We were spending the day in Arashiyama, on the western outskirts of Kyoto. With a liberal scattering of traditional Japanese shinto temples and shrines along the mountainside, each ridiculously picturesque and expansive, it was little wonder that we weren’t the only ones there.
It was over a decade ago that I had last been to Kyoto, Japan and the only memory I had of the place was an onigiri (rice ball wrapped in seaweed) that I bought from a 7-11 store and bits of the Nijo-jo, a wooden castle in the centre of the city. Suffice to say, there was a lot of the city I did not see the first time round. Fast forward a good 14 years and I find myself fresh off the plane and on the streets on Kyoto once again.
Roughly ten months ago, we embarked on this round the world journey. I had left my job to take off on this trip, this flight of fancy, travelling Africa and South America, not quite sure of what to expect but certain that the sudden plunge into uncertainty would beat the dreary routine that had been gnawing away at me for a while.
We arrived in the rain, heaving our multiple bags into a cab whilst trying not to trip on the slippery pavement. Without any pre booked accomodation, we had picked the most promising sounding hostel on Lonely Planet and proceeded to flag a cab down to take us there.
Firstly, let me preface what I’m about to say by declaring that Handcarry Only was never meant to be a political blog, nor am I a particularly astute political pundit. Nevertheless, it is impossible to have visited Cuba and not have an opinion about the political system that pervades all aspects on life here, communism.
Beautiful as Trinidad is, it would be missing the point simply to visit and the see the ‘sights’, nothing in particular has been packaged as an attraction, not in the typical tourist sense of the word anyway. The true magic of the place is the atmosphere, the people, the laid-back lifestyle and the fantastically intriguing sample of humanity on offer.