The Philippines: First Night, First Impressions

After a long day of travel and several drinks, I groused that I wanted to postpone the last five days of this 30-day blogging challenge until the Christmas festivities are over, but was told in return–in no uncertain terms–that I was to finish this thing and not make excuses. No rest for the wicked. So let’s start toward the top of this travel experience, and then get to the Philippines, because chronology.

A couple months ago, I posted about a taxi driver, Mr. Zain, who defied the laws of gods and men to get us to the LCCT airport a full half hour before reasonable expectations. Today, he chopped at least another fifteen minutes off that journey. At one point, I could swear that the tires left the road ever so briefly as we crested the top of a rise. As gravity yanked us back from our flight of fantasy, I felt my internal organs rise in my chest cavity. Part of the experience is a bit melancholy. In another life, this guy would be a fighter pilot or captain of a rocket to the moon. But we only get the one, and looking back at the choices we could have made and the decisions we should have reconsidered can only cause grief.

In the car I heard a cover of a pop song that I’ve probably hear a few dozen times, but oddly I can’t put a name to it. The only reason I mention this is because it was a mariachi version in Tamil. Perhaps the mind-destroying combination is what is preventing me from remembering the name of the song.

At the airport, it took us about a long time to find the place where we needed to check in, because, of course, there were no signs up. The counter itself wasn’t even labeled. We ended up finding it by locating the long, snaking line of Filipinos. Once we checked in, we found one of my girlfriend’s colleagues, who is also spending the holiday in Manila. As we sat, waiting for our delayed flight, the following exchange took place:

Lucy: “What’s the difference between Asia Air and Asia Air Zest?”

Emmett: “About an hour and a half wait, apparently.”

Lucy: “More time in the airport!”

Indeed.

Over the past month or so, I’ve been working my way through Asimov’s Foundation, but with maybe twenty minutes a night to read before sleep overtakes me, I hadn’t made much progress. But I got a ton of time to read on the plane, and it seems that Hardin’s headed to Anacreon, and shit’s getting real.

As a welcome to the Philippines, we were taken directly off the plane, put onto buses, driven twenty-five yards and then deposited in front of the gate.

I was told that traffic round Manila was going to be insane, especially so close to Christmas, and that it’d probably take at least an hour to get to my girlfriend’s parents’ place, but not including a stop for petrol, it took twenty minutes. When we were in the car, I was taking some video on an iPhone (which I can’t/haven’t uploaded yet) when someone exclaimed, “Look at that traffic!” and pointed out of the left side of the car.

“That’s a parking lot!” I said, and then realized that I was taking video of an actual parking lot. It was not a proud moment. Still, the traffic was pretty gnarly.

Speaking of gnarly, the internet is spotty, so hopefully I’ll get a post out tomorrow, let alone show up for work.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s