*extremely picture-heavy post
A month ago, I mentioned that I’d be in Thailand for two weeks to attend a training. Well, it finally happened and I could not be more excited to undergo our organization’s rite of passage.
I arrived a bit early at NAIA Terminal 2, with enough time to look for the participants from our other office. My colleague from a different team will be arriving at a later date because he had a class for graduate school. I was a bit nervous as well because the typhoon Lawin was due for landfall the same day as my flight. I had enough of a traumatic flight in the midst of a typhoon, after the horrid travel back to Manila in October last year after the WHO meeting in Guam.
Anyway, I sometimes wonder up to what extent I do my best not to talk to people I personally do not know. At times I can be very friendly, but most often, I just shut my trap and freeze on my tracks. This time was different though and I mustered the courage to approach my colleagues from the other office. I already know one of them from a previous course this year, where I discussed something. On the other hand, it would be my first time to meet the other two. Nevertheless, I was delighted to know that they were very friendly and we immediately hit it off. With a quick lunch at Jollibee and a minor gossiping on what to expect during the training, the next thing we know was we were already boarding the flight to Bangkok.
Flying over the South China Sea
For starters, I recommend installing MyPal app on your mobile device. Aside from civil aviation rules prohibiting people from turning on their cellphones, the app will allow us to watch a selection of movies, series and even get copies of back-issue local magazines. The coolest thing of all — seeing our exact location on the map as we fly across the South China Sea.
After a couple of hours, we landed at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. It is a beautiful airport and as a Filipino, you always tend to ask yourself ‘Why are our airports not this pretty?’. But that is a subject for a separate discussion altogether.
At Suvarnabhumi International Airport
As I have mentioned in my previous post, the last part of my Guam chronicles deserve an entry of its own.
On what I thought to be our last day, in which I was hoping to finally have a swim on the beach, this was what greeted me when I opened the door to the veranda.
Let the storm rage on
I can only long for a swim
So there was no question that I would be going out to the sea with waves that high from a distance. Although I have also noticed that a couple of Japanese tourists were brave enough to tackle the wind and water (AND THE WAVES). Some of them were even swimming in the pool. You gotta love how this cold temperature was just peanuts for them, compared to the winter they experience year in and out.
Monday to Friday was an eventful week. I braced myself and prayed so hard not to, well, f**k up because I had been briefed how stressful this regional meeting could be. The moment the delegates started arriving at Guam, chaos followed.
I always eat a FULL MEAL with lots of meat and carbs to ready myself of the ensuing onslaught. I usually have two trips to the buffet table to protein and carbo-load, then followed by fruits to keep me full.
The view from La Mirenda
The paradox of working at an organization making a pronouncement of how bacon is carcinogenic and finding a pile of it on my plate
(Note: I normally post things per day concerning a trip, but thought that it would be too long to post for 10 days. I just divided this Guam trip to three thematic parts as it made more sense.)
The last time I was out of the country, it was during our winter trip to South Korea in late 2012. As you very much know, I got sick and had to make a lot of adjustments — and traveling overseas for a vacation took a back seat.
But fortunately, part of the reason why I was excited to join this organization was the prospect of going to Guam for the regional meeting. When the post was first offered to me, I was immediately informed that this year’s meeting will take place in Guam. Come to think of it, regardless if it were to be held in Manila like almost every year, I would still say yes. It might be work but I still consider the opportunity to travel as a perk.
NAIA Terminal 1
Contrary to what usually happens when we have to go to the airport, the travel going to NAIA was a breeze because I was picked up near the apartment. All I did was wait with Mon for the shuttle to arrive, cramp my bags at the storage and sit.
It was my first time to travel overseas without Mon and it was honestly unnerving. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I had a separation anxiety as well, but as they say, there is always a first time for everything.
Our flight leaves at a very untimely hour and we were to land in Guam before the dawn. Four hours flew by because I almost slept during the whole trip and I woke up with the fidgeting sound of people itching to disembark the plane. Here we are, finally, and Hafa Adai!
Hafa Adai! Welcome to Guam