Routine city departure stuff by day: close down that bank account; terminate that mobile phone contract. Last-minute shopping and a spell in the park for ma and the tots with V and her daughter TT.
Fleeting moments of rumination as you walked. No-one hanging on for an answer or just observing you. No-one being cute or demanding or possibly pooping their pants.
Movements during the day gave you an insight into the hotel’s neighbourhood. Piano bars and whisky lounges. Establishments with their names in Japanese only. Upscale massage parlours and mid-market business hotels. Middle-aged mid-market men on the street with mid-market female escorts. Jewellers, Western tailors, Buddhist paraphernalia stores, antediluvian coffee shops. Sub-Ginza but prosperous and welcoming enough as this kind of area goes. Contrast the more seedy end of Linsen North. Or the grubby back streets round Longshan Temple.
Dinner with dear friends in the evening. Ending with a mosey en masse through the plazas of Mitzukoshi and then Chengpin as S stopped in for another Phillipa Gregory tome. Exchanged farewells between various stops on the Bannan line of the metro system. As clean and quiet and safe and civilized to travel on at of 11pm as at any other time of the day.
There is nothing sweet about farewells. No.
Kids delighted to be back at the hotel. Flatscreen TVs switched to the Spongebob Squarepants channel, an indoor space dominated by beds, a roomy porcelain bathtub instantly filled. Snacks supplied by parents keen for compliant spirits. Looking forward to the flight, to the cities at the other end, and to what may turn out to be a world of snow.
Go on now. Get some kip.
of clean white cotton sheets and towels
and watching TV from the bed