Finally We Fly

Chapter 1: Surviving Immigration
The species that I fear most on Earth are clad in black nautical-type uniforms. They are called Immigranses officialis. A vicious breed of blood-sucking, flesh-eating, bone-munching predators that thrive on their prey’s fears and naivety. The more you fear them, the stronger they become. This, of course, was not my first encounter with them. In the past, I managed to survive their deadly gaze unscathed, only to live and endure another near-death experience. Not only are they sharper, they have mutated into questioning machines. Man, they can grill!
Why Vietnam? Who invited you? Where are you staying? How many days will you stay? Are you going to work there? What’s a transcriptionist? Do you have a company ID? What’s a holiday? What were you doing in Ethiopia? Your visa was issued in London?
The magic word, I figured, was London. Passports stamped!
Chapter 2: The Window Seat
“The early bird catches the worm,” they say. Very true. Pinky and I can attest to that. We were the earliest birds, checked in even before the counters opened (okay, a few seconds after the counters opened), and got our boarding passes—no fuss. In our case, however, the “worms” were seats at the rear of the plane—and I mean the “lastest” row. And I was thinking, No worries, I got the window seat anyway. So upon boarding, I sauntered to my window seat . .  . without a window.

These budget airlines are funny! They must have pushed the seats forward to make way for an extra row at the back (hence, no window because the last row isn’t supposed to be there).
Anyway, I got claustrophobic, and when this happens I become an actress. I successfully pulled off my infamous I-can’t-breathe-I’m-going-to-die act, with Pinky as my supporting actress with her effortless constipatingly confused look. The stewardess, however, didn’t think it was worth an Oscar. Thankfully, the gods heard my gasps and uprooted a family of three off their seats (God knows where they went), and I got my real window seat at last!

Chapter 3: The Speediest Game Ever!
Okay, so Cebu Pacific is known for its tradition of having “superfun” (their word) games onboard. (I heard about the dancing crew, but wasn’t lucky enough to see it.) So the game was called “Show Me.” The mechanics: the stewardess calls out an object and the first passenger to produce it gets a “majestic” (their word) prize.  
So in the spirit of fun, Pinky and I decided to participate and listened intently to what she was asking for. But before we could even blink, the game was over—yes, after 48 seconds.
Show me your passport—10A wins!
Show me your boarding pass and a pen—21 D wins!
Show me your e-ticket—15F wins!
Tak! Tak! Tak! Game over! I’m dumbstruck until now and dreaming of that “majestic” bag with the ever-smiling Cebu Pacific mascot. What more can a traveler ask for?
Chapter 4: Millionaires in Saigon
We’ve touched down finally, and like real tourists we went straight to the money changer to have a few US dollars changed into the local currency (Vietnamese dong). As luck would have it, we’ve become millionaires overnight! Really cool! Now how to spend my millions. Suggestions, anyone?
The millionaires are, however, stuck in the airport and sleeping on the floor because they haven’t booked a hotel (if you read my previous post, you’d know why). Now we’re waiting until it gets light enough to begin our search for a place to stay. Good thing, there’s wi-fi here, and although I can’t access Facebook, I can still blog.

The things you do in the airport at 2-5 a.m.

The heat is on in Saigon! Yeah, baby, yeah!

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