Wednesday, January 02, 2008

To the Philippines again

We are traveling again. One month in the Philippines. I wish I could say it was just for pleasure but we need to see Abi and Gabi's Filipino grandmother as she is extremely ill and might not remain in this world to meet Abi if we don't get our buts down there pronto.

We will also be attempting to make the arrangements for Rowena to join us in Korea. I say 'attempting' here because you never can tell with the Filipino bureaucracy how long the simplest of paperwork can be taken care of.

With any luck will spend at least 2 days on the beach. Last time I was there we spent precisely that number of days so I'm actually hoping for more this time.

As a traveler, undoubtedly I am that, I have quite a lot of experience in preparing for a trip. Now that I have a family it is so much more complicated but the essentials were there from my very first trip. I think the fundamentally most important step in making a trip overseas is to not sleep the night before. Actually it is only fundamental if you need to depart from your home at an exceptionally early hour.

I figure for this trip we need to leave the house at about 4:30am. One can't be too careful about making the appropriate connections and so that ungodly hour must needs be our departure time. First of all I need to dash out of the door at a bit before that time to see if I can find a taxi at the local taxi stand. Barring the presence of a taxi I must call the number posted there and figure out how to communicate with the driver in pigeon Korean.

Then with any luck we will be on the way to the bus terminal. That shouldn't take more than 20 minutes but I budgeted an hour just in case of servere communication problems with the taxi driver and other possible eventualities. For example, the roads could be exceptionally busy as Koreans all seem to do everything at the same time and I'm not entirely aware of all the days that this might entail driving at a snails pace for 10 km in any direction from my place.

At 5:30 our bus begins taking us to Incheon airport. Last week I made a special trip to the terminal to buy the tickets because I didn't know if there would be a bus early enough to get us to the airport for our flight. Turns out that I was able to get an appropriate set of tickets before my flight was confirmed and paid for. Hallelujah for the first bus being exactly the one I needed to catch my 10am flight!

Then we should be at the airport at about 7:40 or so, ample time to check in with the airline and I hope to find some sort of long term storage facilities. It's cold here, and we need to ditch our jackets if at all possible.

We have two babies, count 'em two! Gabi is 20 months but she basically acts the same as Abi save that she needs to be watched more carefully. Can't let her wonder about too much without surpervision. She might find a pen and jam it into a power socket or she might jump on her sister until she's all soft and squishy, who knows but Gabi is a very high maintenance baby.

She can walk but we can't depend upon her to do that when it's important so we're bringing only one bag. I figure I can manage both her and the bag but not much more. And Rosi needs to carry Abi since she's far too big in her winter baby clothes to be carried in any sort of practical carrier.

Then we fly to Hong Kong and wander around that airport for a bit and finally to Manila where I've already booked a room and finally another plane for the following day that will save us a grueling 18 hour ferry trip that I just can't take with such a handful of kids.

Then we need to take a Jeepney or a van to Rosi's parents barrio and finally a tricycle to the nearest street and finally, finally an 800 metre hike through rice fields and over a river to the house.

Hmmm, I think we'll be tired when we get there. At least there will be a restful hotel room half way through.

Now, it seems that I sound a bit bitter about having kids but please don't take it that way. I love living with them even though they've turned my entire life upsidedown they are the sweetest most incredible angels. By the way Gabi is getting into lots of trouble and staring to through tantrums but they are very cute ones. She's saying phrases now the most recent being "come on".

And Abigail is pretty good with her neck she can almost support her own head and she is full of smiles and starting to explore the repertoire of facial expressions, not to mention a wee bit of baby sounds are starting to come out.

Okay it's 2am we will be departing in a little over 2 hours. Time to wake the missus and get the final preparations underway.

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