I've got so much to tell you! What an experience this has been getting from LAX to Manila by way of China!
My daughter, Vanessa and I survived our 15-hour flight quite well due to excellent service and care from China Southern Airlines. We were treated to three full meals, which were very tasty and plenty of food - chicken with rice and beef pasta and dim sum. Beverages were handed out regularly and wine was free although I did not partake (I'm watching my blood sugar!) I highly recommend this airline as they took extremely good care of us when I didn't realize I needed a forward flight to be admitted to the Philippines. The attendant literally walked me over to another airline so that I could purchase a completely refundable ticket to Hong Kong (I'm headed to Thailand next but don't have a departure date).
We landed in Guangzhou, China for our connecting flight to Manila which was an interesting and stressful experience. We were herded down a gangway to wait in a long line for a shuttle to our connecting gate. The stress was actually due to not knowing if we would make our connection, which we really didn't need to worry about as the airline very much catered to its passengers and collected a few missing ones before giving the shuttle permission to move on.
Finally arriving in Manila was very easy, no customs involved and we grabbed a cab with a little trepidation about possibly being over-charged but we paid the equivalent of $15 for a 40-minute ride to Quezon City - a Manila suburb.
We crashed and this morning headed out for our first Filipino meal which was fabulous. Van had adobo and I had lumpia - something I've been craving for months. Then we took a stroll down the boulevard - an eclectic collection of businesses from restaurants to car repair shops to banks, etc., some surprisingly attractive and others grimy and gritty, which I expected in this part of the country. Vanny was nearly run over - no exaggeration by a big, expensive SUV that just kept coming even though we were in a crosswalk. Crazy time.
Tomorrow we head out to our first intentional stop - Baguio, a mountain resort town about 4 hours away by bus.
More from the PI tomorrow!