A long time friend of mine who lives in Mesa, Arizona was our transportation to the airport in Phoenix. His passengers were Josie (my wife), Jonathan (our younger son) and me. He was driving a 2014 Toyota Tacoma with enough room for one passenger in the cab and I let Josie take that spot. Jonathan and I rode in the bed of the truck with all of our luggage. Jon had six bags and Josie and I had six.
We dropped Jon off at his terminal and saw him to the security checkpoint. We continued to our terminal and waited longer than I wanted to wait for our flight to the Los Angeles airport. Both airports were like zoos full of people. Josie and I both had to go through those newfangled scanners, in both airports, and Josie got patted down as well in Los Angeles.
The layovers at each airport (Phoenix, Los Angeles and Tokyo) weren’t bad and the flights were uneventful. Just long and boring. We arrived in Manila on time at 1:35 pm. The relatives who were supposed to pick us up were at the wrong terminal and Josie had to borrow a cell phone to contact them via another relative who lives in Manila. By the time we were picked up and got out of the airport, it was about 4 pm.
Traffic was bad in Manila, much worse than I’ve ever seen it. Much of it is due to all the construction – skyways are being built to handle the traffic but they won’t be completed until 2016. I don’t think I’ll be dealing with Manila again until 2017, when I have to renew my permanent resident visa card.
I don’t sleep well on planes. I may have slept four out of the twelve hours on one of the legs. The trip from Manila, once we hit the expressway usually takes about two and a half hours. I remember about 15 minutes of it because I kept nodding off. We arrived at our house in Olongapo at about 10:30 pm. We stayed awake for two or three more hours talking to all the relatives and then went to bed.
Me and some of my relatives got together and we played loud music while drinking from about 6 pm Saturday until 1:30 am Sunday morning (after midnight, naturally). I didn’t know that one of my nephews was throwing a birthday party for his son (6) on Sunday.
The second party included games, food, karaoke singing and more alcohol. I think it ended around 10 pm on Sunday. Although I drank rum and coke (without the lime) at both parties, I didn’t drink enough to get drunk. I enjoyed the music and being around close relatives too much to let that happen. The only thing that bothered me was the jet lag. The one thing that bothers me now is what the airplane food has done to my intestines (and we arrived on December 5). I wonder how many days it will take before it all passes through my system.
Josie and I have been pretty busy since we got to Olongapo, but I’ll have to write two or more articles to cover it all. I’m going to be rehashing some things I’ve casually mentioned in other articles, both here and at Live in the Philippines.