A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about air travel

My brain is sprawling across the floor in Vietnam

And my head, in Manila, misses its companion

sunny 27 °C
View Southeast Asia on kmpossible's travel map.

...I just found this entry...enjoy!

Jet lag is better than any drug out there…and trust me, I’ve done them all. (Keep up here..kidding!) Have you ever been at a day party on a Sunday, and unwittingly engaged in conversation a person who hasn’t seen the inside of their own eyelids since Thursday night? …well, maybe for that few minutes when they passed out on the toilet at the club…. I’ve got about half that amount of attention span right now. I was just sitting in a really crowded area next to the sandwich shop here at Manila’s international airport, when another traveler started talking to me. Turns out I had accidentally sat on his girlfriend. (No, not really…come on, keep up.) Scott, from Australia, here on business – you know, that work stuff. Anyway, we were making idle chatter, and he mentions that he was training people here to do some sort of computer/electronics repair (see, can’t remember, no attention span), to which I replied, “Oh, do you speak Vietnamese?” Mind you, we’re in the Philippines. He took the question in stride, obviously he had noticed the luggage under my bloodshot excuses for eyes – or maybe he thought I’m just dumb? No matter, I laughed it off and said something real smrt like, “So….. …..uhhhh…..how ‘bout them ‘9ers?”

I raced off to my hibernation spot at the other end of the airport, between the smoker’s quarantine and the Manila cigar stand. I can actually see the opposite end of the airport from here…it’s only about 150 yards away. There’s only one place to get actual food, the rest of the places serve pastries and fruit n yoghurt smoothies. When I say ‘actual food’, I mean some greasy noodles w/ “tomato sauce” topped off with some weird combination of processed cheese & gravy. Luckily, that was my lunch. =( It was hot as hell when I took it to my little table, and in my stomach, as lava tends to do when it cools, it became some sort of stone. Why do I eat when flying? Seriously…next time I’m just gonna fast…it’s for the best!

I’m $150 poorer too. Had to pay for “excess baggage” on Philippine Airlines, even though I only have a backpack and one bag to check. I guess my kite bag was a couple centimeters too long, and they decided I should pay. That and the fact that I have a fakey golf bag (says such and such golf on the outside) checking in right next to 3 guys with ACUTAL golf bags. Danm! I guess I should feel lucky, this is the first time I’ve had to pay for the big bag, and it’s almost always over the weight allowance.

Posted by kmpossible 05:33 Archived in Philippines Tagged air_travel Comments (1)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Exit Manila, Enter Saigon

all seasons in one day
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Ok ok, so let me just say, Manila airport isn’t THAT bad…just on arrival there’s no air-con, upon departure, there IS air-con. There seems to be a strange trail of paper we’re leaving behind us here…everyone likes to give you a bit of paper to sign – for instance when we got a couple towels near the pool at our hotel in Manila, the attendant gave me a receipt saying that I had two towels. So I signed it and he was happy…seems a bit unnecessary when they have the room number, but whatever.

So we left Manila airport at about 11pm on Cebu Pacific airlines – which must be the worst airline EVER. Upon first inspection, it looks and feels just like any other airplane, except the fact that it was colder than a meat locker (mmmmmm….meat!). When you sit down, you start to notice little things, like the exit signs that are just a little too brightly lit, and the arm rests don’t have the requisite channel change and volume buttons…there’s nothing there! Luckily, we thought, the seats do recline – no small feat of engineering for seats that are literally 12 inches apart front to back. Taking off on our 3 hour flight to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), we realize that our particular seats DO NOT recline. Oh well I thought, until the people in front of me reclined, putting my nose securely on the back of their seat. Hummph! Grrrr! Well, at least I can’t fall forward in the event of a “water landing”. I wonder if they really DO have the oxygen masks and floaty seat cushions, or if it’s all for show.

I somehow manage to sleep fitfully, waking up every 10 or 15 seconds saying audibly “Aaaaaoooooooooow(ch)” and then nodding off again.

Did I mention that we’re actually having a good time??? No really, it’s great, just some things – most things - aren’t exactly how I pictured them.

Arriving in Saigon was a treat. The airport is expansive and shiny, very clean, and immigration and customs were a breeze - possibly because it was 1am. Our bags came, once again, faster than they do at SFO. We were met by a boisterous man with a sign bearing my name, who prompted us into a taxi...our kite bags were put into a SUV type car, and we were taken separately in another car, which scared me a bit. My fear wasn't squashed when Mike said "That's probably the last time we see those bags." I didn't realize he was kidding, and went into panic mode until our car caught up with the other taxi containing our bags.

We stayed that night and the following night at Madame Cuc's in Saigon. We arrived very early in the morning, so the gates were locked in front of the hotel, and a very sleepy girl opened them for us. We stood there in the dark just inside the doors trying to figure out what she was saying (turns out it was "passport"). She was gesturing to us, but as it was so dark, we couldn't see what she was doing...it was very frustrating for all, since we were all tired. We finally got the passports out, which they hold at the front desk in a safe until you check out, and more importantly, pay. The hotel was very shiny and clean, and that was comforting. Following the empty-handed girl, we lugged our 50lb kite bags plus our backpacks up what seemed like 5000 flights of stairs, the lower floors having shallow steps. Each floor the stairs got steeper and steeper, which didn't make the climb any easier, and on no sleep and little food. Check out the photo, can you see the bottom floor? This photo was taken from the floor below us, so we were even further up:


Finally, we got some sleep after turning on the air conditioning...ahhhhh.

Posted by kmpossible 21:51 Archived in Vietnam Tagged air_travel Comments (2)

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