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A trip to the land of Mr. Sandman (Neil Gaiman) (Lengthy kwento)

First Day (Sandman here I go!)

This is it, the evening of October 13 (birthday of Conchita) but also the eve of my departure to the land of dreams (home of Mr. Neil Gaiman writer of the Sandman novels). I was not able to sleep (ironic?).

What will you feel if you have finally experienced what you have hoped for in the last four years? It may sound OA but I have wished for this part of the journey for the longest time... and I always said,"To each his own time" (kanyan-kanyang panahon lang) but deep in my heart I had faith that someday I, too can go to the country of Uncle Sam to experience something different even for a limited time.

First leg of the flight(half breed children to almost being the female version of Tom Hanks in the movie terminal)

I had a good flight, long but quite interesting. During the first leg of the flight from Manila to Narita, Japan, I was surrounded by babies and children. They were so cute and adorable... but noisy! I pity their parents but of course, it's part of the package. With the joy of having children to put forth in this world you have to bear with different temperaments.

The children along my aisle are half-breeds (gawin daw bang aso). Half Filipino and half Caucasian, perfect mix! Asian and American... they are the future Sam Milby's and Alessandra Da Rosi's of Philippine cinema.

Part of the fun in my flight was the presence of beautiful people. I was speechless. Of course, the cute Caucasians and don't underestimate the Japanese men (remember Kenji Marquez?). A feast to the eyes indeed! The quick stopover at Narita, Japan was quite funny. I was in a connecting flight and I had to make my way to the correct gate when I got confused. The people I was following disbursed in many directions. No signs, no personnel to guide us. I panicked! I can't get lost at this part of the trip!

I trust my instincts more than logic. So, instead of searching for signboards, I went to the direction that my gut instructed me to. Sure enough, there was the line for people heading for Minneapolis. Eureka!

Japanese people are so cute - crazy haircuts and nice outfits! It helped that I liked to watch anime; the way they talk is absolutely amazing! They are so polite and respectful. In the Japanese duty-free, there are the staple items for sale; Hello Kitty, gadgets and electronic stuff (hello motto).

I was tempted to eat at Mc Donald's at the airport but it was so expensive! So, being the cheap sake that I am, I opted to wait for the food that they will serve at the connecting flight.

Thank heavens I brought a book and my I-pod during the flight. I could have bored myself to tears if I didn't have anything to read or music to listen to. I was reading "Norwegian Wood" by Murakami (yes, it's official, I love him!) when I saw a gorgeous, tall guy. Looking at him entertained me for the three hours waiting time we had to bear.

Second flight(seated with the kindly Uncle Sam and the dreaded lavatory!)

Airline food is not that bad. But I must say I liked their eggs (the real eggs ha). Oohh, I also faced another fear... my claustrophobia. You can't imagine the effort I had to make to reduce my fluid intake especially caffeine. I am completely terrified of being inside the lavatory. Argh! The moment I closed the door, I had to control the urge to scream. It was an enclosed space! I had to pee but I can feel the motion of the airplane, and I remembered that I was miles above land. Waaahh... so, after peeing, I had to pull my pants quickly and to wash my hands in record time so I can open the darn door! I was also scared of the flush. It seems capable of sucking me to the universe of pipes. I'd rather have kidney stones than go to the lavatory again. Que horror!

In the second leg of the flight, I was seated with a kindly gentleman. He didn't say much but he would always ask me my order so that I don't have to shout to the flight stewardess (I was seated at the window seat... sweet!). He would get my trash and stuff... a very kind man. I liked him even if he didn't say much.

At last, we got off the plane after more than 12 hours. But wait, I have to get passed customs. My gawd, my praningness was to the highest level when a customs official told me to "follow the green line and they'll finish you off there..." gulp! It was like the embassy interview all over again. But the interviewer was cute also (hehehe... I am having an eye feast!). And with a smile, I thanked him for stamping my I-94 card.

Off I went to the pickup curb. Upon exit, a cold (I mean freezer cold) gust of wind hit me in the face. I told myself… "Anto, welcome to the land of Uncle Sam!" My thanks to the lovely Conchita and "the Master" Cris Borja with his wife for picking me up! It was a surprise when I saw Conchita and I was touched by their welcome.

And so I walked...

When I go to a different place, my tendency was to walk around. Just walk and watch. So on my first day, I walked along the streets of Minneapolis. The skyway is an enclosed walkway that people use here to go around. Even in the bitter cold, the temperature is regulated there. I tried my luck in manipulating it but I got lost so I went out and walked the streets outside. It was cold but I got used to it after a few paces.

I observed the people crossing the streets, the churches, the trees, and stuff. It was a Saturday and the streets are quiet. There are a few people and I found a street lined with restaurants of different types - Japanese, Mexican, etc. The people that I saw were dressed nicely (must be the coats and the jackets). I love their clothes.

The city is so beautiful! It's artsy! They have an Orchestra Hall, and street musicians! As I walked along (something) avenue, there was a guitarist with his harmonica (yes, we also have this in the Philippines but I liked his song selection, jazzy...) and Tottie already told me about this trumpet player. Yes, I found him! Oh my gosh, the music from that trumpet is so heartfelt and beautiful! I wanted to give him money but I remembered I was on a budget so I moved on.

A funny sight awaited me at the corner of (something) street (yep, I always have a bad sense of direction and bad memory so I forget where exactly). A bride and a groom were walking. It was bitingly cold but the girl was wearing a strapless, backless gown and the photographer was taking a picture of the couple. It was a cute scene. They make a handsome pair.

On my first night at the land of Mr. Sandman, I opened all the blinds at my apartment to marvel at the view. Consi was good enough to leave some pasta and Choco ice cream (sinfully delicious) and I ate my first meal. It was just sweet.

What adventures await me in this city? Who knows... but I already found some badminton buddies and there's a bookstore somewhere so I'll survive... I think... Amen!

Second day(Gym bunny and lunchie at Venezuela)

Yes, I feel so blessed and grateful to the universe for letting me have this experience. Yup, I am now typing in my "living room" (gawd, for the first time, I have my own living room, even if it's just for six months, I feel so independent!), and overlooking the great, panoramic view of the city, I am at a loss for words.

Well, before I go to the stories of my adventures, off I go first to the seventh floor; I have to check out the fitness center!

Ciao for now...

I am back...

Oh my gawd, upon seeing the gym, I had tears on my eyes. I had the gym all by myself! It was wonderful. I wanted to try all the equipment and it was heaven. I tried the stationary bike, the treadmill (my fave) and ski machine (this is good for the gluts and the abs (or so I heard).

After 45 minutes of pounding, I realized that I was not sweating (well, not the usual good sweat that I have in the office gym). It was weird; I realized that part of the exhaustion of exercise is the heat. I exercised for one hour and 30 minutes and my shirt didn't get all that wet. But it was a good workout all in all. I think I am going to visit the gym almost everyday!

An officemate invited me for lunch and he's so friendly and warm (Mr. Congeniality indeed!). We went to a Venezuelan restaurant with another officemate. It was named Maria's Cafe. I realized that they are fellow foodies. As they ate, I was entertained by their food critique. We ordered the special of the house... black beans, eggs, fried potatoes and sausage. It was a little bland for my taste but good when you add a little salt and pepper (ahh.. nope, sorry, a lot of salt and pepper).

They were amazed when I asked where the nearest fast foods were (yep, I can't survive without them). KFC is the national fast food for Filipinos I must say and not Jollibee (well, that's just my opinion). I told them that we liked it because of the chicken. A fellow officemate told me that she will take me to a restaurant with serves decent chicken upon hearing that my standard for chicken excellence is KFC.

Currency Convert!

Another thing that confuses me is the currency. I have to stop from converting everything to peso! A movie costs $8. My gawd, that makes me feel good that back home I can watch four movies for that same amount (sa greenbelt na yun ha!).

Sights on!

And so, I look forward to the people that I'll meet and the food that I will eat! Thanks heavens for the gym. I can eat all the food that I like! Especially Ben & Jerry's chocolate ice cream (courtesy of Congee)...yummy!



Porsh said…
net! i'm so happy for you. good luck on your new adventure. take in everything you can out of that experience. pagbalik mo, dumaan ka naman dito hehehe.

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