You Can’t Go Home Again
So, as I mentioned on more than a few occasions on both the website and our You Tube channel, I had been planning on going to the US sometime this Spring to visit family and address some nagging medical issues that I had been having – primarily the brutal sciatica that I had been dealing with ever since the end of February. (Damn you and your potholes, Mabinay!!!).
“He who hesitates is lost…” or at least pays more….
I had purchased my round trip airline ticket in January via Priceline, I believe. (Just so ya know, one of the best time to buy airline tickets is right after the Christmas holiday.) When I had first checked the prices, I was quite pleased to see that a round trip flight to Florida was about $1,100.00 – pretty good, right? But by the time I had checked with family on their April-May schedules, I had let a week slip by – actually two – and the next time I checked it had risen to $1,400.00!! Shame on me, I guess. Concerned that the costs might continue to increase, I cursed my procrastination and ponied up my credit card for a ticket. Lesson – as they say – learned, and now that I know that, I am going to make sure that I check upcoming flight costs during the first week of January.
I didn’t take very many photos while I was in the US, so unfortunately there won’t be too many graphics accompanying these posts. Seeing as they are images of things you are already familiar with (uh, photos of the United States…), that shouldn’t be too big of a deal. Just use your imagination. J
Instead of doing one long blog post, I am simply going to write a series of little excerpts from my time in the US. Given the typical reader’s (not to mention, my own) limited attention span, maybe that will work out well. Guess, we’ll see….
Preparing for a big trip is stressful – even if it’s something that you are actually looking forward to. For some reason or another, I am even more susceptible to this, and I turn into a frazzled mess as big travel dates approach. I had made lists, delineated tasks and had spent the two weeks before I left running around taking care of last-minute details. Money was one of the things that I had to deal with – not only did I have to make sure that Michell had enough to carry her (and her sister) for the month (along with provision for any potential emergencies), but I also had to make sure that she had enough pesos in her account to pay for the long-delayed house construction that was supposed to start at some point after my departure. That alone was about $1,500.00, so the transfer I made to her BPI account was pretty substantial. That done, I had to make sure that Michell had the video stuff all set up to document the construction, had to remove the battery from the truck, clean up all my computers, pack my stuff, keep updated on who was going to keep Michell company, and just take care of one crisis after another. I think by the time I actually left the house, I was down to 188 pounds due to stress and diminished appetite. Not to worry, though, gentle readers – I was back at 200 pounds 30 days later when it was time to come back to the Philippines. J Mmmmmm…..pizza!
All the Lonely People…
I am kind of an insensitive moron at times. Blatant understatement, that. After buying my ticket, I hadn’t given much thought to what Michell would do while I was gone. I have pretty much been a loner all my life – the typical, self-stylized independent American. I also have no problem with being alone – in many ways it’s actually a comfort zone for me. So, when Michell asked who would stay with her while I was gone, I was kinda like “Oh….yeah…….” – Insensitive, self-absorbed dummy….. Luckily, she is a lot smarter than I (by a good margin), so she quickly made arrangements for her younger sister (who is an accountant) to come to the City of Gentle People to stay here for the duration of my stay in the States. As the date of departure approached, however, there was a bit of additional stress, as her sister voiced her concerns over our sketchy internet and said that she might not be able to do it. But – as most who follow our misadventure already know – the best laid plans of mice and men can sometimes come to naught when the vagaries of reality raise their ugly heads. Sigh….
Two if By Sea
Seeking to avoid the insanity of flying out of Manila, I had booked my flight out of Mactan in Cebu City, which – in addition to being the second largest metropolis in the Philippines – is just a hop, skip and quick swim from Negros Oriental. Having already spent a “fun-filled” 10 hour round trip voyage on the Ceres bus (drive-ferry-drive, rinse and repeat) to get my exit clearance, I figured I would take a ferry over from Dumaguete and spend the day prior to my actual morning flight chilling at a Mactan hotel. Michell and I duly zipped down to the port to check the schedules and realized that the only real way to do that was to take the midnight ferry which rolls into Cebu at about 7 AM. No worries, that, so I purchased the ticket. I had already made my reservation at Ace Pension in Mactan, so I gave them a quick call and then assured me I could check in early and wouldn’t have to wander the mean streets of Cebu until noontime.
We actually took Michell’s (somewhat) trusty RUSI scooter down to the port the night I left – we had tested the balance of me and my suitcase earlier in the day, which – like most of our misadventures – actually turned out to be pretty comical, but luckily no one was seriously injured. I drove the scooter down to the port while poor Michell had to balance my suitcase on her lap behind me. It was late – Dumaguete is pretty much asleep by 9 PM – so we didn’t hit any traffic and the trip was uneventful.
The good thing about taking the midnight ferry is that you get to lie down on a bunk and get some winks in over the seven-hour trip. Filipinos and their ability to sleep on demand never cease to amaze me. I was all keyed up still and couldn’t sleep for hours, but as soon as the ferry left the port, everyone else aboard was instantly in dreamland. As I always do, I instantly resented everyone there who had the ability to crash out while I had to spend the next couple of hours trying to unwind to join them in never-never land.
I finally got to sleep around 3 AM and was able to get in some Z’s before the ferry docked at Pier Two in Cebu harbor at 7 in the morning. Joining the sleepy-eyed exodus off the ship, I dragged my bag off, sucked down a smoke, and tracked down a taxi.
My voyage back to America had begun.