So let's see..where to even start? I can hardly remember what I did yesterday so the thought of racking my brain to come up with everything that transpired three weeks ago will be daunting. Let's see how well I do.
Nine of us went to Boracay (an island off the Philippines) the last weekend in September and it was an adventure (especially for me but more on that later). First off, we had to spend the night in Manila for our connection to Boracay early the next morning so we piled into a van and headed out of the airport into the vast city of Manila. When we arrived at the Marriott they brought out drug-sniffing dogs, checked underneath the van using mirrors, and we had to go through a metal detector just to get into the hotel. There were closed-circuit cameras everywhere in the hotel and it didn't look like anyone else was there. CREEPY. Thank goodness Long and I shared a room with Devin and Julie because I was a little freaked out.
The sad thing is, the highlight of that night was finally getting to read the one and only hot scene in the Twilight series --- and that was ruined by LL, Julie and Devin constantly talking to me and interrupting my concentration. I think I read the same sentence five times before finally giving up and going to sleep. They made fun of me but I didn't care (for those of you who are Twilight fans and I know most of you are closet fans and know exactly what I am talking about) because it was well worth it. The embarrassment was far worse going into the bookstore to ask for help finding the series - only to have the clerk tell me it was located in the "tween" section of the store. NICE.
The next morning we landed in Boracay at 9AM and it almost immediately started pouring. It didn't stop until almost 10PM that night. But we took it in stride and had a spa day at the Friday's resort. It was great because LL, Jules and I had the ENTIRE spa to ourselves. We were pampered for nearly half the day before finally deciding it was time to go home and find the rest of our crew drunk and hungry.
The next day started off a little touch and go but it ended up being sunny for about 5 hours which was just enough time for all of us to get fried to a crisp. Seriously - my entire face peeled and I looked like a snake molting from its own skin. It looked H-O-T in the office Monday morning.
Once it started raining again, Devin, David, Koco and I had a brilliant idea to go jet skiing. We figured we were going to get soaked on the jet skis regardless, so what did it matter if it was raining? Well, we were in for a surprise because by the time we actually got out to the floating dock (we had to take a motorbike taxi down the beach followed by a boat ride about 2000 meters out into the water) the rain had turned into a full-blown thunderstorm complete with 6-8 foot swells. We were told to sit on the floating dock to wait out the storm but once we realized the water temp was warmer than the air, all four of us took off heading for the ocean. It was such a huge adrenaline rush to be out in the open ocean in big swells and hear the thunder overhead!
But almost immediately after surfacing from my swan dive I started thinking about the movie "Open Water" where a couple gets lost at sea and terrorized/killed by sharks. Before I said anything, Devin and Koco got out of the water. Once I shared my thoughts with David, he too called it quits. The next thing I knew I was left in the open water all alone (granted, there was a floating dock with about 10 people on it only 10 ft away but still) and started thinking about the Shark Week episode where a woman was climbing out of the water back onto a yacht and had her leg ripped off by a Great White. I treaded water for another 3 minutes to prove to myself I was overreacting but decided not to tempt fate and swam over to the floating dock to get out of the water. We never saw a shark nor did we get to go jet skiing because the storm lasted longer than expected. It was raining so hard everyone got pelted in the face on the boat ride back to the beach but for the first time I was glad I brought my hotel towel to wear over my bathing suit because it made a perfect shield for me and David! This story is probably not that exciting to read but it was one of the highlights of the trip simply because it was so random and spontaneous...and in my mind it was another example of how I nearly escaped death by shark :)
That night we went to a local wet market and picked our own seafood where they cooked it in front of us for dinner. It was a delicious meal filled with prawns, mussels, and a giant fish I picked for the table to share (my eyes were bigger than our stomachs).
We went out like ROCKSTARS after dinner where we danced on the dancefloor, at the bar and on the table. It was a fun night except for the parts of the night I still can't forget because they were so traumatic. I was witness to not one but two girls getting sick - one at the table where she sat and the other in the ladies room. I had my usual reaction - immediate headache, stomachache, and the sweats but I rallied and didn't lose my lunch. I wonder if I am finally getting over my phobia? Ummm.....nope.....definitely not.
And now for the grand finale of this tale. I toyed with not sharing it since it doesn't do anything to instill trust in me but in the spirit of complete transparency I've decided to go for it. Please keep in mind that when I left for this trip I also apparently left all my grey matter behind.
Example #1 - I was in a rush to get out the door so it wasn't until LL and I were in the lift that I realized I left my passport somewhere in my apartment. Luckily, I found it in the second place I looked (another great thing about living in an apartment the size of a thimble).
Example #2 - Jules let me borrow her iPod nano since I lost my iPod on the Macau ferry (notice a trend yet)? I was so excited to get off the plane in Boracay that I left the nano in the seat. Luckily, Jules recognized her own iPod in seat 2A and brought it off the plane for me. SorryJules - love you mean it!
Example #3 - I was so excited to hear the Boracay airport bathroom had "western" toilets that I took off and left my luggage at baggage claim. Luckily, my PLUS ONE (aka Long) saw it, grabbed it and wheeled it out to me. The worst part was that I had already walked to the bus and didn't realize I didn't have my luggage until ABL asked if I was missing anything?!
Example #4 - When we landed in Manila on the way back it was a mad dash to get off the plane because it was colder than the Arctic on the plane. I had been taking pictures out of the plane window during landing and must have put the camera on the seat to get my bags from the overhead bin because I left the dang thing on the plane. Luckily, people in Asia are incredibly honest and ethical so one of the airline reps brought the camera to the bus, held it up and asked who left their camera. I didn't even have to look in my bag and didn't need to look up to know that all my friend's eyes were on me - we all knew it was mine.
Example #5 - We were rushing to get through customs, collect our luggage, recheck it, and cross terminals at the Manila airport (think Amazing Race with 9 people) to get on the last flight back to HK that night, so when someone asked for our return flight details to fill out their arrival card I very calmly pulled out our itinerary, read the information for our return flight and told everyone that we were on flight 2115. It wasn't until we were in line at immigration that someone realized 2115 wasn't our flight number but our ARRIVAL time of 9:15pm into HK. Needless to say, I still haven't heard the end of it.
We are planning our next trip to Taiwan in Novermber...should I take it personally that nobody has asked for my help???
On another note, I've missed a lot of special occasions lately and I want to say that's the hardest part of being so far away. Happy bithday again to Vicki, Tim (my brother-in-law), LP and Tara ---- wish I could've been there to celebrate with you. A special shout out to Joyce and the girls from the baby shower - it was so much fun to be at the baby shower via skype, even if it was 3AM my time!!! I love and miss you ladies so much. It's about time Joyce's baby bump started showing!
Alex --- where is that plane ticket? How was the ortho doctor's appointment? LOL.
Lizard --- when are you and Sally coming over next year?
LP --- T minus two months until you get here!!!
Abbie - I want you to draw me a new picture for my refrigerator and make sure to send me a picture of you in your Halloween costume. I love you more than words...
To my wonderful parents and sister - I love you lots and think about you everyday. Thanks for being so supportive - I couldn't do this without you!
PS - will upload more pictures and another entry soon.