Saturday, January 3, 2009

12/23 – 12/24 Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig!

While I was at Immigration, Lisa and the girls got haircuts and bought some of the things we need but cannot get in Bontoc. As the time approached for us to catch a taxi to the bus terminal, I took some of the girls and claimed our luggage from the baggage claim at the department store. I am sure the clerk was annoyed with us clogging up his small storage area with our suitcases and boxes of seashells, but he did not say anything.

Because Lisa’s haircut took longer than expected, we were later than I had hoped to make it out of the mall for a taxi. In Baguio, when you leave the mall, there is a line of taxis and a line of people waiting for taxis. It is pretty well organized and goes smoothly. At SM Manila, they have a similar setup except for one thing: no taxis. The fences are in place, the signs are there, the shoppers are lined up, but most of the taxis change to another line and pass right by. We waited and waited and waited, the line did not move much. Pedicab and trike drivers would approach the line of people, trying to entice shoppers to use their services. A small horsedrawn carriage was even offered. I knew Adriana would love the horse option, but none of these options were big enough to carry all of us and our luggage the distance we needed quickly enough. I was a little nervous about separating from either the girls or the luggage – at night – in Manila. (Call me paranoid, if you like.)

I just kept praying. If you know me, you may know that I really hate to be late. Add to this the thought of missing our bus and getting stranded in Manila, and you can imagine what my state of mind may have been. But this time you would be wrong. Like I said, I kept praying. Something along the lines of, “Okay, God, you got us here. You took care of our visas and helped me obtain the cash I needed to secure them. You know where we are and the fix we will be in if we miss that bus. So please get us there in time.” I fought with everything I had against the urge to check the time. Other than that I was pretty calm about the whole thing.

In many places, you will find men hanging out. Often they are looking to make a few pesos by carrying bags, hailing a taxi, or offering notary services. The mall entrance was no exception. When we came out with all of our stuff, several were there wanting to help us move our bags from the door to the curb. Because of the setup of the taxi station (with so few taxis), they were not clamoring to hail a taxi for us. I had Lisa and the girls wait at the pickup point with our stuff while I went to the end of the line. Apparently, one guy was trying to convince Lisa to take a trike but Lisa explained the situation. As I am waiting in line, he walks up to me and asks if I want a taxi and points to one that seems to be following him. It felt a little odd that we were chosen from the middle of the line, but it worked for us to make the bus.

Just like on the trip from Bontoc to Manila, we took an overnight, direct bus. It is supposed to be a 12 hour trip but turned into about 14 before it was over. There were so many people, there were actually two buses making the trip caravan style. Because we were late getting to the terminal, we were not able to get adjacent seats. Each of us was able to sit next to a family member, but the pairs of us were spread out. Lisa and I were in the very back with all of the luggage. In fact, there was so much luggage that we had to walk on some just to get to our seat. Then during the ride I had to restack the tower behind us several times because it kept toppling over on the bouncy roads. At one point, I was laying across Lisa’s lap when a bag fell on top of me. Lisa gently said something to me about it in case I was sleeping. I told her I was well aware of it, but since it was not hurting me I would just leave it there until I was no longer comfortable in that position.

We were/are all glad to be home in Bontoc once again.

1 comment:

  1. longgggggggg.... trip it sounds like. I have been registered for Jeopardy! and i might get to be a contestant if i pass the online test the 13th. Love you all.