Saturday, January 13, 2007

4 days until the beach

I'm pretty much stocked up on the gifts that I need to bring. Went to Toy City today and got a box of Lego-like toys for Charlize -- it's massive, hopefully it will fit in the suitcase. Best of all it comes in nice big blocks, far too large for her to swallow.

The fridge is also packed with items that I think all three of my girls will like:

  • Chocolate covered truffles
  • Hungarian pepper salami
  • Gruyere cheese
  • dried blueberries
  • dried cherries
  • sharp cheddar

Don't ask me why I put the dried stuff in the fridge, it's just easier when all that stuff is together for that last minute trauma that I call packing. Of course some of that food is really for me. It's no secret that I have a great deal of trouble digesting the Filipino excuse for meat, so it will be nice to have some things that I can eat other than veggies.

My current problem is the winter clothing thing. I still wear the same thick leather jacket that I brought with me from Canada. It is one heavy jacket. Kind of silly to lug it around the Philippines with me, but I just cannot bring myself to buy something more lightweight. I always was a one jacket at-a-time kind of guy. And then there are the shoes. I really don't have a decent pair of sandals anymore but the mere thought of wearing shoes in Manila makes me start sweating.

Last time I went to the Philippines I brought a few extra sweaters and a pair of thick socks to wear in my sandals. Then I tossed everything wintery at the airport including my long-johns. This time I don't feel prepared to do so much tossing especially since I've paired down my collection of winter things so much that I barely have enough to keep me warm. Whatever, we'll see what I do. The suitcase does have wheels and I won't have to carry it over the river this time so I guess it won't be a big deal if it weighs a ton.

Naturally I won't be heading straight for the beach in Boracay but if all goes well I should be sitting on the white sandy beaches and swimming in the crystal waters within 7 days or so. Sure will be a nice change from the hagwons and pc bangs of Korea. In the winter these places are hardly heated at all. By the time you finish teaching or making a post on your blog you realize that your core body temperature has dropped so much that even the mild outside temperatures and winds seem like sub-arctic conditions.

Which reminds me. Cebu Pacific based in the Philippines has been offering some pretty killer deals for flights domestically and internationally too, but I found that their reservation telephone line is basically unmanned 24 hours a day and so one cannot change flights once booked. I managed to find a living person via email but he or she does not act like a reasonable person, that's for sure.

May we inform you that we have a new policy for rebooking a flight. Once you rebooked a flight, you must pay penalties and reissue (due to upgraded fare) the ticket to a direct ticket office of cebu pacific within 72hrs from the time the flight was changed. Or else the booking will be automatically canceled, and then you have to rebook again. This time you’ll be paying 2 rebooking fee’s (the previous and the latest) and a fare difference for which fare is available (sic)(my emphasis).

Why is it that I will be paying 2 rebooking fees? I guess it's because I sent them two emails? I'm not sure it's such a good idea. Granted the rebooking fees are about US$2. But for me it's more about the principle. If I cannot rely upon them being reasonable why should I do business with them?

We'll see what they have to say face to face, but clearly I cannot get to the Philippines until the date of my flight if I booked it online from Korea and was sent an eticket, so their requirement that I get to their office within 3 days of a booking change to get reissued a new eticket makes it difficult to deal with them from another country.

I guess they don't want international business? Perhaps their competitors are a touch more reasonable. Honestly, if they piss me off enough I might just tell them to stuff my US$60 ticket where the sun don't shine and buy one next door from a company with a less idiotic rebooking policy.

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