port call

09 dec 2008

slept at around 1am, got up at 430am, airport by 5am and on board a plane by 6am for manila and landed at exactly 715am to the gleeful announcement of cebu pacific that we arrived fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. except that in the twenty or so flights i did with the dang airline this year alone, this is the first time they met their 95% on-time all-the-time claim.

so there i was waiting for my airport taxi, unsure exactly where to go as my next appointment has been moved to 3pm. thank God for friends, i called up adel and asked if i can crash at their pad while he and fatima are at work during the day. traffic was bad (uhm, central makati, 730 am. the rats scurrying to get to office. what was i thinking?)

after breakfast, adel and fatima headed off to work and i got online to check any last minute update from my principal. yup, high-tech, they have secure wi-fi inside their flat. sure beats paying a hundred bucks for sucky internet connection in starbucks.

have you ever snored so loudly you woke yourself up? that’s what happened at around 1pm after an hour and a half of sleep. a minute earlier than the alarm i have set for myself. am a bit obsessive compulsive and i wanted to confirm my meeting at 3pm only to find out that it has been moved to 4pm. client is always a priority so i was forced to advise corporate travel desk to move my flight to cebu from 6pm to 7pm.
ho-hum, i was in my underwear checking emails and writing up reports (and copying some videos in my hard drive, adel, just in case you’re reading this, you know which ones!) when i got a call from the executive assistant of the principal informing me that the meeting has been bumped up to 330pm and if i can please, report to the office. now. sure. client is always a priority. except that it was already 3pm. i made it exactly 327pm. 100% on-time (sometimes ahead of time) all the time. the pad is a stone’s throw from the office although i don’t recommend you actually throwing stones in that area, the condo unit is great but it’s just beside a pretty sleazy neighborhood.

meeting started at four (confidential portion at this point…..) and ended at 430pm. and just so you know, majority of these taxi drivers in manila are spawns of the devil. he wanted me to add php 30 on top of the usual fare because the airport is “out of the way”. it’s not like i am asking him to drive me all the way to the moon. hello. airport is just 5km from central makati. good thing he agreed not to have the extra charge because i was ready to jump right off and grab the gazillion other taxis lining up to get a passenger. and for the record, i normally tip 30-50 pesos to drivers who don’t ask for add-ons. the drivers in cebu are more courteous and they give you exact change.

at 5pm i was lining up to get my e-ticket. well, not exactly lining up as i wasn’t really sure there was a line leading up to the counter. cebu pacific has got to do something about their crowd management process. the people were pushing against each other to get to three counters and am not exactly sure if i’m lining up for which counter. the lady at the counter hollered “please form one line” and we shouted back, yes, we have one line for each counter (i think). after 30 minutes of waiting i skipped the line and told the lady at the first counter that i was simply claiming my e-ticket. i am not going to pay the additional php 1,500 just because i have to rebook my missed flight. as it turned out there were a number of passengers who simply had to claim their tickets and the other passengers (God bless them for understanding) told us to go ahead. dear God, i already finished my good-deed-quota-for-the-day so i’m sure you granted me my fondest prayers…

by 550pm i lugged my stuff inside the pre-departure and the disembodied voice announced that flight scheduled for 6pm is ready for boarding. drats, i shouldn’t have cancelled my earlier booking. so here i am, writing my port-of-call. fly in, fly out – this is happening more frequently with my clients. am i complaining? nope, i am just glad i still have work that keeps me occupied and sets food on my table. thank God.

just now, while i’m tapping at the keyboard the disembodied voice announced that my flight is delayed due to the late arrival of the turn around flight from tuguegarao. as if that’s an excuse for my delayed flight. the voice said… “passengers are advised to remain in the pre-departure area.” as if there’s any other option. dang. i was so tempted to add “passengers are advised to file a complaint with the government for this delay.” then again, dealing with the government is going to take the better part of the next millennium.


Mr. Jao said…
I've learned the true beauty of life is the chance to take solace in the small things. At least you arrived on time once in the 20 to 30 flights :)
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