Lady Hiva and I packed our bags and stumbled to the curb for a taxi to the airport. The Taxi driver ripped us off of course, but at least we got there on time! After a slightly frustrating check in because "You no allow. Only 2 baggage 12 and half kilo eatch..." I am sure I had the are-you-seriously-telling-me-this look on my face because remember all SIX stuffed suitcases we are lugging around the world--and don't forget the one smelling oddly like old lady! "You pay ekggstra..." was what we were told, just so you know if you are not familiar with metric system, 25 kilos equals about 50 pounds! We have a grand total of 250 pounds MORE than THAT! Yet, as always the perfectly polite Asia salesman tries to point out the bright side, "You no have to carry all day, and only charge 3500 Hong Kong!" YIKES! That is around $450! After a small panic attack and some talking he realized that we only had to pay for two of the six bags--phew. He gave us a Philippines Airline sticker to wear, advertising to the whole world where we were headed--I am sure it makes it easier for airport guides who don't speak all the languages of the travelers, but I felt like a third grader that just got a "good job!" sticker for my penmanship. Maybe it is a "good job you paid for all your baggage" sticker! haha!
Hiva and I were ready for something other than Chinese food after 4 days worth of it, but the hunt in the GINORMOUS airport was fruitless. The only choices left were a Japanese grill and McDs--of course. We went with Japanese! The flight was the scariest flight I have ever been on. Halfway through the plane groaned and pitched straight down. Luckily I had my seat belt on, but I due to the claustrophobia factor I always wear it loose so I still pitched about a foot out of my seat with the sudden change in direction. People started screaming--not how a plane full of Americans would scream, it was a bunch of Asian screaming that was more like short, high pitched "oh, oh ooohs!" By chance the food trays were still waiting to be collected and they too launched into mid air. I caught my right before it spilled over the seat in front of me! Adrenline rushed through my body and all I could think was, "I hope we die BEFORE we hit, I do not really want to drown. How Ironic it is that I actually DID listen to the scfety briefing before the flight this time. I usually ignore it. I jinxed us." The plane stabilized after a minute and just as I released my muscles in relief, it pitched again! Next thought: "Well, at least if we die now all the paperwork is in place for our things to be taken care of." Lady Hiva's fingers clawed into my leg until the plane once again leveled. It took awhile before she let go afterwards we did not know if it was going to happen again. I noticed I too was clinging onto the traytable in a vicelike grip. Hiva leaned over and whispered, "All I could think was at least we die together and you will not leave me here alone." Yes, we are really positive people!
The captain came over the load speaker, "We are experiencing some turbulence," sarcastically I thought, 'You think?!' "Please put on your seatbelts and remain in your seats until the seat belt sign is turned off." And that was it. Ten minutes later the shaking stopped, the staff came and collected the garbage and the flight continued--I definitely did NOT sleep after that. I am noticing Asians have an immense ability to adapt to a situation then move on like nothing happened.
We landed in the Philippines and it felt so good! The air was warm and humid, about like Hawaii. Some people from work were there to greet us with a sign that said, "Bradshaw," as we came out of the customs area. They took our suitcases and put us quickly in cars and we were off in a matter of minutes! Neither of us have ever had that happen before.
We were trying to take in everything as we drove. There were people everywhere. Cars clustered in the road in some sort of chaotic concerto that I could not quite understand. There are painted lines on the road, but nobody used them. Large touring buses that usually are on freeways in the U.S. are their bus system and dart around like they are Honda civics. Jeepneys are a symbol of the Philippines and can be seen all over. Originally they started as U.S. military abandoned vehicles here.After converting them into taxi services owned by individuals, they are now a common way to get around. Each Jeepney is different, full of vibrant colors and any other lavish decoration the owner wants to use like flags, lots of chrome and luxury car symbols. I will have to take some photos and put them up. At least the buildings are smaller than in Hong Kong so you can see the sky where ever you go. The difference being it is a bit dirtier here. I kept thinking, "This is home for the next two years!" Lady and I are really excited to see where the adventure leads next!
We arrived at our house, it was fun to explore it! MUCH larger than the one bedroom apartments we have been living in! The outside looks quite a bit like Hawaii in style, color, and vegetation. The only difference is that there are stray cats instead of stray chickens. Although I am sure there may be some of them around too! The house has an endless supply of closets and storage space--that is probably the biggest difference from our one bedroom apartments. Hiva's favorite part was all the space in the newly renovated kitchen. I just happened to be taking photos when she opened the large pantry with pull out shelves! Her happiness was wonderfully priceless!
We spent the next few hours cleaning everything that was necessary for that night--sheets (because they happened to be in the bag that smelled like old lady now and I was not about to sleep with that all night and the bathroom. Some friends had brought a casserole over for us to eat so we did not need to worry. We are going to like this place!