The Japanese Rainbow Bridge Fiasco
The things I’ll do to save a couple dollars make absolutely no sense at all; I’ve walked 15 miles home from the airport to avoid a taxi, I’ve made a two day rail and sea journey out of a London-Dublin trip to save on airfare, and I’ve reeked of mildew to avoid hostel laundry fees. So blaming Rob’s planning on the Rainbow Bridge Fiasco is probably more than a little misplaced. It was my idea to skip the JR – Toei subway change (save a few dollars) and hike a few blocks to the bridge walk. Sure, that was probably the root of our problem in retrospect, but, at the time, Rob was the one with the map.
Half an hour into a walk that was supposed to be less than ten minutes, with the sun setting, and no clue how or where to go to get onto the Rainbow Bridge walkway, we seemed to be attempting the impossible. Reason had long ago left us behind, and as much as Rob referred to the map, no new solutions popped up. The best option left to try seemed to be just to hike up the on ramp, throwing ourselves on the mercy of the drivers, but really that only excited me. Together we had reasoned that the bridge climb was probably similar to the Sydney Bridge Climb, given the amount of trellis work underneath the bridge, but the map denied us.
In all the time we had spent crisscrossing, we had managed to discover the rail line that would easily whisk us over the bridge, but I wouldn’t have that, it’s hard to tell in times like these whether I was against taking the ‘scenic’ rail because it couldn’t be as good as seeing it first hand (the reason I gave) or because the rail would cost money (the reason I kept in my back pocket). Either way, with time running out to find the Rainbow Bridge walkway, I was able to convince Rob and Jade to soldier on…in retrospect, this also makes no sense.
Like directions to Boiled Peanuts in the US South, our gleaming light of hope came in the shape of a small rainbow with an arrow stuck to a lamp post (this crossed all language barriers). Finally having a direction, we rushed along the signage path until we were riding up in one of the last elevators of the day. Anxious to catch the sunset, we shuffled down a walkway right along the edge of the bridge until we stood directly in the center and all of Tokyo spread out in front of us. I have to be honest and say that the view isn’t that impressive, but it looked alot better than it would have from inside the tram that was buried thirty or so feet deeper in the bridge (so I was right in making us continue to search!). The one cool sight to see was Tokyo’s version of the Eiffel Tower. Having decided it was not worth it to walk all the way across and back, we snapped a few pictures of the sunset before heading down to street level again.
I’m pretty sure it was a guidebook suggestion that lead Rob to take us to the Rainbow bridge, but I think I jumped at the opportunity to do something free. Either way, when I think about the dumber things I’ve done to save money, this jaunt definitely doesn’t come to mind. In fact, if all my cheap attempts at happiness ended this way, I would be satisfied. This was one of the last days Jade and I spent with Rob, and it will always remind me of why we worked as a group. Wandering aimlessly as we were, we had a blast. Without Rob, I would have abandoned the map from the get-go and Jade would have resorted to attempting Japanese . Without Jade, I would have abandoned Rob as he plead to take the rail across the bridge and Rob would have simply taken the tram. And, without me, Jade and Rob would have probably just called it off, taken a picture of the bridge from afar, and gone to eat ramen. In the end, Yes we were starving, yes we got tired, but we laughed a lot.
Travel Tip: Traveling in Asia can be difficult if you don’t speak the language. Especially traveling into the more remote or lesser developed areas, making your way can become exceedingly difficult. For easy, sure-not-to-miss-what-you-went-to-see vacations consider prepackaged deals. These types of packages are great for people with little time to see a place or who don’t want to deal with the hassle of planning.
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