Philippines Day 0: Arrival [UPDATED]

These days when we just move it’s hard to find things to write about.
Our morning started off in a hurry to get showered and ready to go before the taxi arrived. We managed to get ourselves ready about 10 minutes before he showed up. We were out the door and to the flyaway bus to LAX. We ended up a bit earlier than needed and took our time before going through security. Korean air had us checked in so quickly, I was impressed. They had so many people at the counter all of whom were efficient. When we noted how quick they were, the attendant just stared at us like, “Duh.”

The flight was delayed 30 minutes, but with 13 hours to Seoul I wasn’t worried. For some reason I thought we had the shorter 1 hour 15 min connection time and not the 1 hour 45 minute connection which cost the same. I didn’t think it would matter either way. The flight itself was uneventful. I was absolutely impressed with Korean airlines. We flew on a brand new A380 and had so much leg room. They had all kinds of cool tricks like these bassinets that plugged into the wall at the front of each section for infants which helped them stay so calm during the flight. The video screen in the back of the headrests also had a large selection of films and neat things like cameras from the plane’s exterior to view. The food wasn’t bad either; we had enough that we were never hungry.

Arriving in Incheon we were told that the weather was -17F and looking out the window at all the snow we believed them, though it seemed incredible it could be that cold. We wondered if the airport would be warm enough with the clothes we had on, a light jacket and pants. When we disembarked we saw a sign though that said it was 10F outside, not -17F, much warmer but still chilly. The airport was quite nice, and we took no time to get through security. Looking around we found some hot chocolate at a place call Bob &T that Jenn first misread as Boba T and got all excited. Our flight out though was significantly delayed leaving over an hour behind schedule. We sat around looking out at the snow hoping it would still be here in 2 weeks when we pass through on Christmas Eve. Jenn took a nap since the day was getting quite long. Eventually we took off.

Arriving in Manila was a shock from Incheon. Gone was the below freezing temperatures and in their place, just a few hours later, 30+C and 100% humidity. Hot hot hot! The chaos too! While Incheon was super organized and orderly, Manila was a vortex of people going every which way. We had to push our way to the curb where we half expected our hotel to have a guy to take us to our room. We had emailed them 3 times, but never had a response, so now we weren’t sure what to think. I had my doubts but hopes. Those hopes were quickly dashed after getting a bit of a run around. So we exchanged $40 to Philippine Pasos at about $1 to 40p. We tried calling the number on the hotel website but never got anyone to pick up. Jenn worried that the hotel didn’t exist, but I figured since there were trip advisor comments it probably was still there, but I was thinking that the person was asleep or something. We picked up a 440p taxi, expensive I knew from my book but it was past 1 now and we just wanted to sleep.

As we went with the taxi we were worried as the neighborhood got worse and worse. I was wondering what was going on in Jenn’s mind. I was a bit concerned too, as I moved our passports from my open pocket to one with a zipper lower down on my pants. We continued and it got worse and worse. I whispered to Jenn that it was pretty grim and she nodded. But then it started to slowly get better and I could see a few tours not far off, one of which was apparently ours, behind a big gate.

The room was small and hot, and there was a small cockroach on the wall when we walked in. But it was late and we just wanted sleep badly. We gave the front lady a bit of grief about not picking up the phone or answering emails but I think the fight was out of us. I made a point to post to my journal that we were safe and sound and that this would replace that message later. When we got back up to the room we heard this loud buzzing, first thinking it was from AC unit, but then maybe the lights. But turning everything off didn’t fix it. It seemed like it was coming from the floor or the wall. We called the front desk but just as I was finishing up my sentence Jenn remarked it sounded like it was coming from my pack and then that maybe it was my electric razor. I hung up with the front desk and sure enough, that’s what it was. Clearly we weren’t functioning very highly at this point. I called the front desk back and apologized. We then passed out till the next morning.

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