We arrived on Zanami island, and found our way to renting 50cc mopeds, then took off to explore the island! I cannot do the beauty of the scenery, or the feeling of freedom justice in words, but I'll try to describe it a bit!
The sun was hot - super sweaty hot. We put sunscreen on every couple hours, but it just melted off right away. Even the breeze was warm. The mountain roads wound back and forth, on cliff edges and through trees. From the edges, we could see ocean, sky, and small islands for miles and miles. The blues and greens were unlike anything man-made, and beyond what a photograph can capture. Riding on the little moped, with the hot sun on my skin and the wind in my hair, surrounded by the most incredible beauty, I felt freedom like I've never felt; joy like I would burst; and as content as I could ever imagine feeling.
Alex and I were moving faster, so we eventually split up into two groups. We made our way up the mountain, on the windy roads. The roads were not that steep, but on our little mopeds, all we could do was open 'em wide and...... chug along slowly. But that gave us lots of time to enjoy the scenery. We came around one bend and saw the most beautiful panoramic view - I hit my brakes, and called to Alex to stop for pictures. I decided to turn my bike around, so I leaned over and turned the front wheel, hit the gas and...drove right into the drainage chute beside the road. Alex found it amusing. I thought of my Dad - and realized that I really should listen to him more often. I could just picture him shaking his head at me and laughing and saying, "Stephanie Ellen, you do everything too fast!" Hehe. He's right. But I wasn't hurt and quickly dragged my bike out to take some pictures. I'll stop trying to describe our tropical paradise, and let the pictures speak for themselves...
After our short two hours was up, Alex and I returned the mopeds, and headed for the beach. We chose a part of the beach that had few people, and wasn't very sandy - instead, it was covered in coral and shell bits! They were all broken and rounded from rolling around in the ocean for so long. We spent the rest of our Zamami time laying in the water, collecting pretty shells, and being washed back and forth with the waves. We had no cares, no problems...just shells, ocean swells, and freedom. I've blogged about some happy places and moments of joy before...but none of them came close to the contentedness I felt on Zamami.
All too soon, we had to head for the ferry - Alex and I made it with only a minute to spare. We met up with Keith and Thomas again, and spent the ferry ride relaxing, napping, and talking on the top deck of the ferry. The ferry ride was much too short, except that we were starving (skipped lunch), and craving steak and ice cream. After a shower and some supper, we explored Kokusaidori a bit more, then headed back to the hostel. We hung out, played some guitar, and had a jolly old time.
Thomas and Keith fell asleep, but Alex and I decided to have an adventure at 1am. We grabbed the guitar, and snuck out of the hostel....sort of quietly, and with some laughter. We spent the next 5 super fun hours hanging out - infinite awesome memories, and a general good time. After a (sort of quiet) sneaking back in, and a few hours of sleep, we were up and to the airport...back to Osaka! But that wasn't the end of the weekend's adventures.
Oh yes - I forgot the ATM saga. I forgot to get money from the ATM before we left Osaka....and I could not find an ATM in Okinawa that would give me money! It was very strange - the Family Mart ATMs wouln't service my card (even though I know I've used my card at Family Mart's before) - and neither would other ATMs! Fortunately for me, Alex had brought extra money, and lent me money for the weekend. Basically, by the end of the weekend, he practically owned me and my empty wallet. Once back in Osaka, I was finally able to find at ATM that worked, and repayed my debt. Extra thanks to Alex....the weekend would have been much less fun if he hadn't rescued me!