Zoned out

The flight from Detroit to Nagoya took about 15 hours. It felt like an eternity; only the two hours that I slept went quickly. I was lucky to have garnered an aisle seat, albeit it way in the back of a very full plane, a double decker Boeing. I was one of many people who had asked for a wheelchair. This meant that an army of wheelchair handlers were waiting for us at the jetway in Nagoya. With the dozen or so cleaners who descended on our plane it was quite a crowd that welcomed us, with deep bows, smiles and words of welcome. The Japanese have this way of making you very welcome.

The wait in Japan was short, so was the last leg of the trip, a mere three hours in southwesterly direction. After the orderliness of the Japanese airport experience, Manila was the opposite – the worst airport in Asia said the hotel driver with a smile as if he was proud of the qualification (I am actually not sure it is true – the experience was comparable to old Delhi airport).

It seemed like all the jumbos from Asia and Europe had landed in Manila at the same time. Hordes of people thronged towards the immigration booths and filled all the empty spaces around the luggage carousels. The wheelchair was a godsend as I was able to sit through the next two hours, which is how long it took to get through immigration, waiting for luggage in a huge, hot and cacophonous hall and then waiting for the hotel pick-up bus outside in a traffic jam of luggage carts in the hot and humid night air. By 1:30 AM Monday morning (12:30 PM Sunday Boston time) I tumbled into bed, 29 hours after I left home.

And now it is the end of Monday here in the Philippines while the day is just starting at home. We observed day one of a five-day training for wheelchair providers, the program for which I designed a deck of training of trainers cards a year ago. I did not experience much of the Philippines, having been most of the day in a conference room that only has the illusion of daylight (yellow fluorescent lights behind opaque windows). Outside it was overcast and raining which I discovered when getting out to acquire a simcard at the local Mini Mart. This was not a great experience because of poor customer service combined with me being impatient.

The highlight of the day is yet to come. I scheduled a 90 minute massage after dinner. The challenge is staying up until 7:30. If I succeed I surely will fall asleep during the massage.

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March 2014
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