Jetsetting Home – Manila, Guam, Tokyo, Newark, New Orleans! 3-18-08


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Going Home - Bye Auntie Espie & Auntie Jovie 3-17-08

Friends:

After arriving back in Manila from Boracay, I had to part ways with my Aunts. I love you Auntie Espie and Auntie Jovie! See you next time!

I had a few hours to kill before my next flight (home), so I headed to Mall of Asia. It wasn’t that far from the airport and my client, Meinard Cruz, stored my luggage in his car.

Going Home - Mall of Asia 3-17-08

Meinard suggested that I get an all-over body massage to help me relax before my long 36 hour journey home. I hadn’t yet seen my friend, Manolo Silayan, leader of the Alitaptap Storytellers group. He had been traveling all over the Philippines doing storytelling workshops so he agreed to meet me at the mall for a bite to eat. While waiting for Manolo to meet me, I did have my massage. Oh so wonderful! Manolo has the cutest little boy – Janro – who is 7 years old. Unfortunately, with all the excitement, I forgot to take pictures!! Mahal kita, Janro! Thank you both for coming to see me. I wish we had more time together!

Then it was time to go. Meinard and my cousin, Katrin, took me to the airport for a final farewell. From Manila, I flew to Guam (3.5 hours). From Guam, I flew to Tokyo (3.5 hours). In Tokyo, I had a 6 hour layover! Fortunately, the Narita (Tokyo) airport has a lot of amenities. I found an origami museum!

Going Home - Origami Museum 3-18-08

Talk about spectacular! I was in awe of the intricate detail of the origami and soooo inspired. I have a book idea! Here is a gorgeous garden around a Japanese house. There was so much more – parades, dinosaurs, dolls, boats, animals, fish… The artistry is breathtaking. Of course, I had to bring some home so I bought a beautiful origami doll.

Going Home - Origami House & Garden 3-18-08

Next stop, food. I love Japanese food so I ordered some gyoza, fried pork dumplings. In the restaurant, I met some gentlemen from the Czech Republic. They were part of a large music and dance troupe that toured in Japan – 27 shows in 40 days. I wish I could remember the name of their group.

Going Home - Czech Dance Group 3-18-08

At the restaurant, I met the most beautiful girls – the servers – two Japanese and one Filipina! The Filipina, named Aya, has lived in Japan for ten years and speaks fluent Japanese as well as Tagalog and English. They were so sweet and took me to my next stop – The Day Room!

Going Home - Beautiful Girls 3-18-08

What is a Day Room? It is the most awesome concept and EVERY airport should have one! At the Tokyo airport, you can rent a day room, a small room with a bed and a bathroom. I had a 6 hour layover in Tokyo so this was a perfect solution for me. I rented the room for US$19 for three hours. For two hours, I slept – I even put on my pajamas! I had a wakeup call and then took a hot shower before my next long flight to Newark, New Jersey. The day room is equipped with a single bed, slippers, towels, toiletries, a hair dryer, night light – basically, it’s a mini hotel room. When you turn off the light, it’s pitch dark so I was really able to get some quality Zs. Tokyo was the best layover I ever had. I recommend the day room to anyone who has a long layover and an international flight. Oh, and if you just want to take a hot shower, you can do that too for just US$5!

Going Home - The Day Room 3-18-08

My next flight was to Newark, New Jersey (12 hrs). Fortunately, the flight was not full and I had 3 seats to myself! I got to stretch out and sleep. In addition, we were traveling on a newer airbus and the built-in TV on the back of the seat in front of me had some awesome features – over 300 pre-programmed movies to choose from, TV shows, and a customizable iPod-like music player where you could choose the songs you wanted and place them in your personal “jukebox.” It sure made the time pass a lot more quickly. Across the aisle, I sat next to a cool guy from Seaside Heights, New Jersey, who works 5 months out of the year and tours beaches for 7 months out of the year. Pretty awesome, right? He had also just visited Boracay. Small world. Hi Brett!

As we were getting ready to land, Brett told me that I would be able to get a pretty nice view of New York City, so I got my camera ready. Here is NYC welcoming us into the U.S. I even saw Lady Liberty but she was so far away, I couldn’t get a good picture of her.

Going Home - Hello NYC 3-18-08

After a 4 hour layover in Newark, it was a 3.5 hour trip to New Orleans. By the time, I arrived home, I was exhausted. I had traveled for over 48 hours total! My husband and two daughters greeted me with a card and flowers. The traveling took a toll on my body and I sounded like a frog when I spoke. The best part of getting home was my little girl running to me and screaming, “Mommy!” then jumping into my arms. As soon as my arms wrapped around her, the tears just flowed. I missed my family so much!

It’s good to be home. There’s definitely no place like home!

Warmly, Dianne