Oh, the irony.
I shot the photo above while in line to rebook our tickets for our cancelled flight. This, after waiting 6 hours to find out if we were flying or not.
I suppose from the beginning the circumstances were not promising. I was woken up in the pre-dawn hours of Friday morning by a full-blown thunderstorm. Have you ever heard successive and continuous rolls of thunder? The kind that just doesn’t stop, where you can imagine Thor unleashing all his thunderbolts in one go? After about an hour of that, our power went out. So I was getting ready in the dark, with the sun not even up yet. I was still in denial at this point. I thought, pssh. Surely a little rain won’t stop a plane from flying. Looking back now, maybe scheduling a trip in the middle of September, which is prime typhoon season in the Philippines, was the ultimate exercise in denial anyway. And not having power meant I couldn’t even style my hair properly. You know they say that you can endure almost anything when you’re having a good hair day, right? That was another sign right there.
Our flight was scheduled for 10 am, so by 8 we were already at the airport. The waiting areas were jammed so we just camped out on the floor. One by one, announcements came on that earlier flights were delayed. We were ready for our own flight to be delayed too, so we were still fine at this point. It was getting harder to find a soft spot on the floor to rest, but no matter. By 12, my friend Cathy decided to inquire at the gate. She was told that, good news! Our plane was just about to leave Bacolod en route to pick us up in Manila and take us to Palawan. I went in search of some food to tide us over. At all the restaurants, I was told that they had run out of their rice meals and pasta because of the volume of stranded passengers. Uh-oh. Another sign. Finally, I found one cafe that still had some pasta, so we were all set for lunch. Just as I was finishing my meal, they announced that our flight was most definitely cancelled. Spaghetti carbonara will forever have an unpleasant connotation for me.
This was the first time that I ever experienced a travel snafu. And to be honest, I didn’t mind the cancellation so much, because the weather didn’t really let up all day. We realized that we were spared from something potentially bad, for which we were thankful. But it was all the other things that followed that tried our resolve. We had to line up again to rebook our tickets and decide on the spot when we were going to reschedule our trip. This meant coordinating with the resort as well. Thank God Cathy took care of all the phone calls, but it’s not like scheduling a trip is the easiest thing to do. Then we waited outside by the airport curb for our ride home, with the rain still pouring almost horizontally because of the wind. We were just sitting on our luggage trolleys, feeling so sorry for ourselves. We were wet, cold and hungry, inhaling all the cigarette smoke from the trash bins and the exhaust fumes from other waiting vehicles. It was not the happiest experience. And that wasn’t the end of it either. After 11 hours of waiting at the airport, Cathy had to worry about her car getting stalled, and I got home to find out that we had lost power again.
To be fair, I told Cathy that we really couldn’t expect to have a perfect travel record. We were bound to have a bad experience some time. But as she said, as first times go, couldn’t it have been gentler? Oh well. At least it made for some story. And we’re trying again next month. Here’s crossing our fingers.