Day 58 of 182 (Planet 島原 Shimabara)

SAM DIARY ENTRY-TODAY we came across a place where people calmly walk past volcanic gases steaming out of vents in the ground. Our lunch was entirely cooked on gases from a volcano. People here have really learnt to live alongside and take to their advantage MOTHER NATURE.

JOE DIARY ENTRY-TODAY we went to a village where the gutters were steaming with sulphur. All that you could see was steam coming out of the drain, there was this cafe where there was a dog fish, alive and lots of other fish. What you would do is get a basket of food and put it in a hole of steam from the sulphur and cook

It’s warm, pushing hot! High teens, low 20s…gorgeous morning cycle along しmばらpeninsular, loads of tunnels avoiding hills and on quiet roads (faff of finding torches worth it for hill avoidance)…much hollering inside tunnels (Sam grins ear to ear). After about 15 km easy cyclingNavigate through higgldy piggldy back streets of shoreline town with impressive Mt Unzen in backdrop reminding us what’s in store tomorrow!
But for today, We arrive on another planet at 10.13 local time…OBAMA ( with effigy of US president outside tourist info!).
INTRODUCING PLANET OBAMA (Shimabarra Peninsular, Nagasaki Prefecture, Kyushu, Land of the Rising Sun)

1. Volcanic gases belch sulphur from street drains making safe place to disguise farts (risk of mixed gases causing explosion)

2. Has 7-11 shop

3. The kind lady in bakery gives you yesterday’s rolls for free. Then 2ltr of Coke and tea drink. All free.

4. Bus driver gives you 3 bananas. Free.

5. Dip your legs in a 105m long hot spring moat. Free.

6. Restaurant Steams your eggs, sweet potatoes etc…in volcanic gas kilns (Free DIY kilns available).

7. An English information magazine, with a contributor from South Africa (always at least one Saffa somewhere).

8. Public Onsen (very basic, which we love!) offering unparalleled views looking over sea.

9. Boiling water drains 24 hrs a day, every day, for past few billion years into ocean while we freeze and Brad has chilblains.

10. Finally, the sincerity and warmth shown by the Japanese man who clearly lived on the margins. A kindered spirit of sorts, except without the plane ticket and expensive bikes. He proudly showed us his bike, maintained since getting at school. He was fantastic at reading our map (not something everyone has been able to do) and good for showing free camping spots! We got the impression he’d tried going on a cycle tour around Japan but ran into grief with police.
Feeling incredible after a deep clean and Onsen, earth cooked meal, clothes washed & dried we headed inland to find a proper out-of-season campsite so can leave panniers for the day, making cycle up to famous mountain town of Unzen lighter.
MISCOMMUNICATION OF THE DAY: At laundromat Heidi showed man bundle dirty, wiffy clothes. Man points to button. Heidi inserts clothes and presses button man has pointed to. 12min later Heidi pulls out a bundle of same dirty, wiffy clothes – but this time…warm & dry. Friendly lady confirms this was dry button…later, on street, same lady finds us and gives dried octopus as gift!


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