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Day 9 : Sunday 18th March 2007

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Beijing to Tokyo

As usual when I have to get up early for a flight I had an appalling night's sleep, maybe only getting 4-5 hours of proper sleep by the time my alarm went off at 5:30am. However I was soon up and showered and checking out at the front desk, before getting a taxi to the airport. The roads were obviously much quieter at this time on a Sunday morning, but they were still surprisingly busy, particularly as we got closer to the airport and it was obvious that it was going to be quite busy - as indeed it was as I entered the terminal building.

NH956 Beijing Capital International (PEK) - Tokyo Narita International (NRT)

Tokyo's Narita airport gave the impression of being entirely deserted until I arrived at the baggage carousel when a few other people were waiting. My bag was soon out and despite a few hassles with the Customs agent (who threw scepticism on my arrangements being a holiday ) I made it down to the Narita Express platform with about 1 minute to go for the next half-hourly train. Despite some initial confusion, I eventually worked out that my ticket showing [squiggle 11 squiggle 12 squiggle D] meant that I was supposed to be in carriage 11, seat 12D! . The train ride is one of the possible options from Narita airport into town - unfortunately the easiest option (in that it drops you at your hotel door) the Limo bus was not really viable as the next bus to my hotel was not due to leave for another 3 hours! A taxi from Narita costs north of £100 and was, for that simple and obvious reason, definitely not viable!

We arrived at Tokyo station on time, 50 minutes after leaving the airport. Unfortunately Tokyo is one of those stations which the Lonely Planet describes as "needing GPS to navigate" and it was quite a while, and about 5 levels and quite a bit of walking before I saw the first Taxi sign and followed it with gusto! Luckily the taxi driver knew exactly where the hotel was and we were there within minutes - wheels down to hotel in less than 2 hours, which is not bad for a Tokyo arrival I believe!

It was a beautiful day in Tokyo, so I decided immediately to head out for a stroll around the hotel and this ended up being a wonder around the Takeshiba Pier area where the hotel is based. On returning to the hotel I pottered along to the Club for canapés and was disappointed both by the Club's size (and it was packed) and it's offerings. The Club, along with the hotel, is due a refurbishment quite honestly. Dinner was a room service sirloin steak donburi, which in marked contrast to the disappointment of the lounge was absolutely delicious .

Brief stroll around the Takeshiba pier area