up to find a letter from Mom and Dad and our membership card with a reminder to take Pappy and Naggy to see the Discovery Science Center.

Saturday was a full day for girls and Naggy.  They started their day by picking Pappy up from the airport.  Then they got to go to another birthday party.  This time they went to Chuck E Cheese.  They ended their day at the Discovery Science Center.  It is already Sunday morning here - still Saturday evening in Texas.  We are anxiously awaiting the word that they are ready to skype with us before bedtime.  :)

Our Saturday started off with a trip to see what we thought was a Japanese castle.  Turns out it was really of Chinese origin.  Before we went to the actual castle, we stopped outside of the castle walls to see the mosileum that was to hold the kings remains.  A lot of the castle and it's grounds were destroyed by fire/bombs from WWII so while some of the walls were original, a lot of the actual bldgs were rebuilt after the war.  Dad and Eric were in meetings all day, so we had enough fun for them both.  :)

This is the mosileum.  We are pretty sure much of it was rebuilt after the war.  They used old pictures and written history to make sure it was built to match it's original plans.

Little Big Headed forgot to include her swinging from a tree picture in her post earlier...Ava and Carli would have loved to have swung from those trees.

They called this the east gate.  It is obviously newly built but done so with the specs from plans and pictures from the original bldg.

And then we went to the castle.  Our little driver was awesome.  He kept insisting on taking our group photo and walking us into each exhibit.  We were thankful that Eric's wife, Yuki, was with us to help translate all his stories.  He was a very good sport to answer all our random questions about the island and Japan in general.

This was the entrance gate to get into the wall surrounding the castle.


 Once inside the wall, we climbed a lot of steep sloped stairs to get inside the castle grounds.  The picture on the right shows the where the castle's water supply from the spring came from.

The Bridge of nations Bell was cast of bronze in 1458 and hung before the main hall of the castle.  The inscription on the bell says:  Located between Korea, China and Japan, the Kingdom of the Ryukyus is a beautiful nation in the southern seas.  With its ships, the Kingdom serves as a bridge between the nations, and thus abounds with exotic products and treasures."  The bell was cast from the mold of the original bell in 2000.

And finally - here is the castle behind our group, courtesy of our photographer and driver.  :)

Inside the castle, we had to take our shoes off to walk through.  This is one of the throne rooms where a lot of the daily business of the kingdom was conducted.

And this was the throne room where a lot of the ceremonies and public appearances were done.

The King's Crown.

The view from one of the castle windows.

 After we finished touring the castle our driver took us to see a cave.  It took us 30 minutes to walk through the cave.  The Salopeks who are from NM and have been to the Carlsbad caverns many times said this cave was a lot bigger. 

The guys had convinced themselves that the escalator out of the cave was the longest in the world.  Us ladies were just thankful we did not have to walk up stairs that high!

After we got out of the cave, our driver met us and took us a series of shortcuts through all these random shops to find a restaurant.  One of the shops at the snake skin of an anaconda hanging up to dry...wow!

And if this doesn't ruin an appetite I am not sure what will.  That would be snake saki brewing...yes, a big tank full of dead snakes fermenting to make some kind of alcohol drink.  I bet a shiver just went up your spine.

We finally made it to the restaurant which was a buffet.  It had a lot of food with nothing labeled in english!  I ate pineapple, white rice and french fries and drank coke.  Even Yuki said that she didn't know what some of that food was!

We headed back to the hotel after our late lunch to meet up with Eric and Dad for a field trip to tour the EMX Gold manufacturing facility.  Not pictures allowed there - but it was a really neat operation.

We had not gotten stuck in any traffic on all our trips around the island until we were on that big tour bus trying to get back for a reception dinner with Dr. Higa.  We finally got back to the hotel an hour late and with no time to change into our formal attire.  There was a lot of networking opportunities.  The food was traditional Japanese.  Since Keith had gotten up at 4:30 that morning, taken a test for school and ran 3 miles - he was exhausted.  Plus, we probably walked another 5 miles in all our touring that day.  I wasn't far behind him.  We ate some bread and had some Pepsi before doing a little networking before begging off for the night.  

 The TeraGanix Crew with Dr. Higa
Dr. Higa discovered EM-1 back in the 1980's

We gave Dr. Higa and his wife two of our duffles.  Dr. Higa travels A LOT.  Eric also had brewed him some EM beer that they all seemed to enjoy.

 The American's with Dr. Higa.  :)

 This is Dad with William.  William is the distributor for Belize.  He has promised to invite us all to come visit him soon!  How awesome would that be?  He was a super nice guy.

This is Dad and I with Shuichi.  Shuichi was over EMRO USA for a long time in Tucson.  He is awesome.  We had so much fun with him when he was in the states.  He really wanted to come to Texas and ride a horse.  When he went back to Japan, we gave him a personalized belt buckle and cowboy hat.  He told us first thing he still had them!  :)  Such an awesome guy.  He wanted me to make sure that I told Dawn and Yuri both that he said Hi and missed them. 

We called it a night after the reception.  Not a lot planned as far as seeing the sights of the island on Sunday.  Guess since this is a business trip, we will do a little business while we are here!  :)

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