Being curiously relaxed about undertaking such a long journey is certainly not the typical British state when just about to go about a holiday. Most of the time it takes us a day or two to get over the stress of travelling but such was my whimsical mood that I started to ponder (in Leicester, no less) why nobody really talks about or even notices weathervanes anymore. It seems strange when so many are created in such an arty way.
Even the prominent display of the book The Crash Detectives (replete with an aeroplane and separate flaming wing falling off on the cover) in the expectedly poor excuse for an airport bookshop couldn’t dampen my ‘enthusiasm’ for a 14 hour flight. My mind was well and truly blown to experience Philippine Airlines, who board the passengers at the back first, we were all seated in about ten minutes, much more efficient and professional than the other way…Delta Airlines I’m looking at you.
Planes are always interesting, the mishmash of emotions you see people going through; those going on holiday, coming back from holiday, the grind of work trips, the back packers off for months at a time. Each one has a fascinating story to tell no doubt, not that anybody was particularly willing to talk with the length of the flight and I had my book my book to read so priorities…
Upon landing in Manila, I was hit by a 35 degree heat wave and a massive queue to get through customs owing to some disputes with the airport workers and an ongoing strike. Then utter relief to find my girlfriend and guide Crissy who was to lead me through the fascinating parts as well as the madness of this wonderful country; proof of which was the first thing I saw on TV being a Christmas film.
Leaving Manila on Good Friday is a wonderfully calm experience, I thought it was a pleasant and quiet city, my fried brain forgot that this 80% Roman Catholic country were enjoying a holiday weekend and that the seeming chaos I would later encounter was only put on hold. It did allow me to get home quickly to my adoptive family who were all eager to meet me.
After a surprise initiation, proving myself by eating Balut which is boiled bird embryo eaten from the shell – and tastes good (like chicken) despite its appearance – washed down with a couple of glasses of brandy to help me cope with this ordeal, I felt very much at home and relaxed – despite a whirlwind of new faces, names and experiences – ready to begin my adventure with some well deserved sleep.
The photos are still being gathered and as I forgot to take any on day one, these one here will serve as a taster to what is to come.