I’m out of practice. I forgot what it was like to have a long travel day; planes, buses, taxis, negotiating the unknown on your own. Getting to your desired travel destination can be like running in a travel obstacle course! Granted, I think I am pretty skilled at this, but it’s been about 6 months since I put myself through this kind of travel obstacle course. I’ve been safely living in Vietnam taking little side trips to Singapore and southern Vietnam. However, I was now leaving on an unplanned adventure in the Philippines; I had to dust off my travel skills again.
I left HCMC this morning with the standard crazy ride to the airport in my little taxi surrounded by motorbikes, bicycles, walkers, vendors; the general craziness of a semi-developed country’s transportation. My flight to the Philippines went rather smoothly and I was excited to get yet another new stamp on my passport. I love coming into new countries, you never really know what to expect and everything is new. I was surprised that such a huge airport had so few people working in immigration and even less people working in baggage! I waited about 40 minutes for my bag to arrive on the belt. When I stepped outside the terminal I was hit with a blast of hot, sticky air welcoming me to this island nation.
After a shuttle ride to the wrong terminal, an unsuccessful quest to find an ATM that wouldn’t spit out my Debit Mastercard (ultimately I had to solve this at the money exchange), and finally a taxi ride into Manilla, I completed my first leg. My family from Singapore were in Manilla for a week for a softball tournament. (yeah, I used to think it was a big deal to travel outside of Peoria for a softball tournament when I was a kid – my nieces were crossing international borders!) I had a small reprieve for about 6 hours while I saw my family and repacked my bag for my trekking in the northern Philippines After a shower and proper dinner of pizza and donuts, I was off for leg #2 – a 10 hour overnight bus ride to Banaue.
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