Here I am writing my experience for the fear of losing it with my fleeting memory. Seated on a low chair that obviously doesn’t match with the glass-top table. WGN is making one of the few noise in the room, reporting baseball stuff on an 80″ TV, maybe 100″, its width matches with my king size bed.
I’m enjoying my stay in this hotel, me being a home buddy (yes I am!), I enjoyed every corner of this room with floor to ceiling windows, own brewing machine and lots of lamp! (I’m mababaw like that). And no I don’t get scared or lonely in being alone, I take this as a chance to unwind, and do the hell I want. I’m free to jump on this bed like a kid, play John Mayer songs at night and practice my posing on the mirror (but no I didn’t). One thing though, is I don’t have all the time in my hands because truth is, I’m not here for pleasure, I’m here for work.
I really can’t do both things at the same time because honestly, I’ll end up wanting the travel part. But I’m proud to say that I enjoyed the ‘work’ part not because I’m indebted for the opportunity but because it’s refreshing. I get to see my work on a different level, I felt our language is valuable, I felt I am relevant. But I won’t be talking about the nature of my work, I’m here to put my memory (which sometimes fail me) on records.
The Long Haul Flight
Going back to the start, knowing I’ll land on another country gave me mixed feelings. With all the times I traveled with airplanes, it’s not new and exciting to me, but a 13h+ flight? I might have died out of boredom. And ignorance on out of the country flights worry me. (I’m paranoid like that) But I’m excited for weeks that I even plotted my outfits. It has a good reason though because I’ll be going with just a carry-on suitcase.
The weeks flew in so fast. Suddenly I’m at NAIA Terminal 3 waiting for our boarding time. I only have two hours of sleep- not intentional-which I said I’ll be able to get on the plane anyway, which was true. The whole time I tried to finish a movie I went snoozing on the first quarter. And funny as it seems, I wake up every time food is being served, like I have a food detector. Food is not bad by the way. 😀
The first layover was supposed to be a happy one. I’ve landed on Japan. Haha! Can we count that one?
|Sige ipost kahit ubos na haha|
Okay so that was about 2 hours layover and we went looking for food (because we thought our next flight will not serve one, silly). We had difficulty deciding whether to buy McDonald’s in dollars or in Yen. The store can only provide change for $20 in Yen. So that change was a problem for us because first, we don’t have smaller $ bills, and second, what’ll we do with those yens? HAHAHA. In the end after that one hour of walking back and forth, we boarded with nothing. And looking back at that moment irritates me, we wasted time! Hahaha
It is really inconvenient to have 2 stop overs. The long haul flight is already enough but to fly 3 times? It was so tiring. We had a Manila -> Narita -> Detroit -> O’hare itinerary. We don’t have a choice because the company booked it. And though having been to multiple airport seems great, it felt like there’s no end in seeing daylight. We left Manila early in the morning and we haven’t seen night since then. We arrived at O’hare by 6PM, but it’s still bright until 8PM. Hahaha Still amazing, but exhausting.
|O’hare Int’l Airport|
The whole travel was comfortable, most of the time. You know, food is available, airports are easy to navigate, there’s enough layover time, there’s WiFi on all the airports and there’s enough movie on the entertainment system. But the challenges that I had which now I think were important were three things:
1. Wearing compression socks. If it’s a long haul flight and you are not blessed to get the business class, these are essential. So many times I wasn’t able to sleep because of cramps and wanting to stretch my legs – stretch like for long minutes. And this is not easy especially if you’re in the middle/inner seats and you don’t want to consistently bother the aisle seats. That’s why now I believe that the aisle seats are the best seat of all. It gives you the freedom to get out and stretch, pee and.. pee. But yeah you can’t ignore someone else’s need to get out. Sometimes you got to ditch the desire for window seats. Weigh it depending on your needs.
2. If you can check in your bags, check it in, because nothing beats the convenience of not bringing heavy bags and trolleys all the time, in the airport and on your layover.
3. Wear slip-ons. Security layers can be more than 2, and I admit that it’s a hassle to always tie your shoe laces after taking them off in the security. Plus I did not wear socks, imagine me walking barefooted. Hahaha Not alone though, but the next time, I’ll be sure to wear those foot babies.
|The mandatory picture|
We landed around 6PM in O’hare, Chicago. That long corridor where gates are lined up felt endless. We exited on the last gate so we passed by all the other gates in the wing. It was pretty fast than I expected. Our bags came just in time on the Baggage Claim and the hotel shuttle is just one flight down. The place felt like BGC, just on a very large scale. The driver then came to us and asked if we are guests. We boarded the shuttle bus without any booking proof, just our ‘yes-es’.
Amidst the stress and fatigue of flying for hours, I can’t forget the feeling that I had when the cool wind of Chicago slapped me and woke me up to reality. “I’m here” I said to myself. O.A. pero totoo, nakakatuwa! The clean streets, obedient cars, grass areas, not much of people and 8PM daylight. I was giggling out of happiness and cold. And yeah I’m quite fierce in wearing shorts in a cold country. Akala ko kasi hindi na ko lalabas. Haha But the stomach calls and I shall reply, I went out to get some food and tourist sim card.
Going to the mall is like a walk in the park, except that we arrived 1.5 hours before closing. Because we went first to T-Mobile and baseball cap shops, we didn’t have time to eat Haha. Ending, we need to walk back to the hotel and have room service because the affordable resto or fast food are either closed or far. Well, not in my case, I went out to Downtown and continued my quest and it’s one different story! For now, I have to take a break and recall all things that happened.