Hello from the tropical islands of the Philippines!
Right now it’s about 90 degrees, and I haven’t really stopped sweating in days. I’m here for my annual holiday trip (you can see my posts on past trips here and here) – something I look forward to all year! I’m sharing snippets of my vacation on Instagram, but I’ll be sure to write a recap when I get back to Boston. I’m having a glorious time with family and friends, but before I got here, I had to travel for over 30 hours. That’s right, 30 hours from when I left my apartment in Harvard Square to when I arrived at our house in Manila. I thought it would be fun to document my day of travel – at least it kept me busy at the airports!
Here’s my day of travel, live-blog style:
6 am – I’m up even before my alarm, waking up from a dream that involved the guys from Vanderpump Rules. I can’t decide who I like more: Peter the bar manager or the Tom who doesn’t work at Sur. I realize I am watching too much Bravo TV and I’m both happy and sad that I’ll be forced to take a break from reality TV shows when I’m in the Philippines (it’s all delayed telecast, plus I hardly watch any TV when I’m home). I take my time getting ready and doing some last minute packing, making sure all the liquids that I’m carrying are in a separate plastic bag.
8 am – I quickly eat an orange and make a little bag of trail mix for the plane (walnuts, dates, dark chocolate chips, pistachios, banana chips). I also eat the last piece of chocolate bark that I’ve been saving for myself.I lug my three heavy bags down the stairs, one by one, then hand them to the Uber driver waiting outside my door, and get in the warm interiors of the black car waiting for me. Uber, you have my heart (and wallet). I arrive at the airport in 20 minutes; check in at Delta was a breeze and took all of 5 minutes, so before I knew it, I was sitting in the Delta lounge. I get a cup of oatmeal and add more milk and sugar. It is gross.
10:30 am – a man on the plane spills some of his hot coffee on my jacket and pants right as I was about to hoist up my carry on luggage on the overhead bins. He was super apologetic, which was nice of him but unnecessary, since my jacket and pants are both wool and thick, so I hardly felt it. The flight attendant teaches me a trick they use when they spill something on their uniforms: use the disposable sanitary pads in the bathroom! She says it doesn’t shred like regular tissue/toilet paper, and soaks up spills nicely. Weird, but it works.
1 pm – we land in Detroit ahead of schedule. I really like Delta; I know some people have had horrible experiences but I think they have great customer service and they’re really friendly (and no, this post is not sponsored in any way). I make my way to the Delta lounge again and it is packed; there’s also a line at the bar where people are making their own drinks. I was tempted to get wine but decided to pass since I know that alcohol will make me dehydrated. I feel a little smug about my self-control. I then make a meal from the snack bar: crackers (tastes like cardboard with flecks of black pepper), cheese (good), carrot sticks (good), popcorn (gross), pretzels (good), and for dessert: a Biscoff cookie and Nutella. I thought that dipping the cookie in Nutella would be amazing but honestly I don’t even really like Biscoff so I just took a bite and ended up dipping mini pretzels in Nutella (the best).
3:45 pm – I’m settled in nicely in my seat at the second level of the plane. I am offered a mimosa as a welcome drink, and I accept it, saying goodbye to short-lived self-control. I admire all the amenities around me and then proceeded to rip everything out of the plastic bags, like I’m opening presents on Christmas day: two pillows, a thick blanket/comforter, noise-cancelling headphones, and a Tumi toiletries kit with Malin + Goetz lotion, lip balm, and a bunch of other goodies. I stack my magazines by my side, plus my Kindle, iPhone, and a bar of Lindt chocolate. After take-off and the seatbelt sign was taken off, I go to the tiny bathroom to wipe off all my make-up, remove my contacts, and change into leggings and a cotton long sleeve shirt. Back in my seat I slather on lotion on my hands and feet, then put on my fuzzy pink socks. I am ready for this. 14 hour flight, bring it on.
5:45 pm (I think) – I have already lost track of time. All I know is Delta is about to serve dinner. It’s a multi-course dinner, with a placemat and real utensils. And wine.
Grilled shrimp over corn salsa; potato soup, goat cheese and arugula salad; grilled tenderloin with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes; a little pot of creme brulee, and cheese, fruit, and crackers. It was a lot of food for one meal. The only things I finish are the soup and dessert course (of course).
I watch 3 movies in succession: The Wolverine, Adore, and The Hangover III. That’s about 6 hours of movie watching, with a few breaks to stretch my legs. I’ve eaten the apple I brought with me, some chocolate, and a teeny bag of chips from the snack bar. Finally, I’m ready to sleep. I check my watch and it looks like we have 6 more hours left before landing in Japan.
1 am – I think we’ve already crossed time zones so really don’t know what time it is… I feel groggy and zombie like.
4 am (or around 2 more hours to go) – Delta is now serving breakfast. I opted to pass and instead try to sleep again. I’m in a flat bed, which is the best scenario in this situation, but I have a hard time falling asleep on planes. I feel slightly guilty for not eating breakfast – not only am I wired to think that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I feel bad that after paying so much for this First Class ticket, I’m not taking advantage of all the perks.
6 am – I change into my “normal” clothes again and freshen up, telling myself that the worst (the long haul) is over!
7 am / 8 pm – we’re now in Nagoya, Japan, and I have adjusted my watch to the Asian time zone. I quickly duck into one of the airport stores to buy a box of strawberry KitKat for my sisters. I didn’t have a lot of time to wander around but later on I did second guess myself and thought that maybe I should’ve bought another box of matcha (green tea) KitKats, at least for myself. I can just grab one on my way back to Boston… next month!
9 pm – I’m on my laptop updating this (delayed) live blog, when I hear that our flight to Manila is delayed. I feel the sigh of frustration ripple through the gate from my fellow Pinoys. We just want to get home!
10 pm – finally we board and I’m in the exact same seat, and I go through the motions of ripping out the pillow/blanket/headphones from the plastic bags again and settling into my little pod. I don’t get a new toiletries kit, though, because this is a short flight (Japan to Manila is just over 4 hours).
11 pm – I’m watching The Internship and snacking on this “cold deli plate” and this awesome slice of cake. It has layers of flaky pastry and sweet cream. I feel full and hungry at the same time. But I’m starting to be in high spirits again. Only a few more hours to go!
1:30 am – Touchdown Philippines! It is so hot and humid, and I’m soaked in sweat within seconds of stepping out of the airport. But I am too excited to care. My sweet dad is there to pick me up and I give him a sweaty hug.
3 am – After 30 hours of traveling, I’m finally home sweet home.
And today, I’m having a little Christmas party with my friends and family. I am SO HAPPY to be spending the holidays here again, and I hope all of you are as grateful and content as I am, too.
Thanks for indulging me, dear readers! If you’re traveling, too, I wish you luck and comfort. I know that the hours and days of travel will be all worth it. It really is the most wonderful time of the year :) Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! xo