Travelchick

My adventures and mis-adventures as I travel here and there

Riding Greyhound- Day 3

Last night I finally got so sick feeling and tired that I laid all our luggage down in the bus station and sprawled out across it. And I actually fell asleep. Around 1am we finally reboarded our bus. I was so thankful to be one of the few people on the bus without a seatmate. Unfortunately, my sister had someone sitting next to her, which made me feel really guilty. Still, I fell fast asleep for about four and half hours until a stop woke me. The woman sitting next to my sister moved to another seat, so she got to sleep some too, and I slept again for three hours. I’m currently in Boise, Idaho. When we were driving in, I looked around and saw how “northwest-ish” it looked and this powerful feeling of home swept over me. I felt happier than I ever believed I would to be close to Walla Walla again. Our bus is still about an hour and a half late, but we’re close now, so it almost doesn’t matter. Everyone looks happy and refreshed in this part of the country. I feel happy and refreshed. I met a woman who got on the bus in West Virginia, has been on for three days, and has to get back on Saturday.

There is seriously no limit to what might happen on Greyhound. A non-US citizen from, well, some other country, who speaks only Spanish was called off the bus along with a translator this morning. After a few minutes the bus driver came down the aisle, “Ok, which one of you jackasses stole this here man’s wallet? He’s not a citizen and all his papers are in there!” It came to light very quickly that the “jackass” had thrown the wallet down the toilet. A flashlight was found and the offending article was fished out and deposited in a plastic bag, after which items that had fallen out of the wallet were also fished out. Needless to say, much laughter and expressions of disbelief surrounded the event. It added to our hour and a half delay.

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September 13, 2007 Posted by | United States | , , , | Leave a comment

Riding Greyhound- Day 2

Using the bathroom in the bus while the vehicle is in motion is not unlike trying to ride a mechanical bull. I hope my fellow passengers couldn’t hear my exclamations and proclamations as I struggled to maneuver in there. The second day of bus riding and fantasies of burritos are growing very strong. Every town we stop in hates vegetarians, as I haven’t been able to find a burrito without chicken, bacon, or beef. I’ve started going for my sister’s arm because it now looks like a burrito to me. If I don’t get a burrito at the next stop, I may loose my mind. After buying Wyoming postcards, I realize I already bought some on the way down. Probably the exact same ones. In Salt Lake City at 11:30 PM they tell us there will be a 1-2 hour delay.

First-timer: “Is the bus always like this?”
Us: “YES!”

My sister has decided she might as well wash her bangs in the sink. Meanwhile, a woman who’s been waiting here for six hours creates havoc among other innocently waiting passengers. The security guard hits on all the women.

Guard: Are these your carry-on bags?
Sis: Yeah.
Guard: You’re really hot!!
Sis: What…What?!
Guard (laughing hysterically): BET THAT WOKE YOU UP, DIDN’T IT!
Female passenger: What, we’re delayed two hours? Tell me you’re joking!
Guard: Yep, that’s right. Gives you plenty o’ time to spend with me! (wink, wink)

The information counter shuts down for the night. Some smokers get locked outside the station- hehe- and my sis chats up some short dark-haired dude. I just realized that I’m developing a fever… and a sore throat. Perfect.

September 13, 2007 Posted by | United States | , , , , | Leave a comment

Riding Greyhound- Day 1

I like learning about people by listening to their conversations without the inconvenience of having to take part in them. No, that’s not a fancy way to say I like to eavesdrop. I merely appreciate the auditory diversions that are offered to me. It’s fun to try imagining a visual representation of the person based on their voice and story before actually seeing their face. Drug dealers, ex-cons, and fugitives of the law- those are your greyhound seatmates. The man sitting beside my sister made a not-so-discreet drug deal over the phone. He’d just gotten out of prison in Mississippi… for possessing a trunk-full of drugs, of course. The man in front of her had fled the state for 8 years to avoid several warrants on his name. Lovely.

September 12, 2007 Posted by | United States | , , , , | Leave a comment

Home Again, Home Again

I’ve been back for a week now, and I’m able to stay asleep all night. That’s always nice. I still have some kind of funky thing going on with my stomach, but I plan to bombard that with charcoal for a few days and see what happens. Maybe I just need to get back to my little home in College Place and return to my little routine. I’m currently on the bus with my sister on our way to the northwest.

The other day we were in a restaurant and I was suddenly overwhelmed by the large percentage of overweight people- something we just didn’t see in the Philippines. Some people were frighteningly skinny there, in fact. Oh, and I still get excited when I go into a public restroom and find toilet paper present. Otherwise, I think the culture shock is wearing off.

I think my wireless card has just died and I’m mourning that fact acutely.

Because of the Philippines and my experience there, I’m a little closer to identifying with my church the way I want to and need to. I understand now, when I stand under a hot shower each night, why most people in the world will always consider it a privilege- one they may never even experience. I’m beginning to really get why circumstance and possession don’t decide state of mind. I’ve been to Asia- check one off my life list! My faith is stronger. I know about 10 million things a sarong can be used for (I’d put it on my list of things to have on a deserted island). I made new friends (including one I can visit when I journey to Hong Kong). I’ve had more practice making life work in spite of some more difficult aspects of my personality. I have a tan. I’ve smiled so much my face hurt and I couldn’t change my expression. I’ve been humbled.

I’ll always be thankful that I listened when God said “Just say you’ll go”, and I’ll remember the generosity of the people who funded my trip. They made it possible for me to be really blessed and enriched.

September 11, 2007 Posted by | Philippines, United States | , , , | Leave a comment

Jet Lag Time!

After a horribly long Tuesday during which I traveled solid for at least 31 hours (following a mere 5 hours of sleep), I finally arrived back at my parents’ house in Texas. I proceeded to sleep that night and all the next day. During the one hour I was awake I felt horribly sick, a feeling I’m still struggling with. Somehow, traveling forward in time was not nearly as difficult as traveling back. I’m finding the task of readjusting my body to the correct days and night very arduous. Not helping I’m sure, is the fact that my stomach seems to be in rebel mode. Half the time I feel just fine and the other half I’m losing a good meal. I’m so hungry right now, but I’m trying to let my stomach rest a little. I had some juice this morning and if that digests alright, I’ll have some gentle foods for lunch. Food, yum… All I want to do is to eat large quantities of potatoes and veggie links and strawberries and waffles and other goodies, but it seems my body does not agree. Unfortunate difference of opinion. I may have a bug, but I think my systems are just really stressed. Note to self: get good sleep before the next longest day of my life.

I did have time to marvel about the different worlds I’ve been in lately. It’s like night and day, but I can’t even describe why. It could be the presence of hot water, but maybe it’s the fact that I can sit here in this house and not see anyone except my three family members for several days. Or that we have a dishwasher.

September 7, 2007 Posted by | Philippines, United States | , , , | Leave a comment

Transitioning i.e. reverse culture shock ahead of time

Words can’t describe how I feel right now (but they can try). I’m sitting on a bed in a room that I’m not sharing with anyone. I’m in a real house. With nothing but a ceiling fan blowing, my environment is at a comfortable temperature and humidity. I’m eating coconut pie. It’s only 9:30PM and I don’t have to be anywhere until 10am tomorrow. There’s everything I need in the fridge to make pancakes. There are a bunch of mangos on the kitchen counter. I can’t really hear any sounds except for crickets and stuff outside. And, probably best of all, I just had a SHOWER, a WARM shower!

This morning, after a night that wasn’t really worthy of being called one, we got on a plane and left General Santos City to come to Manila. We immediately went to a humongous mall, ate Subway (and I didn’t feel like throwing up after I ate for the first time in a couple days. I think I have some bug.), and then wandered lost around the mall doing some shopping (somehow I’ve earned a rep with the group of being an obsessive shopper, but hey, the people I bought stuff for will be happy). After the mall we drove to an Adventist college, I guess. It’s dark out so we haven’t actually seen our surroundings yet. They put us up in guest houses that, especially compared to what we were in before, are extremely nice. There are only three of us in this whole house and I’m absolutely savoring the privacy! And the shower… I would be embarrassed to tell you just how thankful I got over the shower and the hot water. I’ve always taken that for granted. Two weeks without it seems like so much longer, and I found myself wondering how a person who lived in Mindanao for a year or so and then came back would feel. I guess I’m already experiencing some of my reverse culture shock. They say that this is the way to do it, though; take it in stages; do some sightseeing and shopping before returning. Manila is already so different from Gensan and the place we’re at now is even more different yet because it’s cooler here. No mosquitos!

Let me back up a little. The church service, baptism, and closing meeting last night were absolutely amazing and overwhelming. The gymnasium was so packed for church that I began to feel really claustrophobic. I ended up skipping Sabbath lunch, partly because of my eager gag reflex and partly because I just needed some space from people. I had about 40 glorious minutes lying on my bed with no one around, and I’m sure that was what kept me going to rest of the day. That and God’s mercy. And some seaweed stuff that Jane gave me. The baptism was like nothing I have ever experienced before. Eight hundred and sixty-two people were baptized yesterday. Sixty couldn’t make it and were baptized today, for a total of nine hundred and twenty-two. MANY of them were children. I loved that because I know that they have the rest of their lives that they’re deciding to give to Jesus. Sheila, one of my favorite girls, was baptized and I was so happy to see it! Twenty-something pastors were all in the pool at once and people waiting in front of them in lines. I don’t even know how to explain how I felt, but even though I was dying to escape people and stares and a spotlight feeling, I loved being at the baptism. There are a ton of pictures on Pedrito’s site, I’m guessing, because I took many many many. The baptism was right after church, then we had an hour for lunch, then we went back for a program that was supposed to go from 1:30 to 5. That whole afternoon was so exhausting. For one thing, our whole VBS group ending up on stage for pretty much forever. The whole time I’m chanting my mantra: “Don’t throw up on stage, don’t throw up on stage”. Besides that, everything laasted aaa loooooong tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime. By the time Pedrito got up to speak, it was already 5:45. Then he did something that shocked us all. After doing the quiz and the children’s portion, he simply summarized his sermon, showed us his slides, and was done. By then almost everyone had left anyway, in comparison to the numbers at the start. Left were a whole crowd of people crazy with grief that we were leaving. Several of us pretty much got mobbed for gifts, pictures, e-mails, hugs, handshake, rememberances. Security finally pulled us outa there and put us on the van. It was harder to leave than I thought it would be.

Saturday night was not hard at all compared to this morning. The love the people had for us was overwhelming. I couldn’t even comprehend it. Their send-off was just as heartfelt and grand as their welcome, and it made such a huge impression on me. I surely did not feel worthy of it. Some of them cried and lots of them drove with us to the airport to see us off.

It was harder still to say goodbye to Jane. She was the only student who didn’t come from Walla Walla. She goes to Hong Kong Adventist College. I haven’t mentioned her in my blogs yet, but she was completely wonderful. I had a really fun time with her. She is one of the most patient and good-natured people I have ever met. I started teasing her within a couple days, making fun of her pronunciation of English words, but she always just laughed with me. This week the guys started teasing her. They were so unmerciful, but she just took it in stride and they thought she was amazingly cool for it. She taught me a couple of words in Chinese, told me about her childhood in rural China, and gave me one of the most amazing back massages I’ve ever had. I’ll definitely miss Jane.

September 2, 2007 Posted by | Philippines | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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