Jun 15, 2011

some thoughts about going home

I have traveled a lot before, but I never really wrote about it. So I decide to try it today. It maybe the most boring thing you'll ever read on the internet, but that's fine -- you don't have to read it if you don't want to.

So, I recently went back home to the Philippines. No other flights could have been any longer than what I have experienced, as I traveled literally halfway across the earth. The timezones from where I was compared to the Philippines are exactly opposite of each other. If it's 6AM where I came from, it's 6PM in the Philippines. So yeah. Let's revisit my journey, shall we?

The first flight I had was going from St. Croix, VI to its brother island, which is St. Thomas. These very tiny islands aren't that far apart, but people need to fly by plane to travel within these islands. Planes that travel within these islands are usually not that big, considering not too many people travel frequently. My idea of small planes before is the one that I had ridden in the past, like the one that American Eagle flights use on domestic flights.

But I had honestly no idea that my  first plane is this small. The cabin is no bigger than a big van and it just houses 10 passengers. It's so small -- that our carry-on bags had to be placed on a compartment located on its wings. It's so scary! What if it was not locked properly and our bags fell to the sky?  My phones and documents are all in my carry-on bag.

See how small that plane is?
If that isn't scary enough, the flight itself would terrify any person that is riding the plane the first time. You would think that flying a smaller airplane feels safer than a big one because it is mobile, but that is just plain wrong. There are 2 small propellers that are exposed, and the overall noise that the plane is having really made me nervous. Not to mention that the flight was incredibly bumpy.The passengers that are with me kept on praying and doing their sign of the cross, to make them feel safe. But me knowing that no religious ritual or prayers could prevent any air crash, it was the worst feeling that I had ever felt. I do not badly need to die on an air crash.

St. Thomas Airport.

That flight lasted for just 24 minutes, thankfully. And once I arrived at the St. Thomas airport, I immediately noticed how much better looking it is compared to St. Croix. I also saw the University of the Virgin Islands' St. Thomas campus, which is just near the airport itself. Our St. Croix campus is definitely bigger and has more facilities. I arrived there at 8:24am, and my next flight was still 5 hours away. So I sat on a corner,listened to music, read a book, and stared on different things. I think waiting is a  trend that you can never get rid of when you're traveling.

My next two flights are from Delta Airlines. The first dropped me to Atlanta, Georgia, and no matter how much I wanted to take pictures and describe how Atlanta is, I didn't see it very much. I had to walk for a good 20 minutes to get to my next gate (that contributed to a great sore feet later), and when I arrived there, the plane was already boarding. The plane is heading Los Angeles.

LA is incredibly cold for a summer. I had to go outside the domestic terminal because the international terminal is on the other side of the airport. As I go to the counter where to get boarding passes, I immediately recognized a large group of people falling in line with tons of boxes and baggage with them -- my fellow Filipinos.

LA Airport.

I do not know why, but my first impulse is that I don't want to talk with any of these Filipinos. I do not know if it is the fact that such a large gathering of random people with the same nationality in another country can ever be considered a good thing, or the fact that they have these massively oversized baggages.  I mean every single one of them has these large boxes I suppose to be full of to-be exported goods to be given on their relatives in the Philippines. It's overwhelming seeing these packages that made me worried if the plane would be over in capacity and would result in an air crash. And for that, I hated my fellow Filipinos.

And for the record, I just brought one luggage, and one carry-on. I already checked in my luggage at Delta Airlines, and a Filipino asked me and was surprised that I am only carrying a bag and nothing else.

The thing I hate more than waiting are the baggage check-ups, where they check your things and you have to remove your shoes, belt, and anything that may trigger that metal detector. I think it is so archaic that we still need to do this. I know it is for our safety, but why hasn't someone invented something that detects any bomb materials in a quick scan? Damn you terrorist bombers. Why do they need to f*cking kill other people? Why don't they just kill themselves?

Philippine Airlines is my last flight. The plane is a Boeing 747 which is a really large aircraft that would explain why there are too many Filipinos falling in line earlier. I  chose to seat in the last row of the plane, as the last isle seat available is in there. Trust me people. Being in a middle seat is the worse seating you can have on a 15 hour flight. Being in the last row also has its advantage. First, you are the closest to the bathroom, and second, you do not need to worry about tilting back your seat because there are no people behind you that may get angry.

Unlike with Delta Airlines where each passenger has a personal touchscreen display and built in WiFi, Philippine Airlines has these archaic monitors that are positioned on every 20 rows or so. But they served 3 meals though, so I think it's ok.

Oh, and lastly -- apl de ap, the Filipino member of the Black Eyed Peas is on the same flight with me! I saw him at LA and I was blocking his way and he said, "Excuse me," I didn't realize it was him at first but then people behind me started talking. He kinda smelled funny -- like a fragrant vegetable.He was on business class seats on the upper deck of the 747 and I thought I would not see him again, but right after we landed, He was right behind me, again! But I am too shy to ask for a picture, so I ran fast.

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