November 12th, 2005


First We Take New York

I've been hovering over whether I should visit Okinawa or Korea. I thought that I'd definitely visit one of the two and I spent some lengthy toilet moments in Sydney leafing through a guide to Korea. Hmm, all that unknown food.
However, despite the allure of Korean cuisine and indeed culture, I've decided against it. I want to be somewhere other than a metropolis. Apologies Korea, it's nowt personal, I'm sure to visit soon enough and I'll maybe have a command of more than ten words of the language. It's Okinawa instead.

I'm not sure whether the travel agent saw me coming, but I've somehow ended up with two nights at a beach resort hotel as part of the package. Hmm. I've no argument with the very reasonable price, it was too cheap to turn down at the price he offered, but I'm not really a beach resort hotel sort of person. The particular example that I'm visiting is called the Manza Beach Hotel and you can see some of the joys that await me in the diagram below.

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Apparently the hotel is supposed to be shaped like a seashell, but that looks rather more like a stomach to my eye. Well, if it was good enough for Clinton and Blair at 2000 G8 Summit, I'm sure it's good enough for Sarmoung. I'll try to ensure the linen's relatively unstained. Now, I imagine that the prospect of a few days in such a resort should fill me with anticipation. That it does, but it's a unstable mixture of JG Ballard and Hunter S Thompson. I can see myself staggering along endless curving corridors with a bottle of habu awamori, crunching Contac 400 and tree bark whilst the other guests seek to throw me over into the central atrium at the height of some spontaneous hysteria instigated by some charismatic guest or another. I shall try to behave, but I think the place might bring out the worst in me and I'll start behaving like some Brit abroad character shrieking "LET'S HAVE IT!" or pawing wedding party guests while exposing my swollen stomach. Unlikely. Anyone for a promnade...? Madam?

The hotel does offer a wide range of watersports, but the most I can see myself stretching to is fishing and that seems to require a minimum of two people to book it on the whole. There's a submarine option, but I've seen Das Boot once too often perhaps. There doesn't seem to be much information readily available as to what one does in Manza outside of staying at the hotel (or looking back at the hotel from the raised coral reef cliff opposite). "Leaving the resort, sir? On foot? Just make sure you return upon the sound of the klaxon. We can't be held responsible for what happens to you after..."

Unfortunately, the weather in Okinawa will probably preclude the wearing of the astrakhan hat I bought just before my departure. It's only just turned cold enough in Osaka to get away with it. I suppose I could go Dirk Bogarde and spend my time on the beach wrapped in a blanket and complaining about the chill in the air.

Humbug. I'm sure whatever happens it will be an adventure of sorts. Possibly with outlandish cocktails.