Tokyo – Manila – Melbourne

Today is about..

Bidding goodbye to my beloved Tokyo and Japan. Dragging our big luggage from One@Tokyo hotel to Oshiage SkyTree station.Taking two trains to reach the Narita Airport. Eating one last Yoshinoya meal for the year (unless we come back in Christmas — which is very likely). Drinking Starbucks’ Seasonal Hot Azuki Beans and of course their softest Strawberry Chiffon cake. Sleeping all throughout the flight to Manila. Almost losing it at the Manila International Airport. And watching Booksmart on the way back to Melbourne.

Manila International Airport is Boring

I am in the Philippines waiting for our flight to Haneda in another two hours and let me tell you, Manila International Airport is hella boring!

So far I had brownies crips, not so mini almond croissant, and a sad hot tea from the only one food stall that accepts credit card.

And there is no bookstore! That’s just utterly wrong. Even the plain Melbourne airport has two bookstores. speaking of Melbourne airport.

This airport also doesn’t have a bar. How do you spend time here without beer or books?

That’s three strikes for me.

Fafa, on the other hand, didn’t need three. The minute we landed, he told me we are never going through Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport ever again when we travel.

You would think of us, fellow third-world countries people would have a better understanding of the airport. But by God, even some of our not-capital-city airports are better than this.

I have been eyeing their local snacks though. Many look so interesting that I am curious to try some.

The flight from Melbourne to here has been uneventful except for the nauseating last half-hour because of the gloomy cloudy weather. I managed to sleep most of the flight because I didn’t sleep much the night before. and I also half-read and finished the Train Man book. The book is bad. I will write more about it soon.

Ps. Toilet is clean.

Ten of Swords Trip Back Home

I think I experienced hell recently by sitting on a window seat in a plane for 12 hours without standing nor sleeping on my way back from Amsterdam to Melbourne. The only good thing about the flight was the Indonesian food (written in Bahasa Indonesia) on the in-flight menu: ikan bakar madu – honey glazed bbq fish.

Thankfully I had a stopover in Singapore.

I stretched my legs, had a quick meal (it was breakfast or lunch or dinner depends on which time I referred to) with my cousin, who was going home to Jakarta. I spent the rest of my hour at the airport in the bookstore where I bought a book about the city I once called home before boarding another plane that would take me to Melbourne.

This time, I requested an aisle seat, which I usually dislike because of all the disruptions, but I thought it would be better for me if I still felt like stretching. Weirdly, I slept off the minute the plan went up in the sky and only got woken up the next day when they served the in-flight meal (which I too wasn’t sure whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner).

A smooth immigration process and $83 taxi ride later, I was finally home.

No Meal – Garuda – Jakarta to Bali to Melbourne

I am on the plane. They are serving food, but I plan to skip it because I had bakwan udang earlier at the airport, I want to eat at Warung Made in Bali, the book I am currently reading teaches to be full only 80% of the time.

Japonism is a book I almost bought a few weeks ago and didn’t. But eventually caved and bought in the airport earlier. It’s such a treat. It inspires me to appreciate life more, being more mindful, and purge the heck out of my mind and physical stuff. Oh well, slowly I guess.

What’s not great is neglecting writing for 3 days and feeling not good about it. I really have to have the 15 mins rule where I stick to the things I wish to accomplish. Writing being one of of them. There is a part of me that’s dying to write on the blog. So much! I am ready to jump! Well, I guess I will! What I will do is post revamp old blog posts once a week and write and post new blog posts twice a month. That’s 6 posts a month. Seems pretty doable right? I will do it every Monday Ha! That’s at least 72 posts from now till next year, with at least 24 new ones. This could my 34yo resolutions. Wait maybe I want to make it even crazier and post 34 new posts? Oh yeah! That’s soon! Okay, I have written for 10mins. Write again soon. Hopefully, this strategy works.

I went to Jakarta for Amma’s birthday. It was successful. We had two cakes and Appa came down to feed her and take some pics. I would like to think it’s a memorable birthday for her too. I hope so. We had such a great time. I am forever grateful that we had at this moment.

SQ – Singapore to Melbourne

Going back was a hard thing. I kept gulping, knowing that it won’t be easy to see them all together in the same place. Thank God I was still nursing a hangover and was too tired trying the act like my 20s in my 30s. I tried to sleep on the flight back but the lady beside me kept judging my tv choice: sex scene in STAC, the sex scene in GIRLS, and sex scenes in Insecure.

Do you know when they say your friends are the family that you choose? In my case, it’s kind of true.

Someone told me once that I don’t have many friends, and I agree. I can easily count the friends who know the real me, the ones who have seen me crying over crazy shit, someone who I can message in the middle of the night with my deepest insecurities. I don’t have many of them, but I would travel halfway across the world for them.

SQ – Melbourne to Singapore

My Singapore weekend officially started when the boarding lady, Tracy, asked me whether I was just stopping over in Singapore on my way to Indonesia. I told her no, not this time.

This time I was flying to Singapore to spend the weekend with my best friends.

She then moved my seat so that I didn’t seat near the children’s area on the flight.

I thanked her profoundly. There’s nothing worse than sitting near crying babies on a flight. Lucky me! Or so I thought. But not so much, apparently, I would be flying with a rugby little league to Singapore.

I would take one crying baby over twenty unshowered, hormone-driven teenage boys who are traveling somewhere to compete. F&@#!

Travel Pillow

Of all the things I wasted my money on, I had never once or bought a travel pillow. For the longest time, I convinced myself I didn’t need this or earplugs, or a travel backpack.

And the truth is that I didn’t. My flights were always acceptable and I am always ready to use up points to bump into direct flight whenever possible. But there I was, in the airport, delirious after gulping my sleepy night time tea before immigration nursing the burnt tongue of drinking the said tea too fast. I saw an array of travel pillows. 2 for 45 or 2 for 99. Who travels with two travel pillows?

I remembered my 8-hour flight to Singapore, followed by the 4-hour flight to Chennai, followed by the 2-hour flight to Goa, followed by a rehearsal dinner in Goa, followed by cousins’ pajama party, followed by cousin W’s wedding, followed by the same flights back to Melbourne. I remembered being almost dead when I reached the office.

It made me realized, at this age, I need extra support. I mean other than the tea and the Travelmate sleepless jet lag pill. Also, Amanda told me so.

Then, I sent a tweet: should I get a travel pillow? Or this will be one of another one of my travel sins?

I, of course, didn’t get any reply because I’m not Blake Lively. I went to the waiting room, but I was too early, another side effect of being this age. So, I walked back to the bookstore and browsed every single book available there.

Still tempted by the travel pillow, I weighed my options: it might be another stupid thing in my closet or a game-changer. What I should have done is google the review of it but it is seriously past midnight, you guys.

I went ahead and did the test. Squishiness, foldability, a pocket to save the phone, and of course, color. After what felt like a long consideration, I took the pink one to the cashier only to tell them I’m going to change it to black. Felt like it would be more durable for droll and being dumped into the inside of my backpack.

I paid for it together with a magazine called Collective when I saw the first sentence about buying unnecessary things (what a cliche). I hooked my brand new travel pillow into my bag and later took it off to hook it onto my neck immediately once I reached my seat. I immediately regretted not buying the noise cancelation plug as I was seated beside a talkative couple. 

Anyway, I just woke up and I’m still wearing this thing on my neck and hotel slippers on my feet and let me tell you it’s a fucking game changer.

I slept so much better and without any neck pain that I usually feel from my head bobbing while sleeping. Life has been upgraded and merely for 99$ for 2 travel pillow.