In a previous post I mentioned that the train from Sazlburg to Frankfurt was cancelled resulting in a round-about trip via Munich and Nuremburg. Thankfully none of the flights were cancelled. However, booking your bag from Frankfurt to Manila does give one a moment of worry – four airports and two different airlines.
The flight to Dubai was uneventful other than having a snotty little six-year old needing a good slap on the bum. Yes I know, child assault, but parents either ignoring her bad behaviour or telling her she will be put in the naughty corner does not work. I was about to speak to the parents when one of the flight crew politely asked them to manage their daughter. Anyone would have thought that it was declaration of war the way they reacted until about five other passengers voiced their concerns pointedly and loudly. The result – three very subdued people for the rest of the flight. Plus they got some child rearing advice from a number of passengers as we were disembarking.
I prefer an aisle seat when flying and had that arranged online before I left Frankfurt. But I got bumped. Apparently a family of four – with two young kids – needed to sit together. Okay I wasn’t complaining, but the only available seat was in the middle of one of the rows. Ugg I hate that. Then at the boarding gate I was asked to step aside. The result, an upgrade to Business class. For a night flight it is the only way to go. For the seven hour flight to Singapore I slept for five hours.
The transfer at Changi airport was simple, but time-consuming however, I managed an aisle seat again for both legs of the Philippines flight. This was a different experience though. Philippines Airline is a no frills airline. A coffee or cold drink if you ask for it, no inflight entertainment and noise, not the engines, but the passengers. Ninty-nine point two seven five were Filipino (naturally) and they talked and talked and talked. Even to me, as they wanted to practice their English. It was an interesting flight. It was bumpy and a number of times we had to buckle-up. Coming into Manila airport, wheels down and locked, I estimate we were about a minute from touch down and then the approach was aborted. I have never experienced this previously. All conversations stopped and the silence was heavy. Resigned to leaving my fate in the hands of the flight deck, the look of concern on the other passengers could have mirrored my own. Then try number two. Third time lucky I hoped. Apparently there were severe wind sheers close to the ground causing some problems for the pilot.
Manila airport is busy and a little chaotic. English is a third language here, so it took me a while to navigate my way through Passport Control, but being a ‘teacher/lecturer/academic is valued in the Philippines and helped the process. Then to collect my one bag. Other than a mild dispute with an American woman who mistook my bag for hers, (apparently it was my fault for having a bag like hers) the next chllenge was the transfer to the domestic flight to Cebu. Twenty minutes later I was directed to the Gate for the final leg of this journey. Mmmm wrong gate. Total confusion. The plane was at one gate and the passengers at another. A thirty minute delay but we eventually got away. The pilot must have stepped on the gas as the ninety minute flight took seventy. Once again my bag and I were reunited. It was nice to walk out of the airport and see a familiar face.
The taxi ride to the Henry Hotel was an eyeopener. The roads were not crowded, they were packed. Complex road junctions didn’t have traffic lights, but it all seemed to move in some order. Road works, two lanes merged into one, motorbikes meandering between slow moving vehicles, horns blaring and the ‘trikes’ and hop-on hop-off vans stopped where-ever to collect or disgorge passengers. Three or four on a motorbike, people hanging off the backs of the vans, the heat and the noise. What a vibrant, rich and constantly moving morass of vehicles, people and images. The twenty-five minute taxi ride cost P175, sounds a lot, but it works out to A$6.25.
I think that some of the constant complainers and whinging ‘Advertiser, Letters to the Editor‘ writers in Adelaide need to get out a bit more often. Life in Australia is not all that bad.
This is a rather long Post, my apologies for that, but the process of travel has been interesting, enjoyable, frustrating, and educational.
The Henry Hotel here in Cebu is an experience to enjoy. I will cover it with some photographs of this quirky and different hotel. It is Sunday and I’m invited to a colleague’s son’s fourth birthday celebrations. I anticipated this and have a ‘Blinky Bill’ DVD for him. Apparently he loves animals, animated and real. I wonder how the cross cultural understandings will work out?