Sunday, May 28, 2006

Arriving in Manila

We flew to Manila, from Los Angeles, on Sunday the 21st. One of the first things that was nice was the free wireless Internet provided by the Asian carriers in the LA terminal. Getting there early we were able to get our seats (nice big aisle exit-rows!) and then hang out and get work done.

The Philippines Airlines flight over left at ~10:00pm, so we flew into the darkness, being chased by the sun. The flight actually landed at ~4:00am in Guam for refueling, and then continued its way to Manila. We approached the Philippines at daybreak, just before sunrise. As we crossed over the first edges of the Philippines, it was a combination of islands and then the mountains of Luzon. The mountains turned into a large flat valley, and then the density of grey structures began to grow. Slowly, the grey started to overwhelm the green and we had started to cross over the outer edges of Manila. As we continued to descend, the grey color took over ... it was impressive to see the sprawl of Manila below us.

We landed and got off of the plane, walked into the terminal and passed through immigration ... very uneventful. We had both packed in only carry-on, so we had no luggage to claim ... instead we headed right out into the hot and humid air to look for our car.

The first thing that hit me as the humidity wrapped all around me was the smell of smoke. Everywhere. Like a fireplace nearby kicking out the smoke of burning wood. I had been told about this ... it was the smell of forests being burned in Indonesia. Some of my contacts here indicated that a month ago it was a constant haze that was almost unbearable. Even today in Iloilo I am greeted each morning to the same smell as I leave my hotel room.

I'll write more later ... have to catch the high speed boat to Bacolod!


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