Surprising Things Happen to You When Traveling to the Philippines
I made every mistake in the book because I didn’t plan enough and I over-thought everything
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I stumbled out the door and onto the 6 X 6 platform. Instead of an air-conditioned terminal gate being pressed up against the side of the airplane. Instead of the passengers stepping off the plane into a walkway into the terminal, I was standing on the top step of some very steep stairs to the pavement below.
A bus was waiting for us there, and I assumed it would take us to the terminal and customs, so I gingerly stepped down to the next step. The heat was overwhelming and was the humidity. I could taste it in the air. It was 12:20 am local time and I was getting lightheaded.
First off, I realized my choice of wardrobe was not the best. A charcoal-long-sleeved-pressed-cotton shirt with a T-shirt underneath was fine for the inside of a cold airplane, but in the September heat of the nation's capital, it was brutal and unnecessary. The baggy jeans were also much too heavy.
But I didn’t know that when I left the day before. This was my first time ever leaving the comfort of the old U.S of A, and nothing had prepared me for what I was experiencing.
I safely made it to the bottom of the stairs, dragging a sweater I would never need, a laptop bag, and a larger than carry-on size bag that had somehow survived the trip across the Pacific Ocean. There was still a much larger suitcase waiting for me at the baggage claim because I had not envisioned carrying the bags through an airport would be an issue.
By the time I got on the bus, all the seats were filled, so I grabbed a railing and held on, almost toppling over as the bus sped away from the noisy airplane. I would find out that being a 6-foot 365-pound man would not guarantee that a bus driver would wait until you are safely in your seat, and in the next few days took a few embarrassing and painful spills.