Well this is how my odyssey to the in-laws has been going. I will try to do this in the order that it happened so that you that read this will know what I go through to have the vacation. The start is on Monday morning the 15th of November with getting up and going to work at 0500 I worked till 1500 then beat feet home to get everything in order to catch the ride to the airport shuttle around 2130. Lucked out and the trip to the airport was just me and the wife so it was off to the airport with out any waiting.
Got through security screening and to the gate with little or no trouble. They’re getting really picky on the weights of all the luggage. And had to wait for the people in front of us to rearrange their bags to get the weight down to the allowable limit. I thought this would happen so had made the wife check all the bags and this speeded up the process for us.
The wait at the gate was till 0230 when they started loading the plane and it was into the air for the start or first leg of the journey Seattle to Taipei and this would be the longest part of the plane ride. Got to watch 5 movies during the 15 hour trip although I slept in the seat (if you can call it sleep) for 4 or 5 hours and missed all of one movie and part of the second. The plane seats are comfortable for the first few hours but when you get to the 12 hour mark even feather pillows would feel like a torture chamber. The lay over it Taipei was just long enough to walk to the next gate and stretch the legs out so they were not so cramped up. The next leg was short only 2 hours from Taipei to Manila.
The next leg was the airport at Manila and finding the in-laws (they had made the trip to manila to get us). Got to the immigration counter and let the wife talk to the girl at the counter and this always made it easier since I do not hear so well. And again it was easier with her talking and translating. Made it to the baggage claim area and had to wait for 45 min to get the luggage and load it up on a cart since I could not carry more than two of the six bags.
Then out the doors to get them checked and run the gauntlet of all the scam guys that will carry them for you and across the drive up to the loading area. Had to teach the wife to use the cart. It had a handle that was a break so would not move unless you pushed down on the handle. This helped on the trip down the ramp to the loading area so that the cart did not get away from us since the four bags it was carrying weighted close to 300 lbs (70lbs each is the max and the wife got them close as she could) carry-on’s can weigh max of 15 lbs. Anyway the in-laws were waiting and saw us as soon as we got there and then had to wait for them to load up the van and come around and get us. The van was loaded with people all ready, driver (hired), mother, brother, 3 sisters, son, and 3 kids (don’t know how they are related but they are niece or nephew). And it was off to the country.
Getting through manila was a test in not looking at the road and letting the driver do his thing. This is hard for me since they always put me up front and the road is all you can see unless you turn around in the seat and the legs and butt were sour from all the plane ride so this was out. The traffic is light since we are between rush hours and there is only 500 to 700 cars to the block all going every witch way and the max speed the driver got was 30 kph till we hit the express way . The exhaust from all the cars is bad you can see the cloud from the road as you look down the road and to the sides it is clearer. Well it’s now almost 1400 and we are still getting out of manila and have to stop and drop off food for the son of the wife’s bother. He is in school there to study nursing.
Spend an hour getting to his place and then get back on the road after only seeing him for 5 min and having to do the obligory rituals of thanking me for being his god father. And now it’s getting out of the city made this around 1530 and hit the open road. Yea that is what they call it. A four lane road each direction that has 6 lanes of cars in the good areas and where there is construction there is only two lanes and four lanes of cars. Of course the rules of the road are not the same as in the states so you have to realize that they can and do, do things that would get your license pulled at home.
The express way gets you out to the country and this is good because it used to take twice as long to get there. But once you get into the country you are regulated to the two lane roads and here is another test in not leaving my finger prints in the dash as the only way to make time is to pass anything in front of you and this can and does lead to some three lane traffic patterns you the guy your passing and the oncoming car all being in the same two lanes.
Oh yea forgot to tell you about the Trikes and there habits. Now let’s describe a Trike they are a motor cycle with a side car in the simplest form. Now the motor cycles are at the most 150 cc and most are 100 cc and the side care would fit two if they like to hug. Now I have seen and have done the over loading of the trikes. But this is not conductive to making any type of speed on the road.
The country roads are filled with the trikes and oh yea large trucks and buses. You have to fight for room and pass and not get hit by everyone else that wants to make time along this stretch of road. And the busses and trucks of course are a lot bigger than your car and they would hurt if they hit you so you give them the room they need. And of course the Trikes are dodging in and out of traffic all the time and can come out of the side streets and jump in to traffic with out any warning. Now this is how it seams to some one that likes the open roads of the states. The speeds that you can obtain are relative to how many curves and the road surface condition and how many cars are around. Let’s just say that the average speed that the driver was able to do was in the 45 to 50 mph but he spent lots of time in the 5 to 10 mph to get through all the towns. He did do lots of passing and when he over took 7 cars and trucks one time the dash did get a little dimpled from my finger tips. Now some of you that know me know I like to press the limit so you must realize how this ride goes. And believe me this is the normal ride every time I go from town to town. Or for that matter to town.
So now we are getting to the in-laws house and it is close to supper time. I have been traveling from Monday morning to get to work and now it is Wednesday evening we get there and they want me to sit around and the wife wants to get settled in with the family. All I want is to walk around and stay off the butt that has been abused for the last couple of days.
Some other things to tell you about there was a bridge out on the way into the wife’s town and this means you must cross on a plank wooden bridge and it is one lane so it takes a while to get across and of course there is no traffic light to control traffic so you just have to wait till the traffic stops from one direction to let the other direction start crossing. The rice fields are flooded and they are getting ready to plant another crop so some of the areas are nice to look at and others have the rice stalks burning and the smoke is thick in the air. Funny to see the tractors in one field and in the next one over is a carabao pulling a plow. They use everything to its fullest here but then they also have no thoughts of the future but that is a story for another day.
About this time the beer has hit me and I am almost out on my feet with fatigue so it was to bed. End of the traveling for one day. Or was it three?