Those were the exact thoughts I had when I finally landed at 2:00 am at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport. With being more than 4 hours delayed, I stepped out of the airplane, expecting some sort of run-down terminal with peeling walls, exotic smells, and classic Asian chaos.
None of these fears turned out to be the truth, at least for now. Manila welcomed me with modernity and friendliness. “Not too bad”, is what I am thinking, “if it continues like this, I won’t have any problem getting used to it.” This, however, changed quite rapidly upon me expecting my luggage. In a tremendously crowded area, remember it is 2:00 am, everyone was waiting for their luggage. Thus, I found myself a large enough space and started waiting for my blue suitcase as well.
After 30 minutes of waiting and seeing my fellow travelers pick up their suitcases, trolleys & large boxes, the thought that my luggage may not have made it from Abu Dhabi to Manila became a valid option I had to think about. Now with the baggage claim still in full speed, I decided not to panic and patiently wait for another 30 minutes until the whole thing just suddenly stopped. Never quit might have been the wrong approach during this moment, but it was the only thing I could think of. I went to the service counter and asked for a representative to double check my situation. Little did I know, that he would personally climb down the baggage trail and carry out a full investigation of my missing suitcase.
Unfortunately, it was nowhere to be found and so I joined 20+ travelers, who had the same issue as me, at the lost baggage counter at 3:00 am. To my surprise even one elderly Irish traveler made it and recognized me: “F%&k, …hell……g’on!, is about everything I understood and so I just nodded as the Asian chaos erupted around the two of us. Five service employees were overrun by anxious travelers who had the fear of never seeing their luggage again. Luckily, I was in a good position, filled out the necessary paperwork, which, thanks to international standards, is not so difficult to do.
Charles Dickens once said: Surprises, like misfortunes, seldom come alone. Right he was! Next mission: getting to the hotel. If you think taking a cab is easy in Manila, you have been misinformed. It was a hassle getting the driver to turn on the meter for an accurate measurement of my fare price. In fact, it was a fierce debate and arguments were thrown from left to ride – I won. PHP450 later, which translates into 8,63 €, I made it to my hotel. Too my surprise, I was spared from any other possible surprises; fell into my bed, and closed my eyes as Germany scored the 1:0 against Italy.