If you were on Okinawa during World War II I can guarantee that it looks quite different today!
We docked about 6am, an hour earlier than scheduled. The ship is trying hard to work with immigration to smooth the process and make it quicker. On the world cruise we were at places were it was rare that an immigration check was needed. In Asia it’s just the opposite; a face-to-passport check has been largely mandatory so far though the paperwork we’ve received says that this may change a little bit as the voyage continues. Japan is particularly fussy. Not only do you have to go through a face-to-passport check but you pass through thermal cameras to identify people who have a fever and might be sick. At least today the process was simplified by using copies of the passport along with the cruise card instead of the real passport. A sticker was placed on the back of the copy and stamped as we left the ship and then the whole was collected when we got back on. Easy to account for everyone if the number of passport copies were compared with cruise card scans. A similar process will be used tomorrow in Taiwan.
My excursion today was basically a bus ride from one side of the island to the other with a stop at the Peace Memorial Park between. Much to the consternation of some of the ladies there was no shopping stop even though we drove directly through the main shopping area. No matter as the guide said she liked to shop in Taiwan better! 🙂
Peace Park and the Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum serve as the main memorial to the Battle of Okinawa; the last major battle of WWII. The picture I’m showing will appear quite small due to the fact it’s a reduced copy of a 12 photo panorama. The photo was taken close to the invasion point. There is a cliff there that had to be scaled before the invasion could proceed. On the grounds of the park you can make out what look like black blocks. They are monuments similar to the Viet Nam Wall in Washington DC. Each contains name of people who died during the battle; Japanese, Americans, and others are remembered here.
We had 45 minutes here which, of course, was not nearly enough if you wanted to see the whole and the museum.
We got back to the ship about 1:15pm and the mandatory come-back time was 2pm. It happened today for a change that the ship was tied up on the port side; the side where I have my cabin. As the departure time approached I noticed a group of kids in costume with drums forming on the dock. The local folks had generated a sail-away show for us. It was quite spectacular and included dancing, drum acrobatics, and even had two dragons performing. I took some stills and made two 10 minute videos of the show and was so concentrating on it that I did not notice until close to the end that we had pulled away from the dock using the ship’s thrusters. The end of the video I zoomed out to show small dots performing on the dock with the city skyline in the background. The best sail-away for the trip so far (honestly, we have not had many since we have been leaving about 11pm or so; too late for any sort of organized show).