For the most part, the travel connections I've made with Kenny have been smooth. We've had reasonably good luck finding elevators, for instance, and until today only had one connection that was fast (nine minutes) and required us to haul our luggage up one long set of stairs and down another.
We set out today from Kyoto Station on the bullet train, then transferred to a more local train to bring us onto the island of Shikoku. This leg of the trip includes a series of bridges across the Inland Sea. The weather was rainy, and the islands and mountains faded away into the mist.
While we were waiting at one train station, I made friends with a little kid who was waiting on the platform. We smiled and waved at each other and I took a picture.
And we traveled along the Inland Sea for a while.
So it was all mostly uneventful. We had not been on the island proper for too long when the man in the seat in front of us turned around to tell us there was a problem with the trains up ahead. He had heard us speaking English, and I assume he was concerned that we hadn't understood the announcements. Which was true.
The day had turned quite windy, and so the train traffic through the windiest parts of the mountains had been suspended. We were going to get off at one station and then we would be bused to a station a little further along, where another train would be waiting for us.
The transfer went reasonably smoothly, although I'm much slower with my luggage than Kenny, and this was one of those stations that didn't have an elevator or an escalator, so it was up the stairs, over the walkway across the tracks and down the stairs on the other side. (I'll pack lighter next trip)
Everything was well organized, and after waiting in line for a bit, we found a big tour bus waiting. We stowed our luggage and climbed up, and I'll admit I had a little moment of distress when I couldn't see an empty seat.
But there was a little fold out jump seat in the aisle, and someone popped it into place and off we went.
I've had to shuffle between trains and buses both on the New York subway and MetroNorth, It's usually a big noisy deal. Here though, with a bus full of people suddenly taken right out of their routine, there was only silence. Quiet. There might have been a few whispered conversations, but I didn't hear any. My aisle seat was toward the back of the bus and when a cell phone near me rang, and a woman answered, in a very subdued voice, people at the front of the bus turned around to look.
It took us a few minutes to get onto the highway, and then we got a scare. The winds were bad indeed, and pushed the bus across the highway at one point. There was a collective gasp from everyone on the bus, and then the driver pulled back into his lane and took the rest of the trip a little more slowly.
A train was waiting for us a few miles down the road, and we arrived in Matsuyama in a warm rain, only about an hour late.