The accumulated muscle aches started to work their way into our schedule. We were … no longer rushing to catch the first bus to the slopes. As the Chinese saying goes, resting is preparation for a longer journey ahead!
We took the 2nd bus at 9:30am to Escal Plaza, and without the rain pelting down, the snow looked considerably better. Once you’ve spent an entire day snowboarding in the rain, it is honestly really hard to be fazed by anything else! Excited for our Day 4 of no wet gloves, no dripping wet jackets, no soaked butts! Hurray!
Little did we know that Day 4 would bring its own share of issues. On our second run, Kenneth tried to do one spin too many and crashed badly. His arm just happened to be under his body as he fell, which had the same effect as punching himself hard in his ribs. He managed to get up after lying there and groaning for about a minute, but from the way he was clutching his chest, I could tell that this wasn’t just another fall. Even his voice sounded different after he finally stopped wheezing and started talking again!
Shortly after, my board caught the snow in a rather impossible accident that probably only happens to noobs, and I was thrown head-first down the slope, landing, of course, on my head, and bouncing a few more times before physics put my body to a grateful stop. Thank goodness I had a helmet on! The last time round in Austria I didn’t have a helmet and I suffered a very bad knock to my head, which also resulted in me throwing an agony-induced, tear-filled tantrum at Kenneth for talking to me while I was snowboarding. So for the benefit of my brain cells and our long term marital happiness, I invested in a helmet rental this time, which was a wise decision indeed! If they were not as expensive, I would have gotten knee and butt guards too. Of course, Kenneth was amused by how pathetic I looked, after forgetting how pathetic he looked just an hour ago. He even had the presence of mind to take a picture of me sprawled in the snow before hopping over to help me up. I must have looked like I wasn’t about to get up by myself anytime soon.
The thing about snowboarding is, once you have a bad, high-speed fall, your body becomes subconsciously frightened of the slope and tenses up against your will, resulting in even more falls. So, many falls later, we decided that it was wise to let our bodies forget about snowboarding for awhile and instead reward ourselves with HOT CURRY RICE! This must be the sole reason why hot curry rice exists in this world.
We have been aware of this restaurant tucked mid-way on the slopes for a few days now, it being right under the chair lift and thus highly visible. It had bright red flags, big LED signs, and a steady stream of customers. But because everything was in Japanese, all we could understand was that there was curry, rice, and beef, and that something was selling for 500yen.
Kenneth was uncharacteristically skeptical about the 500 yen offering. “What if it’s just a drink or a soup for 500 yen? Everything else at the other restaurants were at least 1,000 yen”.
“Well, I don’t believe they would advertise about 500 yen in such a big way if they are not positioning themselves as a cheap place!” I replied. “After all, they’re stuck halfway up the mountain so it’s not like they would have tons of customers right?”
Turns out my deductive skills were not entirely Sherlock material; but they were not far either. For 500 yen, you get curry with rice. A lot of rice though. And for 750 yen, you get curry beef or pork cutlet with rice! Well, still cheaper than at the base of the mountain!
This restaurant was playing some funky hip music which boosted our spirits. When we walked inside, we were transported into a strange world. The chairs and benches looked like they were scavenged from all sorts of places – train stations, cinemas maybe, buses definitely – and the walls were plastered with many posters of young Japanese girls in various states of undress. Hmm… What kind of restaurant is this? We were so amazed we forgot to take pictures, but really, it was a sight indeed!
The curry turned out to be very good! We wolfed the plate down and helped ourselves to an entire jug of water. Free drinks always make people happy. Especially, cold, injured people.
By this time, more and more youngsters were streaming in. As I looked at them, it struck me that they were probably all high schoolers. Which means… we are twice their age! We certainly don’t feel that different. We are gonna stay young at heart, always!
After the awesome lunch, I was immediately struck by a powerful bout of food coma, and we decided to take the gondola up to the top of Goryu so that I can take a nap at the station up there and Kenneth can try out the intermediates. He was still hurting from his punched ribs but I couldn’t blame him for wanting to max out his Day 4! Sitting in the gondola as it crawled lazily up the mountain, I thought about how terrible it would be if the cables were to go haywire or if one is stuck up here. I vaguely reading about some accident in Singapore many years back when an oil rig got tangled with the cable car lines and our current Prime Minister was the officer in charge of the rescue operations. Then I spotted these – emergency toilet packs! Yikes. Please let me never have to use one of these!
Sporting numerous brand new battle scars, we ended our day early and headed to our favorite Lawsons convenience store to soothe our tortured bodies with good food. The food selection is seriously amazing here. Even their microwaved pasta tasted better than some of the restaurant food we have eaten. We are fans!
Now we have fresh energy for our final day of snowboarding tomorrow! No more injuries please!