THIS is a story of endurance. It's much like the Amazing Race where I was crossing continents and states, hopping through time zones, leaving and living on jet planes, and my only competitor is patience, a virtue I cannot master in this lifetime.
Just like any initial leg of a journey, excitement trumped impatience and exhaustion. The adrenalin level was on a high that the mind had total disregard to the effects of the long trip. Short intermittent visits to slumberland on the plane seat or on the cold metal benches of airport terminals seemed like hours per episode yet the arms on the wristwatch showed otherwise. To justify them as refreshing rest periods, I called it power naps. In between shut-eyes and plane rides, I got refueled with fantastic meals and towards the journey’s end, with instant noodles, coffee, chips, burger and fries, and more coffee.
Starting point: Davao to Manila. The flight delay got the domino tiles tumbling. The succeeding plane rides will be missed naturally. After another more night in the city, I departed the next day at noon, an assurance me I won’t miss the evening flight to the US.
Layover: 8 hours. What I did? I met up with good friend Babyruth C. at Resort World (free bus ride from airport terminals). What I ate? We had the best Hainanese Chicken, Laksa, Garlic Shrimp Rolls and more at Tao Yuan.
Second leg: Manila to LA. The 14-hour flight was a blessing. It with my first long haul journey on Business Class and afforded me a bed in the sky with full-course meals above the clouds. Lucky bitch. The only catch was arriving well rested in LA at night. Sleep will be elusive of course.
Layover: 10 hours. What I did? Mary Anne D., a pretty and kind Dabawenya, was kind enough to keep me company for the night. What I ate? Take-away burger and fries at In and Out and a bottle of wine to “force quit” wakefulness to get a few hours of sleep.
Third leg: Originally the flight was to be LA to Corpus Christi but the 24 hours delay in Davao altered the plan. I am to meet my friends in San Antonio, Texas instead. It’s a total of six hours of travel to this Texas City with plane change and waiting time. However, traveling on Buddy Pass (non-revenue ticket) will not guarantee a seat on the plane. Passengers with these tickets are last priority and can be bumped off when space is needed. Boarding passes for Buddy Pass holders will only be issued at boarding time.
Luck was with me and I was able to catch the early morning flight. Apparently, luck didn’t board the plane with me to Arizona. No immediate connection to San Antonio was available for me in Phoenix, no thanks to the lady at the check-in counter, an imbecile whose hands my fate was left on, who claimed she called out my name to give me a boarding pass yet I didn’t respond—I was in front of her the entire time. How can I, for heaven’s sake, not hear my name called over the PA system? Ommmmmm…. Inhale 5 counts, exhale 8 counts.
Two hours of after arriving, I didn’t get a seat on the scheduled connecting flight. I had to wait for the next available flight, with no guaranteed seat still, at 6:30 p.m. Guess what? It’s not even noon.
Layover: 2 + 6.5 hours, indefinite. What I did? Stay away from the imbecile’s area, pace the floor of the airport to cool off, people watch, take pictures, doze off on the cold, metal benches. What I ate? Sandwiches, ice cream, coffee, chocolates, and whatever the kiosks can offer like more coffee.
The appointed time came and yes, I was able to get a seat on the 6:30PM flight to San Antonio, the last 2-hour trip to my destination for this leg of the journey. With the time difference between states, I arrived in Texas at 10:30 p.m. where I met up with my luggage that arrived long before I did and good friends who was glad to see me.
After 65 hours from the original departure date with about 15 hours of sleep in between plane rides, I was relieved to finally arrive in San Antonio, Texas. Ramil and Olga’s beautiful place was my home in this city. Tired as I was, sleep was very elusive. What I did? Caught up with friends over dinner and wine. What I ate? Chinese food, potato chips. What else I took? A sleeping pill.
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