Ivan was eager to get away from our new Chinese friend, “she’s crazy man, can’t you see it?! Oh no… don’t wait for her, let’s just go!” Ivan is the type of guy that would NEVER socialize with hippies. If ever there was a demonstration I’m sure he’d volunteer as a riot police just to swing a baton at some tree huggers.
We walked outside to smoke a cigarette. There was absolutely no taxis and a no smokers at all. This was the cleanest airport I’ve ever seen in my life. But we couldn’t see any ashtrays outside. It turns out that all smoking is restricted to a small smoking room. It was thick with greyish yellow smoke and had around 10 smokers inside, the missing smokers mystery was solved.
When we got back inside we headed straight for the ATM machine and got another unpleasant surprise when we discovered that our ATM Cirrus cards are not accepted in any of the Airport’s ATMs.
Good thing Ivan had some money on him so we walked outside and hailed the only cab driver that was there, he said the ride will be around 23 thousand Yen (220$ dollars), that was too much, so we started bargaining. At one point he walked away then came back with a big smile and said “ok.. ok.. final price?”, I looked at him and said 80$, he said “no no no, the bus is 80$”, so we agreed on 130$.
We walked into the parking lot which seemed to be quite far and got inside the old 80s cab, it was very clean and strangely resembled a New-York Pakistani cab. Only difference being is that everything was white, white drapes, white seat covers (that also looked like drapes) and to top it off he put on some white gloves, we felt like we were in a magical snow taxi world enjoying the most expensive taxi ride ever.
“He’s ripping us off man..” quietly muttered Ivan through his teeth. Ivan had a strange habit of speaking Russian in a very suspicious tone of voice, so if people had any doubt if we were talking about them Ivan would immediately make it very clear. In the end we discovered that Narita was extremely far away and that 130$ was actually a bargain.
The ride was very long so whomever told me that there is no traffic in Tokyo is a miserable liar. I began practicing my terrible, terrible Japanese with the Taxi driver… it was rather funny because I kept digging in my dictionary for every second word. We noticed a very interesting thing. In the traffic cars seemed to be filled with very quite, reserved and law abiding citizens. Suddenly we heard the roar of motorcycles and out came the bikes! I’ve never seen so many bikes on a high way, they were shamelessly passing between cars that were struck in traffic. Bikes ranged from regular Suzuki sports bikes to the most eccentric Harley Davidson Choppers with long “horn-line” chrome handle bars. The sheer number made me dig in the dictionary and 10 minutes later I was able to ask “is this legal?” the taxi driver laughed and said “ie, ie” meaning “no”.
We arrived in Asakusa, gave our driver a good tip and walked to check into our hotel room. That’s when we ran into our first Engrish