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This trip going home for Christmas break was definitely stressful! I managed to finish packing on time but when I woke up at 6am on Saturday, 21 December, I realized that I had forgotten a drawer. I ended up missing my 7am shuttle to Colorado Springs airport but luckily I found Tyler (a good friend and more importantly, my RA) – he agreed to give two small bags of clothes to Zak (my RLC) for him to keep till I got back in September. I was able to get on to the 8am shuttle to Colorado Springs without a problem, since it was only Kim and I. When we arrived at the check-in counter I was able to check all three bags straight to Manila for the price of $160…expensive but I WAS checking in 3 bags! Kim and I decided to grab breakfast at Pikes Perk: croissants and orange juice, yum!
After our breakfast we went to gates 11 and 12. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I remember was waking up to hear the announcement that Denver was closed – all flights in and out of Denver were cancelled. I immediately rushed to the United counter and waited for 2+ hours to rebook my ticket. I missed the earlier flight to LA and was put on the 7:30pm flight. While waiting I tried to contact my parents, and after several false starts I figured out that the best way to contact them was via Facebook (on my phone) or Skype (on my laptop). I had dinner at Quiznos while waiting for the plane to arrive, and ordered the Carbonara sandwich without mushrooms or the parmesan alfredo sauce.
By the time 7pm came around, I was waiting to board until the PA system announced that the flight had been delayed. I was worried because my flight from LA to Manila was scheduled for 10:35pm. Unfortunately my dad told me that the flight was actually scheduled to leave at 9:10pm, so I would have missed it anyways. I ended up arriving at LAX at 12:15am (the plane from Denver arrived in Colorado Springs airport at 10pm) so I ended up sleeping overnight in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
After waking up at 8am to go to the reLAX lounge, I was informed by one of the security guards that it no longer existed. Thankfully I was able to find wi-fi, and my parents were able to get me a seat on the Cathay Pacific flight at 10:00pm – this meant I would arrive home at around 11am of December 24th, Tuesday. The counters for PAL (Philippines AirLines) opened at 3:45pm so I spent the rest of the morning waiting to get my bags. There wasn’t anything open in terms of food since all the lounges were AFTER security, so I was starving and quite thirsty by the time 7:30pm came around.
While waiting for the PAL counters to open, I decided to watch the newest season of Masterchef. Season 4 was amazing! I really liked Jessie and Natasha, and Luca was definitely my favorite guy. I really disliked Krissi, she was just so mean and foul-mouthed!
PAL counters opened at 3:45pm but I decided to line up a bit earlier to make sure I was one of the first in line. While waiting in line I received an email from Misha Collins (the actor who plays Castiel in the tv show Supernatural). It was about our Guinness World Record certificates for participating in GISHWHES – I now have the link to register my certificate, and I can order it whenever I want!
Interestingly enough, I also met Paris Hilton at the Tom Bradley International Terminal! I checked her twitter and apparently she had just flown in from Moscow.
…so when the schedule said that PAL counters would open at 3:30pm, I should have known that was a lie – “Plane Always Late”, like we all know, was delayed. From a time change of 3:30 to 3:45 to 4:10 (on the screens of the counters themselves), PAL counters finally opened at 4:20pm. It was fun to see a lot of balikbayan boxes on the trolleys though!
Cathay Pacific counters opened at 6:30pm which gave me enough time to find some food before lining up to check in. I found food places on the first floor and decided to check out Daniel’s Bistro & Bar. I ordered french fries and mozzarella sticks w/ marinara sauce since I was starving – the last meal I had was dinner the night before! I also got a bottle of water because the dehydration was giving me a headache.
Cathay Pacific is awesome because it cost me nothing even when I had 3 bags to check in! On the other hand, since I am still under 21 years old I was not allowed to enter the lounge unless I wanted to wait 30-45 minutes for a special Cathay Pacific escort to accompany me to the lounge (to make sure I did not partake in any alcohol). Instead of waiting I decided not to go to the lounge, so I went through security and took a quick look in Duty Free – the chocolate selection, of course.
I also popped by Starbucks to see if they had any sandwiches or pastries I could eat while waiting – unfortunately all the sandwiches contained egg, and the pastries had nuts or were just too sweet. I ordered a Tall Double Chocolatey Chip Frappucino instead – delicious!
When I arrived at my gate I was glad to see that nobody else was there – I got prime seats (the ones connecting two rows, meaning there were no arm chairs in between if I wanted to sleep) and right in front of me were sockets for charging my phone and my laptop!
We started boarding at 10pm, and the moment I sat down in my seat I couldn’t wait for the plane to take off. Hong Kong, here I come! Manila, I’ll see you soon!
Plane food is never great for me – I usually just end up eating the bread and butter, and/or the fruits. This flight served us two meals – dinner and breakfast. For dinner I had the chicken dish, and for breakfast I had the fruit platter with croissants and the choice of strawberry jam or honey.
Upon arriving at Hong Kong, I had less than 2 hours to go through security and reach the gate for my next flight to Manila. It was a bit annoying trying to find wi-fi, but I managed to send a quick message to my parents on my ETA in Manila. Since I was under 21 I could not use the Cathay Pacific lounge, so I just sat by the gate and waited. We began boarding at 7:45 for our 8:10 flight, and I decided to wait till the line was a lot shorter.
As I was lining up to board the plane, one of the Flight Attendants handed me a new boarding pass. Why? Apparently I was being upgraded to first class! I was definitely glad for the upgrade – it made an awful day slightly better.
I was served the fruits platter for breakfast, along with a bread basket – I wish they had more croissants because they were so warm and flaky, and the butter was perfectly salted! The hot chocolate was delicious too, and I sadly forgot to ask for the brand of Apple juice they carry 😦
It felt like I was just enjoying the outside view for 10 minutes when we arrived in NAIA (the Philippine airport) at 10am. Before landing we were each given a small box – I decided to open it at home just in case it was a) breakable, or b) perishable (i.e. a food item).
After going through immigration and collecting my luggage, I immediately went to the middle section to find whoever was picking me up.
I believe I slept the whole ride back home. I was SO glad to see my house – all I had to do was greet my family (and my dogs), eat lunch, and shower, then fall asleep in my own bed for the first time since August!