Escaping Manila

Manila, a place that I planned for only a stopover. A bed to sleep in after being in an airport for over 23 hours. I booked my flight for 2:45pm, then came down and had a conversation with a man with white hair, a white beard, and a round belly. He told many stories about Minnesota, India, and working over 50 different job descriptions. We’re not quite sure which ones were true and which were not, however they were all very entertaining. This man we all called Santa. A few minutes in, a couple of drunk English men walked in and hopped in the pool and that’s when my plans became a bit derailed. James is from a beach town in the UK, he stands about 6 feet tall, has brown hair and medium length beard with greenish eyes that you could spend all day looking at. He enjoys anything rugby or football, hates losing, knows how to throw out some very entertaining dance moves, and he’s someone you could talk to for hours and never get bored. Neil is a little over 6 feet, with blondish hair, who loves tennis or really any sport except baseball, and making fun of American words. He claims to be from London but in reality he actually lives about 5 minutes out. Both of them are sarcastic to a fault, could banter all day about anything, and love a good trek or adventure.  After forcing me to get in the pool and a get beer I had realized that I would be in Manila for a bit longer than planned. I booked a second flight for that next evening at 5:45pm to actually leave Manila. At about 3:45 I went to reception to ask if they could call a taxi to be ready at 4:15. So, at 4:15 I grabbed all my bags and went back to reception to get the license plate of my driver, however there was a problem. They hadn’t called a cab for me and the wait to get one was about 20 minutes, it then went up to 30 minutes. After waiting until 4:45 it became clear that I would not be leaving.

Our last night in Manila was definitely one to remember (or maybe forget). After missing my flight, I decided that it was time to crack open a beer. After a few games of pool, we grabbed some beer and a bottle of rum and started playing president, our favorite passive aggressive pre-drinking card game.  Once we finished up the rum we all got ready and hailed a jeepney to take us to Ringside, a bar where you’re served by prostitutes while watching dwarf fighting. All 7 of us loaded in for the ride of our lives. As our driver sat in the wrong seat, and weaved in and out of traffic we were all sure that tonight may be our last one. Once we arrived we all sat down and ordered some drinks and patiently waited for the dwarf fights to start.  A few rounds and an oil wrestling match later we decided to take off, and James decided that he would take his beer on the road. We all walked down to the nearest 7-11. The police pulled over to arrest James for having a beer on the road. After much negotiation he was able to get out of an arrest for 1000 pesos. While James was talking himself out of an arrest, Neil and I were busy buying a few beers for the taxi ride over. After hailing a taxi to the fort we realized that we had no bottle opener so the driver pulled over so that we could get them opened by another shop.  We then had to practically chug all of them so it became a bit of a sick feeling trip.  The fort is a large complex made up by many clubs all with an enforced dress code.  When we arrived we were not up to their standards so they sent us to the pool club which has a much less stringent dress code.  After dancing for a bit we met a few guys celebrating a birthday and they invited us into their bottle service, and that’s when things started going downhill.   3 vodka sprites, and a few jaeger bombs in and we were singing at the top of our lungs and dancing like there was no tomorrow. Around 5 we left and took a quick dip in the pool only to finally lay down around 7. So finally, after a few nights of dwarf fighting, beer drinking, and playing president we decided that it’s time to leave.

Waking up hungover and tired, we procrastinated buying our airline tickets, it had become too late to buy them online so we had to show up around 2 to buy them. The airline informed us that the tickets are now twice as expensive, and if we wanted the cheaper fare then we had to book at least 4 hours ahead of time.  Since it was 3pm now, we got online and found a flight at 7:30 pm so that gave us 30 minutes to book.  The internet then decided to work as slowly as possible, then it wouldn’t allow us to choose seats, 20 minutes have now past. Finally, it allowed us to choose seats then with 10 minutes to spare the site wouldn’t take any sort of payment from any of our cards. 3:30 came and went and we were now out of another flight. So, we had to return to the ticket desk and purchased a flight for 10:05 pm. We had 7 hours to kill, we grabbed some Shakeys, and went downstairs to figure out how to kill another 6 hours.  Neil started a game of I spy, then moved on to Heads Up, and finally we all took a quality nap on the cement floor. Once we were able to check in, we really wanted something to eat that didn’t involve chicken and rice. We then realized that all the restaurants were closed and we were left with mango smoothies. 10pm finally was here and we got up to board, only to be told that there would be a 40-minute delay.  An hour came and went, and then another 30 minutes. It’s now 11:30 and there is still no sign of the plane. At midnight we were finally boarding, once everyone was boarded the pilot came over the speaker to let us all know that they were having some issues with the landing equipment and we would be further delayed. We waited so long that some people actually got off of the plane. At about 1:00 we were finally leaving Manila. Once we landed in Cebu City it was 2am. We made our taxi driver take us straight to the closest McDonalds, and then to our hostel. When we arrived at our hostel it was completely locked up, with no person in sight. After figuring out a way to open the gate we found the security guard who was able to wake up the receptionist.  When escaping Manila murphy’s law will always take a strong hold.

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