May 23 and it is off to Manila. I finally finished packing my bag at about 3am! Part of that time was spent soothing Brynn and chilling on the couch with her at about 2am. Definitely going to miss being able to kiss her and watch her grow for the next three weeks. With the bag packed and passport finally back in my possession Julie drove me to Raleigh-Durham International Airport for the start of my trip. I officially classed my trip as starting with the 1 1/2 hour drive to RDU.
Check-in to Delta and off to Detroit??? I didn’t really get it either, I thought that I would at least head out of the eastern time zone on the first leg of my trip. I was in Detroit for about 5 hours. I used my time wisely in the airport, I bought my Indian travel adapter and I watched CNN on the big screen in the airport. That was kind of weird, massive projection screens throughout the airport with CNN on. I wonder how much that costs them in advertising. The pic is my attempt to capture the cool water fountain that is in the middle of the airport. It was a really cool feature with different time spouts making different patterns.
Then it was off to Tokyo. The only problem was we got delayed at the gate for over an hour! That turned an 11+ hour flight into a 12+ hour flight and I was sitting next to a guy who when he fell asleep would slump his arms into my chair. Most of that flight I stood in the exit area since the Delta agent had given me an exit row. The flight wasn’t too bad, I played my PSP, drank lots of water and spent a lot of time in the bathroom consequently!
Tokyo was supposed to be just an hour layover, but for some reason it turned into 2 1/2 hour delay! Tokyo is so different. The signs, the toilets (squatting and standing with signs of the door explaining which is what cubicle) and the little plastic versions of the food you can purchase. It was cool being back in Japan, I would really like to spend some time there touring it one day. But eventually we hopped on the plane and headed for Manila.
This was the first time that I have landed at the new Ninoy Aquino International Airport. It is much nicer than the old one, but landing anywhere at just after midnight is pretty strange. Customs was a breeze, but waiting for my bag was very nerve wracking. I get butterflies when I fly somewhere and I have to wait for my bag, especially when it has all of my rugby stuff in it. Eventually it turned up and having what I thought was my name over the paging system I went looking for my ride. As soon as I stepped outside the terminal the smells and humidity of Manila enveloped me. It was a strangely familiar feeling and I was stoked to be back here again.
Precious and Raquel found me at the airport and were in amazingly good spirits considering it was almost 1am when they picked me. A quick trip to the subdivision of Forbes and I was deposited at Peter Lawerence’s house. Peter is an expatriate Aussie living in Manila and volunteered to billet two of the national team boys. After all that travel, I hit the sack. Long day but made it through.