If you didn’t read the first part of my dangerous adventure through Manila, shame on you. This is the story of why I hate traveling. Nothing ever goes my way.
To recap, I’m stuck in Manila trying to transfer terminals. Time is running out to catch my flight. Things are about to get a lot worse.
The bus to transfer terminals did eventually come, now with about two and a half hours left until my flight. It would have to practically smash through the streets in order to get me there with enough time to eat something at the airport like I really wanted to do.
I sat on the bus close to 30 minutes before it left. There were two other really nervous white people on the bus sitting a few rows behind which made me feel safe. Although they could probably outrun me in a dangerous situation it was easy to tell I was smarter than they were due to how sunburnt both were. Jenny made sure I didn’t get sunburnt at all thanks to daily applications of sunscreen or as we’d call it in the 1990s, sun tan lotion.
Adding to my agony was my cell phone, which doubled as my only source of the time. My phone had reset to 2014 at some point while in the Philippines and the time was an hour and 40 minutes off by a day. I also could not receive text messages or see if they had been sent. I only figured out what the time difference was by the radio on the bus saying the correct one. This unfortunately didn’t speed up the bus that took 40 minutes to get to the first terminal. Time was ticking away and I was coming closer and closer to missing my flight.
The next terminal stops were a lot quicker. Then we got to one really big unlabeled terminal. Everyone got off, including the burnt to a crisp white people. I figured, stupidly, that this was the main terminal. I really should have asked or clarified. When I approached the security guard at the front I was told that this was not the correct terminal. It is one thing to find out you are at the incorrect gate or door. The wrong terminal is terrible news.
“Crap!” I shouted. It’s the word I use when things are really bad. Shit doesn’t cut it. Crap is the kind of trouble where you’re in so deep you just have to laugh a little. I swear, in that moment, if someone came and stabbed me I would have felt a lot better.
I immediately got outside and saw a group of Muslims getting out of a cab. Oddly, in the United States, this would have meant the cab had several drivers. I asked the cab driver how much it would cost to get me to my terminal. He didn’t seem to understand what I was asking and fortunately the Muslims translated for me. I’m not sure in how many places across this planet a woman with her face completed covered in a dark cloak due to religious beliefs could help me out. Either way, I’m thankful that the ridiculous notion of people with different religious beliefs not getting along could be brushed aside just so I could get back home to my Muslim-phobic country.
The cab driver ripped me off, but in all fairness to him I didn’t care and I set myself up to pay five times as much for my trip. What should have cost about 100 pesos ended up at 500 pesos. This was still probably cheaper than the cost if I had taken this same taxi trip in New York City so I’m not complaining.
The terminal was the correct one this time and I got through security pretty quickly; the first part that is. The Philippines has about three security checks everywhere. Once through there, it was time to check in.
My final scare came when after passing my passport along to the clerk she told me to wait a moment then walked away with it. I thought for sure either some terrorist looked like me (hey they could, don’t be racist) or I had possibly done something in my sleep without realizing it. It took her what felt like forever to return. I thought for sure a cavity search was in order. One part of me didn’t want a finger up my butt while the other had hoped I cleaned it to pristineness. The only thing worse than a cavity search is having one then leaving the white glove brown. Instead, she just told me I’d have to settle for a middle seat.
Fuck. After all of this. A middle seat on a 20-hour plane ride was the worst thing that could happen. Where am I supposed to rest my elbows? Now I’m expected to have mutual respect with two people, not just one.
I conceited. It was worse than a cavity search. My privacy would be invaded for hours, not just a few minutes. I accepted my fate, went through the final tour of security, and then grabbed a hot dog with five minutes to spare before boarding began.