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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Schtuck in Schiphol.

They didn’t book me straight through to Manila at CDG. I should have panicked right then and there. I figured it was just because I’d checked in early.

At the transfer counter in Schiphol, a helpful lady with teal eyeliner informed me there were no more seats left on the Amsterdam-Manila flight. Blink. Blink. What? Shu had checked in online the night before and had a sure seat, so she ran to board the flight. She was lucky. The lady told me 180 passengers had been bumped off, because the original aircraft had “technical problems” and it had been replaced with a smaller one. (I would like to think technical problems are easier to deal with than human problems, e.g. the chief steward in a deathmatch with the purser over who gets to draw the curtains closed between business and cattle class.)

So off I go to Beijing. Then Manila after a layover. Three airports in one day! I feel so temporary.

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One era at a time.

I am always overwhelmed at the Louvre. I can’t do what the other tourists do, take in everything in one day and have a sandwich in between halls. For me, the Louvre is best in bite-sized pieces.

So yesterday, I went straight to the Egyptian Antiquities section in Sully. Who knew hieroglyphics came in cursive? I spent a lot of time in front of the papyrus displays. What I thought were incense sticks were actually writing sticks on ink boards. I didn’t bother to rent the digital guides, instead preferring to stare at objects and teasing out meaning from the French descriptions.

Taking pictures and video distracts me. I don’t like the feeling of recording the experience just as I’m experiencing it. I took most of these pictures going through the exhibition again on my way out. My first real mummy! Kohl and unguent pots! No wonder I missed lunch.

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Bye, Shangri-la Mactan.

I am enjoying a last few minutes on the balcony before ceding its ownership to the next guest. We’re near enough the airport so we’re not screaming at one another to board the shuttle now now now.

This has been a relaxing break for me, regardless that we’re here for work. There’s something about staring at the slow sway of tree tops and the procession of waves to and back again from the horizon that makes meetings more palatable, and in truth just a little less urgent.

We’ll be back in Manila by lunch.

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As seen in Cebu.

Jesus is my jeepney driver:

CnT lechon (roasted pig), “The Taste of Cebuanos:”

A cloudy day in Cebu still manages, with little effort, to soothe the spirits:

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Meeting in Mactan.

With only three hours’ sleep, I rushed to the airport to be on time for my 9:00 am flight to Cebu, where we were to stay at the Shangri-la Mactan for the weekend.

This is a huge resort, where the artless sprawl of palms belies the expert and extensive landscaping that included trucking over the white sand that lines the beach. Aside from ourselves, there are many Korean families and the Solvay Pharma group from Kazakhstan. (I kid you not.)

I’ve had too much shrimp. Is that possible?

The Moleskine reporter notebook has this to say:

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The Cebu Pacific flight to Hong Kong was two hours delayed. Each announcement of further waiting elicited cries of dismay from the passengers, followed by a flurry of texting, I assume to people waiting for them on the other side of the flight. Those connecting to other destinations approached the counter but left with frowns.

We finally landed in Hong Kong past 9. As our original arrival time was 6:40, I had hoped to run errands for friends after I’d checked in, but that was not to be. By the time I plopped onto my hotel bed it was too late to do anything but find a 7-11 and lay in supplies for the evening.

While wandering, I discovered Congee Wonderland. I ate warm rice rolls with a Chinese Bolognese sauce (it was yummy!) and had a glass of cold soy milk. Fortified and cheered, I then walked back to the hotel. Especially when traveling alone, one finds great joy in small things.

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