Tuesday, December 12, 2006

home for the holidays

On the morning of the 10th of December, I started the day with a very bad hangover. The night before, my boss together with a couple of colleagues asked me to go to a pub for some drinks. I told them I only planned to drink a few pints because I still haven't packed, but the bastards had a different plan. As soon as we made ouselves comfortable in the pub, they kept buying shots of grenadine, vodka, and tabasco. It was the most horrible drink. But I downed every shot anyway. Didn't mean to be rude, I mean free booze. Anyway, they ended up taking me home as pissed as an Irish man.

The trip to the airport was awful. I didn't have a lot to eat before leaving my flat because, I was really feeling nauseated. Even a small sip of water made my stomach do 360 degree turns. It was such a shame, because that Sunday morning, the sun was out and it really was a beautiful day. The whole time in cab, my eyes were shut and I as calling on all the saints to help me not throw up.

The queue at check in was looong. It took me at least 50 minutes to reach the counter. And whilst I was in line, my head ache began to worsen. Not only was I having a hang-over, I was also starving and almost dehydrated. It didn't help that I only had a couple of hours sleep.

The Emirates flight from London Gatwick to Dubai was almost seven hours. The plan was for me to sleep the whole flight. I couldn't. So I ended up watching, Little Miss Sunshine and The Devil Wears Prada. Steve Carrell plays a suicidal gay scholar. The 40 year old virgin played it with amazing restraint. I normally like movies that are quirky but somehow I can't say it about this. It was funny and had fine performances but I dunno. Meryl Streep was wicked in Prada. She totaly owned the character. From the tips of her hair to the subtle smirk. She was indeed a devil. Anne Hathaway was a sweet eye candy.

I had chicken breast and mashed potatoes with carrot batons and broccolli for dinner. I finished it in a jiff! I'm not kidding. My seatmate made a comment how quick I was with the meal. I told her I was starving. We talked for a bit and I found out she's backpacking in Thailand for a month. The meal really improved my condition. The headache was still there but at least the nausea was gone.

It was my second time at the Dubai Airport. And I was still in awe on how gorgeous it is. I wondered if the NAIA-3 would even be half as good. Duty Free shops were everywhere. I found out from one of the information screens that the flight to Manila will be delayed by two hours. And as I was still hungry, I headed off to a food court. A Pinay working in a grill took my order. I had a big breakfast meal. The omellette was satisfactory.

After the meal, I proceeded to the boarding gate and surfed the net. Thank God for wi-fi. I checked the inq7 and philstar sites and chatted with the missus on ym. An hour and a half before the flight I quickly dashed to McDo for a double cheeseburger meal. That was nice.

At least 80% of the passengers were Pinoys. Mostly seamen and women from the Carribean, Texas, Florida and Southampton. I chatted to a few of them and we talked about where we work and where we live in the islands.

I still couldn't sleep on the flight so I watched The Da Vinci Code, Monster House and Thank You For Smoking. The first was a disappointment. The usually brilliant team of Ron Howard and Tom Hanks didn't deliver the thriller and suspense Dan Brown gave me in his book for which the movie was based. The second was cute. The animators did a brilliant job in capturing and showing even the tiniest bit of emotions in all the characters. And the last was a really smart movie about smoking. Aaron Eckhart leads an impressive cast.

The flight served a light snack of turkey burger and beef and oriental rice. As expected. I finished them all. I even ate the fruits. I was that hungry.

We arrived Manila at 25 minutes past 5. As I come out of the plane, the humid Manila air hugged me. Warm and familiar, family. Since Seniang was still in the country yesterday, my parents couldn't cross the Mindoro Strait to pick up their prodigal son. Instead, my Tita Helen and Tito Romy fetched me from the airport. We headed straight to The Aristocrat in Malate where my siblings and cousins were waiting to welcome me. We had a big meal. I was stuffed.

By the time we reached Sta. Mesa, the hang over was long gone. I was no longer hungry. I was tired but at least, now I am home. And I am happy.


photos here.

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