Thursday, April 29, 2010

Playing in the Park

Wow, it's been a long time since my last post. I have a lot to catch you up on! I've been very busy having a wonderful time enjoying ... lots of things!

I love running, but enjoy trail running and running in parks most of all. Boots and I have been enjoying running in Comprehensive Park. They have 3, 4 and 5k loops and the park itself is beautiful, full of flowers and ocean views. The park is a big athletic complex with a stadium, running track, tennis courts and accommodates many many other sports, hence it's name of Comprehensive Park.

The other day we did the 5k loop and ended up doing a lot more than just running. We passed a beautiful pond where children were feeding the fish, families were having picnics and yellow paddle boats we floating around the lake.

We bought fish food and watched the huge fish gobble it up. Under a white tent little Japanese mama sans were cooking up Japanese dishes and we bought a little picnic lunch and a enjoyed it beside the pond.

After our lunch we explored the park a bit more to discover a beautiful Lilly field.

We took the paddle boat for a spin around the lake with the fish, turtles and ducks. We ended our unexpected fun filled day on a sweet note with some cotton candy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Northern Venture

Boots and I went up to explore the most northern point of Okinawa, Cape Hedo, that I heard boasts fantastic panoramic views of the ocean and cliffy coast line and is a "must see" of the island. So, I packed a picnic lunch and we headed up the expressway. Once we got off on 58 we enjoyed the drive along the coast line with the green blue ocean on one side and vegetation covered mountains on the other. When we parked at Cape Hedo we could hear the roar of the ocean and scampered like giggly kids to the edge to watch the waves smash against the cliffs. The air was full of sea mist and energy from the waves. Many people came equipped with their telephoto lenses and tripods, but even my point and shoot had no problem capturing the beauty of this place.

Everywhere you turned to look was a spectacular view of huge, powerful waves and the serene coast line. I could have stayed in this spot all day.

And I love the little gems of Okinawan culture everywhere we go.

But, of course there was more to see just on the other side of the point. The cliffs let up and gave way to a beautiful beach that we later found our way down to. We had a great time carefully picking our way across the sharp rock to get to the edge for and even better view.

And check out this perfect picnic spot! Perfect place to rest and take it all in.

When we drove in to Cape Hedo we saw a sign going in the opposite direction for a cliff view something-or-other. So, we decided to go check it out and as we pulled up a Japanese man came running out motioning for us to park and handed us a brochure through the window of our car. We gathered from him that a bus was involved and that there were 4 different courses to go on, but didn't know if we were driving them, walking them, or what. We decided to go for it, what ever it might be, went to the counter, got our tickets and were instructed to wait on a bench for the bus.

Our brochure told us that we were going to Sekirinzan Kouen, or Okinawa quasi-national park. It said that a karst developed 200 million years ago from limestone rocks. The rocks are made into weird shapes by rain and water and that Okinawa is the only prefecture in Japan to have a tropical karst. Cool.

So there were courses consisting of a Strange and Big Rocks course, Beautiful Sea course and Subtropical Nature Forest course. The bus took us into the park and dropped us off to to walk the courses and explore. It was and unexpected, fun hike!
Next we went down the road to find the beach we saw down below us when we were on Hedo Point. We found it easily and wow, was it ever beautiful!

It was time to start heading back down south, but we decided to stop into a little cafe we saw for a snack. This cafe was adorable, had a perfect view and the nicest owners.

After our snack we walked across the street to yet another beautiful beach. It was late afternoon, the sun was starting to go down, it had been a perfect day. Bliss!