It’s 2 AM… – Philippines – Day 10

Early morning Jeepney

2:45 AM

For the first morning in a week, I didn’t wake up to the sound of roosters in the yard.

No, it was the jarring jingle of a ring coming from the hotel phone.

Gargh. It was too early. Too early.

Fortunately, I had laid out all of my clothes for the flight – wintry clothes, as I was going from the hot tropics to the cold blustering snow of Shanghai – the night before, so this made dressing relatively easy, even if I was half-dead.

I ambled downstairs, handed in my key, and piled into the airport shuttle van. I nearly fell asleep on my way over, but I did get one last look at Manila, in the predawn hours. Quiet yet still oddly fascinating in its undercurrent of life lived through the evening hours.

I had to wait outside at the airport for about twenty minutes before it “officially” opened. Needless to say, I was checked in quickly through business class – I think there was only four people there anyway! – and paid the large deposit of 550 pesos just for the privilege of leaving Manila, and went through customs. Easy enough, right?

As I had predicted, no food stands were open, so I immediately rolled into the business class lounge. They had just put out all sorts of food – fruit (more delicious mangos!), sausages, rice, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, and various pastries – so I eagerly got a plate of goodies. Luckily, they also had coffee ready, so I was in seventh heaven. Not quite the amazing quality of other places, but it was 3:30 AM, and I needed coffee. I needn’t be so very picky, I thought!

After a satisfying breakfast, I crashed and crashed hard on the soft lounge chair. It was only when more business travelers showed up that I actually woke up and went to check on my flight.

Now cruising over Manila

The terminal was now close to bursting with travelers, and we found out that our flight was an hour delayed. As more people arrived at the gates, more people fell asleep on the chairs, leaving less room for others. I gave up trying to find a seat and ended up in conversation with half of the school crowd also making their way back to Shanghai as well.

I picked up a few magazines in the little kiosk – some food and travel magazines – and went back to the business lounge to hang out. Why bother with the insane crowds otherwise?

After waiting for a time, I ventured back out to the terminal, and they finally were calling boarding for our flight. I jumped up again, got the business class treatment of quick boarding, and settled into my amazing seat. I had a mimosa in hand within minutes, ordered my lunch, and crashed into sleep before we even took off.

Lunch was about the only thing which could have woken me up. It was another tasty and fancy business class lunch, thankfully, and it was satisfying.

Back to sleep for another two hours.

Upon landing, it took great effort to get off the plane, walk a long way through the airport, collect my luggage, and find the Maglev station. I went from one far terminal to another, and when I got to the Maglev and had my ticket in hand, I slumped into a chair and would have easily fallen asleep again if not for the Maglev’s quick arrival at the airport.

Seven minutes later, I was out in Jinqiao. I grabbed a cab – he had no idea where my street was, so I had to navigate in Mandarin from Carrefour – and was so very happy to see my apartment, finally, after about three days’ worth of travel from here to there.

I cranked up the heat in my rather chilly apartment, plopped down on my sofa, and, after arranging a foot massage appointment with Julie, slipped blissfully off into sleep once more.

Home.

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