I would use the word 'variety' to describe travel in this country. You've got cars and trucks and buses and jeeps and motorbikes and motorized rickshaw-thingies (motorellas) and, of course, feet!
Inter-island travel has gotten better and better over the years. Cheaper flights, nicer terminals, and newer taxi-cabs. Of course, that's resulted in pampered, spoiled missionaries. Which is why it was good for Josh and I to experience some 'glitches' in our travels last week....to keep us from getting too 'first class'. (ha!)
(Here's how the Moffits roll when we're gettin' around town. Who needs a mini-van?! All 7 of us fit just fine in our pick-up truck!)
Josh and I are entering a season of life when we sometimes go places....alone!! What?? No kids in tow? It's new, and scary, and wonderful!
Last week, we had quite a few travel adventures. The adventure began with a nice cup of coffee from the airport coffee shop. 'Pilinda, your coffee's ready!' :)
By the time we got to Manila, though, I wasn't feeling that cheerful anymore. Our baggage came through SOAKED, inside and out (how does that even happen?!). But, my frown turned upside down, when I went to use the CR (restroom) and saw this sign hanging on the wall behind the toilet. A step-by-step guide on how to use the 'toilet bowl cover cushion'. The 'do not wipe your face with it' photo is my favorite!
We finally made it safely to Palawan. And, in keeping with Filipino hospitality, the hotel staff got all our wet things hung on the line, dried, folded, and brought back to us in no time at all!
We spent three really, fantastic days with the missionary community on Palawan. They were so great, so welcoming, and took us out for some really delicious meals. But, the highlight was riding in one family's truck and seeing their little boy's 'cockpit' hanging off the back of the passenger seat- complete with steering wheel and pedal (or whatever you call that in 'airplane talk'). I'm not gonna lie...I absolutely tried my hand at flying. I did pretty well.
When it was time to head home, we double-checked our tickets. Yep, 7:35 a.m. - departure. Josh was a bit worried when we got to the airport at 6:30 and it wasn't even open yet. We were totally baffled when the airline didn't even open the check-in counter until 7:30. 'Ummm, we're supposed to be leaving right now.' Yes, they had cancelled our flight. No, they had not contacted us. Thankfully, we were able to get on a flight two hours later. We were worried we wouldn't make our connecting flight, but a two-hour delay solved that dilemma. So, we got to spend a lot of time sitting in airports. The upside, I was able to finish a book on parenting teenagers...and I'm pretty sure I'm an expert now! :)
I don't know if Josh is still growing, or if airplanes are shrinking, but I have to say, seeing Josh wedged into his seat made me laugh.
By the time we made it back to our home-sweet-island, we were tired, grumpy, and just wanted to get back to our kids. Which is why what happened next was so lovely. We loaded into the van that would shuttle us from the airport to the city...an hour-long commute. On the way the passengers were visiting, and of course we were asked what we are doing here. When the van owner heard we were missionaries, he wouldn't let us pay our fare. He said it was a 'love offering'. Of course, that made all the frustration of mishandled baggage, cancelled flights, and delays melt away, as we were reminded (once again) how endearing this country is!
A three-hour bus-ride later, we finally arrived home, with some adventures under our belt, and a reminded that 'Travel - it's more fun in the Philippines!'
For more info on the Philippines, check out their 'It's More Fun In The Philippines' ad campaign. Beautifully done...and entertaining too!