Monday, May 5, 2008



Nightmare. I woke up on the day of my flight with a raging fever, sore muscles, and a dizziness that won’t go away. I’ve had a fever since Saturday morning (March 8), and the last minute panic shopping for things to bring and zipping across the metro in taxis for medical results and doctor’s appointments exacerbated it. The paracetamol would not work, though sweating in bed covered with a thick jacket in the Sunday heat did a miracle. By 5:30 pm, I was inside a cab on my way to the airport with my mom. Gosh, the old NAIA looked so crummy. As I unloaded my luggage at the departure area, the handle on my huge suitcase promptly came off. Terror at the Cebu Pacific counter because I feared I would exceed the baggage limit (P300.00 per excess kilo!). Unbelievably, it came down to only 21 kilograms. Whew! There was the usual long queue at the immigration. I was extremely hungry so I made a dash for the nearest money vacuum known as the airport deli, but three delis later, I still could not buy anything because all of them did not have change for my dollars (I blew my remaining pesos on the terminal fee) and the money changers at the airport did not have smaller bills also (why don’t you just close!). Six dollars later, I wolfed down a so-so beef pastrami and Coke Zero. I had to eat once more just before entering my gate, and I had to buy food for the flight because Cebu Pacific doesn’t serve any. By 9:45 I was inside the plane, and at 10:15, on my way to Bangkok.

Say what you will about Manila, but viewed from a plane at night, Manila looks like a mass of glitters that truly sparkles. Bangkok pales in comparison, or could it be because the plane doesn’t really fly over the city before it reaches the airport.

The new Suvarnabhumi airport looks fabulous from the outside, like a gigantic alien mollusk that just landed to take more people in to be brought to wherever dimension it came from. One thing about the airport though: they really make you walk. To get from point A to point B is to virtually tour the whole place, wherein you pass by duty free shops, restaurants, and giant golden Thai statues. I took a public taxi to the hotel at the outskirts of the city, where I will spend like five hours before my connecting flight to Kathmandu.

From my taxi and hotel window, Bangkok looked just like Manila, but maybe a little more polished. I did not see any temples yet on the way though. After a brief sleep, I woke up, took my breakfast of cold veg pizza which I bought in Manila, and met my fellow observers from Southeast Asia downstairs. Aside from me, Malaysia was in the house, so was Indonesia, Cambodia, and Thailand. Apparently, I was the last one to arrive; some of them arrived two days before and have already roamed Bangkok. Unfair! Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand have three or more delegates, while Rain from Cambodia and I have to represent our countries alone. No complaints there.

At 10:45am, our plane took off for Nepal, where I’ll be spending the next five or so weeks doing something I love. See you in a jiffy!

Dispatches from Nepal

I know I said I would blog my way through the Himalayas, blah blah blah, but guess what, the internet connection was really slow (cue sound of dial up here) that it would have been totally frustrating and just plain impossible to do that.

Well starting today (for the next month or so actually) I'll be publishing my travel journals. It will surely take time because I took more than a couple of thousand photos and I want to show them all to you through this blog. Imagine uploading all those photos from Nepal...

Take this journey with me again, will ya.