July| Vol. 22 No. 8.02 | Christian's Chronicles © 2015 – All rights reserved.
Greetings from Manila!
I made it this far, but this is not my final destination. Nor was it without incident. In the spirit of journalistic integrity, I shall report the good, the bad, and the ugly, thus far.
First: the good. On the flight from SFO to Manila, I struck up conversations with my neighbors who were all pretty friendly. One of them, a retired U.S. postal worker who is from the Philippines, is actually going to the same final destination as I am, so we are both waiting at the Manila airport right now for the same flight. He has been very helpful, although everything is easy to navigate here and thus far everyone seems to speak English, which is one of the official languages of the Philippines. I have also contacted another volunteer who will meet me at the airport once we arrive at our final destination. Plus, there is free WiFi. Things are good!
So what’s the bad?
Well, the flight across the ocean was OK, because I missed most of it. I slept, thanks to the neck pillow and my sister’s repair work that patched up the hole. But, there was way too much turbulence for myself and for Rick, who was distracted in his Bejeweled game. He tried to smash the monitor, but after a few deep breaths and a talk about non-violence, he calmed down and we were all right.
But that’s not all.
It turns out, one cannot buy a one-way ticket to the Philippines. I made this mistake, not realizing (since no one told me) that the authorities require non-nationals to have an exit ticket when they arrive. I thought my meager funds would take care of the way there, and maybe on the way back I could hitchhike or use funds from my GoFundMe page to pay for a ticket back. Not quite.
So I had to buy one at the San Francisco airport…
Which I did, to Thailand, so I could hop over and take a look at what’s up with AKA Thailand. Plus it was all I could afford. A couple hundred dollars later, I was allowed to board and I was on my way to the Philippines so I could volunteer…
Well, almost. My bag was too heavy. 62 pounds, as opposed to the maximum limit of 50 (or so). Never mind that each passenger is allowed 2 bags of 50+/- pounds and I only had one that weighed 62. I had to buy an extra bag for $25 – to avoid the $150 over-the-weight-limit-fee.
Ok, fine. At least I got an other bag out of the deal.
So, here I am at the Manila airport, waiting for my connecting flight. with an extra bag that will hopefully make it on to the airplane and a ticket to Bangkok.
Oh, but wait! The ticket to Bangkok, which I had to buy at the last minute in San Francisco at the counter as I was getting ready to board the airplane to Manila, is out of Manila.
You may remember that Manila is not my final destination in the Philippines. So… I had to buy another ticket. Back to Manila, so I could make the flight to Bangkok, which I was forced to buy in San Francisco.
Well, this may be a bit irritating or comical, or probably both. But on the flight I watched the movie “Yes man” with Jim Carrey, and I think it struck a cord with me. I need to buy another ticket? Sure, why not! I’ll just say yes to every challenge on this adventure.
We’ll see if it has a happy ending.