Friday, September 28, 2007

My Trip Home

It's been a while since I posted anything. I've been flying about and "living on the good graces of others," which I suppose is a pretty common way for many in the world to live, especially back there in my expat country of the Phils. Thing is, I'm not used to it. It makes me feel like a little kid again, like a person with no means. I know its all in my head, so I'm just gutting it out and trying to enjoy this limited time I have with family.

The Northwest flight was okay. Ed Abbey is right though, that airline really seems to pack the passengers in tight. Lucky for me I was seated next to a young fairly slender Filipino fellow and not some rotund American. Not all of us United Statesians have prodigious bodies, but anymore there are plenty that sure do spread out and take up a lot of room. When I was still active duty Air Force I used to fly at least two or three times a month and more often than not I found myself sitting next to, or even worse, between two ample American dudes. Their arms would jut out into my space and we'd subtly joust over the armrest. I can't imagine having to do that for 12 hours from Nagoya to Detroit. Perish the thought, but it could certainly happen! [knock wood]

I got a pleasant surprise at the Manila terminal. The travel tax was the P1660 like I was told, but the exit/reentry permit was only P2170 instead of the P2700 that I thought I was told it was going to be. I handed the ACRI girl P3000 and she immediately gave me back P500. It felt like Christmas!

Aside from the close seat arrangements, the two segments--the 3 plus hour flight to Nagoya and the 12 hour continuation to Detroit--went very smooth and uneventful. No one pissed me off for once. No one took off their shoes with stinky socks. No one stood next to me while I was trying to nap while yapping at the top of their voices. And there were no crying whiny kids anywhere near my seat. I guess I just got lucky. I hope the return trip is as sweet, but I always expect the worst.

I opted to handcarry my single suitcase which turned out to be a smart move. I won't be able to do it on the way home, but at Detroit, even though I was in the back quarter of the plane I was the first one out of the terminal. My brother had only just taken a seat in the waiting area and I spotted the top of his salt and pepper head behind a newspaper. He was a bit surprised at my quick appearance. It helped too that a new line in front of the Homeland Security Immigration booths happened to open up adjacent to the long one I found myself in. I made an un-cool dash into the new one and fought myself into the third position. Some obtuse Chinese fellow with a green card failed to have his declaration card filled out as we had all been clearly instructed to have done more than three times on the flight and he was made to step out of line. I snuck in ahead of him and sailed through. I've never been through customs that quick. It was slick.

So far I'm missing a few things about my life in the Philippines, but I'm also realizing a lot why the USA is such a wonderful country in its own right. More on some of those observations soon. I think I'll go play with my grandson now. At the moment I'm looking out at a Central Texas mid day sky from my daughter's computer table where she lives in Killeen Texas. Seems like a nice place, but I don't think I want to live here.


Ed said...

Sounds like you had a good trip here and hope the rest goes as well. I can't wait for the stories.

Phil said...

Yah, i need to write some of this stuff down...