Part of me woke up the morning I was leaving feeling like Bilbo in that scene from The Hobbit. I wanted to run around yelling that I was going on an adventure!
That part was quickly overridden when I arrived at the Dayton airport and was promptly told that there was an issue with my visa and they didn't think they could let me on the plane to go on to Detroit and from there to the Philippines. A rather frantic phone call to Elizabeth Boe ensued, in addition to making the people at the Delta desk call their supervisors to find the clause that would let me onboard. Aside from stressing me out, I am thankful to the people working the desk at Delta, as they did try very hard to find the way to let me on the plane, and went the extra mile calling their supervisors to find the exemption I needed.
Meeting up with Ashley Cameron in Detroit also helped, as she'd gone through the same issues with Delta that morning. We were on the same flight from Detroit to Nagoya to Manilla, though since it was a 747, once we were on the flight we never saw each other. I had never understood how big one of those planes really was until I was getting off in Manilla. The plane had seemed so empty, with most people having at least one or two spare seats around them, unlike what we'd had flying between Detroit and Nagoya. But I got off about midway through disembarkation and waited for Ashley so that we could go through immigration and customs together, and I just kept seeing more and more people getting off the plane. It was a flood of people.
After over 24 hours of travel time, Ashley and I were so relieved to see Andrew and Lloyd ready to pick us up. We got a bit of an introduction to late-night Manilla traffic patterns, which might have scared me more had Lloyd not so obviously had it handled, or if I'd actually been all the way awake. I hadn't done more than doze for an hour or so on the flights, so I think at that point I was going on five or six hours of rest in the past 36.
I'm typing this now from Horeb House at the Episcopal center in Quezon. I woke this morning to the sounds of roosters crowing and a couple of birds who thought my room's AC vent was the perfect place to sit and sing for a bit. Ashley and I found the wi-fi access code and cheerfully dug in to wade through our built-up e-mails. More as I find out what I'll be doing the next few days in Manilla!