Sleepless in Seattle Part Deux

I’ve had apprehensions about traveling alone – something which I haven’t done in a long while – just thinking about hauling my big luggage from the carousel is making my knees weak. When we travel as a family, Baggy takes care of the luggage while I look after Aya. Now, it’s just me, myself and I. I feel like a free woman, that much is true. But then again, I’m not used to being alone anymore.

We did consider going together to Seattle. But Baggy already visited Seattle last May. And according to Baggy, there aren’t really any must-see places in Seattle, unless you’re a fan of the Seattle Mariners. When we inquired about airplane tickets, we balked at the price – almost the same as the price for a trip to Florence. We decided to be practical this time (ok, this is not something we do all the time hehe).

I miss my family. I wish they were here with me. Everything I saw on the airplane reminded me of my family. I saw a girl with her parents, and she was viewing Nemo on her personal A/V system. I thought of how Aya loved doing that. Hours later, I heard the same girl crying out, probably because of being uncomfortable in her seat. Aya does that too, and it could be pretty irksome for a parent trying to catch a few winks on the plane. Irksome, too, for the rest of the passengers. I know the feeling. I felt a mixture of feelings – relief, because I am finally on my own and didn’t have to mind anyone else for a change; and sadness, because inspite of the difficulties of traveling, having your family with you makes it all worthwhile. Sure, you end up exhausted and tired beyond your wits, but exploring new territories is infinitely much more fun and memorable with your family. Take my word for it.

Some anecdotes at the airport:

– There was a bitchy Pinay at the immigration. What made me notice her was her outrageously loud voice, which became particularly louder when she was harrassing, er, interviewing this family of Pinoys. I couldn’t help but notice how bitchy she was when she was asking them questions. I heard her speak in Tagalog once, – “May dala ba kayong mga pagkain???” At one point she asked them how much money they have. I didn’t hear their replies, but she repeated her question again, this time loud enough to be heard by the rest of us standing in line. I didn’t know that asking how much money one brings into the US is part of their procedure – we all have to make declarations on a custom’s questionnaire to be handed over to the appropriate officers on our way out. Anyway, that woman was clearly enjoying her power-tripping, it probably made her day to harrass fellow Pinoys that way. Note that she wasn’t as particularly bitchy when it came to other passengers. When it was my turn, I made it a point to avoid her even if she was already available, and opted to go to another available lane. The gentleman officer was particularly polite and asked me the usual questions – what do I plan to do here, where do I intend to go, standard stuffs. I got off that lane with a feeling that I was properly served and cheerfully welcomed. Now why couldn’t everyone be treated that way? I felt sorry for the Pinoy family – it seems to me that this is their first time to visit the US, and they were treated quite rudely, by a fellow Pinoy nonetheless! Sure, we can’t expect any special treatment from our kababayans, but at the very least we deserve to be treated in a polite manner.

– While waiting for my luggage at the carousel, an officer saw me holding my passport and asked me, “Indonesia?” PILIPINAS is clearly written at the cover of my pasport. Can’t you read? I shook my head and said, “No. Philippines.” He asked, “So, do you have any meats with you? Bagoon?” I shook my head to each question and said, “I came from JAPAN. I don’t live there anymore.” Not to give up so easily, he asked again, “So do you have any curries?” It was all I could do to keep myself from laughing. Ipukpok ko kaya ang poster na dala ko sa kanya para matauhan. Porke ba Pinoy ako I will automatically sneak in forbidden items like that? Gee, thanks a lot for the stereotyping. “Bagoon” – he meant “bagoong,” of course, is particularly infamous among custom officials. This is not the first time for me to be asked if I was carrying any bagoong with me!

Seattle reminds me so much of San Francisco. I could see the bay from my room, and the roads are particularly hilly, I half-expect a cable car to come out of nowhere. Not a particularly bad day outside, too. It was cloudless and sunny outside when arrived. I got to the hotel without much fanfare and checked into my room, after spending more than eighteen hours on the road since I left our house. I was asleep at 4 pm (8 am Japan time), and promptly awoke 8 hours later at 12 midnight. My bioclock is so messed up right now. But I know that I have to adjust to the local time as soon as possible if I am to perform at my peak at the conference.

So there goes my first day. Hope to blog again in the coming days. Ciao for now.

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