12.05.2013 90 °F
With mud season fully underway in Steamboat, or, as the locals call it, multisport season, it was time to get away from the skiing life for al little while to head to the beach and travel the world. And, after 60 days on the hill, my feet weren't really in the mood for anymore this year anyways. My friend Ryan and I had been planning this trip for months, since October to be exact. Finally, a study abroad reunion with our friends in the Philippines. We'd been looking forward to this trip for months. With Ryan having already arrived, I was eager to get on the road.
The travel day began in Denver, with my first flight leaving at around noon or so, and miraculously, I flew through security. I swear I have the worst luck with them. Electronic devices all charged, I was ready for 22 hours of plane travel and adventures to places I'd never been. The first flight was relatively short, just a few hours to Seattle. The airlines booked me first class on this flight, which was a first for me. Those seats are huge, and you really can feel the difference in service. The only interesting thing about first class is the people who fly it regularly, but I'll save those comments for another time... After a few hours, it was time to transition to the biggest flight of the day, Seattle to Tokyo. I'm thankful at this point for the attendant who told me how to get there. I only had a 60 minute layover, and had to take 3 trams to get there, which means I likely would've been lost without directions and advice.
After the tram rides, I had arrived at the gate and was ready for the 10 hour flight. Time to settle in... Having been 18 months since I traveled last (a flight from France, coming home from study abroad!), it had been a while since I had traveled so I wasn't sure what I was going to do with myself in a metal tube for 10 hours. But, electronic devices charged, it went by faster than I expected. I was able to catch up on a few movies, sleep a little, and relax. We'll find out in a few days if trying to adjust my body's clock in flight pays off or not (more on that later). After the 10 hour flight, I felt like it was time for the adventure to really begin. New country, another foreign language, unfamiliar airport and culture, etc. This is my favorite part of traveling. Exploring new cultures and new places, and learning something new with every turn. Things that sometimes make you uncomfortable, but expand you as a person too. So, without delay, off into the Tokyo airport I went. Pretty straightforward really, but exciting nonetheless.
Due to a half hour delay on my flight to Manila, I had some time to explore, which was great. I found some neat gift shops, duty free places, etc, and picked out a few gifts for family and friends. I also stumbled upon a shop with some awesome origami diaramas of different scenes. Really cool piece of Japanese culture. I also walked by a McDonald's (is there anywhere in the world that DOESN'T have one?!) and it was cool to see the adapted menu. (Sidenote: I've traveled all over the world and eaten at the famous Golden Arches in Morocco, Suisse, Italia, France, and Germany, and the States and I always find it cool the way they adapt their menus to the local culture. However, not today for me - I'll pass). After some wandering and meandering around the terminal, it was time to board the last flight of the day - a four hour flight to Manila. I was able to catch a brief bit of wifi in Tokyo Narita, which was convenient so I could let me friends in the Philippines know I was on the way and of course message the mother so she (hopefully) worries less. The four hour flight ended up being pretty simple with no issues. After the flight, having safely arrived in Manila, words can't begin to describe the excitement I felt. Reaching your final destination after traveling for that long, and finally in the Philippines to see my friends. However, the day was not over just yet.
After landing in Manila and sailing through customs and immigration, I went to go grab my suitcase. My good friend Alexa had given me the instructions for the cab driver to her flat, and it was all smiles from there. Not to be, however. As I was standing, waiting for me suitcase, I hear my name over the loudspeaker... "Paging passenger Mr. Scott Larson...Larson, Scot.....Mr. Scott Larson..." Fearing the worst, I head over to the Delta counter. Sure enough, my suitcase has not made the flight. I guess they didn't lose my suitcase, but it's sitting at JFK airport in New York City. I did my best to be polite at the counter, but after 23 hours of traveling and having sent my luggage in the opposite direction of the country, 15000 miles away, you can only imagine my thoughts. They claim it will be here tonight, the day after arrival. So, it looks like I'll be living out of my backpack for a few days with just the essentials, but I'm trying to look at it positively as a challenge and as an experienced world traveler. I did eventually arrive last night at my friend's flat overlooking Manila where she had welcome drinks and a party for my arrival. Filipino hospitality is fantastic, and after countless shots of Jack, it was time to hit the sack.
Currently, I'm hanging out at the Manila airport as our flight to Palawan Island has been delayed two hours, where we'll be traveling for the next two days. It looks like we'll be staying at a hotel on the beach for a few nights while snorkeling, island hopping, checking out local markets, and of course having a few necessary drinks in between. And after about ten days in the Philippines of beach hopping, we'll be heading to Hong Kong for a few days of adventuring and exploring with no real reservations for anything. Stay tuned for photos and videos, and if you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check out my album from study abroad here. I've got a GoPro Hero 3 with me on this trip too, so I'm hoping to catch some cool videos of snorkeling, scuba diving, shark diving, and whatever other kind of shenanigans we can come up with while traveling.
Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the next two weeks of the beach, exploring new cultures, and catching up with old friends. It's long overdue that I got out and traveled the world again. Be sure to follow me on twitter for my latest photos and updates on the adventure!