Diary of a Home Bird
WE GOT back in one piece. After eleven flights (one missed), lost luggage and running out of cash, we made it home.
The Philippines was a whole new experience, one I got to enjoy with four of my best friends and a couple of backpackers along the way.
The break kicked off with some Prosecco with my travel buddy Sharon. A skip over the pond to Heathrow, 12 hours to Hong Kong and another two-and-a-half to Manila, and we had only reached the beginning of our travels.
Flights, buses, boats, trikes, you name it. It was definitely a culture shock. Five women who are usually used to ringing or ‘Hailo-ing’ a cab were now hopping in the back of a piece of metal that had been welded to the side of a motorbike. By the end of the holiday we had mastered the art of clinging on for dear life as our Stig-like drivers negotiated the tightest of corners and beeped unknowing pedestrians out of the way.
We got a ‘digital detox’ in El Nido, while staying in our little tree houses. To be fair our accommodation was among trees instead of up them, and lo and behold the Filipino woman who owned the place was called Rose Macabe.
Island hopping was the activity of choice here. When one of the bridies put her life jacket on as a pair of pants, our French and American comrades were dismayed. The joke was on them though when she entered the picturesque waters with an ice-cold beer in hand and expertly sat up, literally buoyed by ingenious idea.
Everything ran smoothly for the holiday until we missed a connecting flight to our last paradise location. Thanks to Air Asia’s ‘operational requirements’ and fear of passengers getting wet in the rain, we missed the flight by a mere 20 minutes.
The crushing moment you’re looking out a plane window at passengers boarding your next plane and realise you’re being kept on board because the cabin crew are waiting for umbrellas (bloody umbrellas!) to be brought for a bit a rain is a hard one to explain. In the end, we walked by the umbrellas when disembarking, on principle. If that wasn’t enough, they also tried to send one of our rucksacks to Kuala Lumpur.
A rebooked flight, a two-hour bus journey through floods that made The Neale crossroads last Christmas look like a puddle, and we finally reached luxury. A family suite did us nicely for the rest of the trip, and none of us got locked up by President Duarte. Success.
It was the perfect way to ease into the festive period, and the perfect way to prepare for what will be an exciting 2017. This my friends, will be my last column while working at The Mayo News. I’ve decided to spread my wings and fly. Where? Well, that’s still a work in progress. However, the good news is that if you’re interested, you can come along for the adventure. I figure there’ll be some laughs along the way as I face the big bad world and thoughts of leaving the roomies. Stay tuned for Diary of a Fully Fledged Bird!
I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the much-missed Seán Staunton for his support and thank Willie McHugh for giving me the confidence to start this column over four years ago, Ciara Moynihan for agreeing to it and my family and friends, especially the roomies, for allowing their lives to become public knowledge.
> In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.