i guess the trip started when the paloma and i piled into my brothers car and we headed off to the airport. it was about 9:30 pm. i was really hesitant to leave. the paloma and i had come down with some pretty bad colds three days beforehand. i was doing ok. she sounded like she was getting better, but her cough was pretty bad - bad enough that it sometimes made her gag.
we managed to check in without any hitches. i was worried about security confiscating all of our cold medicines since they were all over the 3 oz limit, but they let everything through. the gate was further than i thought and the paloma was really tired so, i had to carry her part of the way - not easy, since i had to carry her carry on and mine - the laptop. at one point, she thought she was going to hurl which upped my stress level to "potential aneurysm".
i had hoped that she would sleep on the first 13 hour leg of the trip. but that just didn't happen. she was too excited, too sick and too tired. and she wouldn't eat. i gave her medicine anyway (i realize now that i shouldn't have) to help with her cough and the pressure on her ears... to no avail. she was miserable. i was miserable. i felt like the worst mom on the planet. (i still do.)
the interesting thing was that although the paloma was having a hard time. the other passengers on the plane seemed pretty cool about it. earlier in the day, i had talked to someone on the urbanbaby message boards about possibly cancelling the trip and worried about the possibility of getting kicked off the plane in seoul because of her throwing a tantrum. the poster replied, "if you were getting on a domestic flight, i would be worried about that too. but you're getting on an international flight to asia. in my experience, the flight attendants and the passengers on those flights are so kid friendly. you'll both be fine. don't cancel. just go." that poster was right. i never felt like i was getting the stink eye from anyone. i was able to focus on the paloma, her fever and her cough and not the wrath of my fellow travellers.
by the way, we flew via asiana airlines. it was a great flight. and by far the least expensive and most direct way to go. they even had toys and puzzles for the kids. the food was good. i finally got to try korean food other than korean barbeque. my first meal was bi bim bap which was YUM-MEE! however, i passed on the hot pepper paste cause that looked lethal. i don't remember what my second meal was called but that was tasty too. it was mystery beef in a mystery sauce.
in addition to the safety info film, they show another film about pressure points you can massage to alleviate nausea, earache, headache, deep vein thrombosis, etc... and they show another film showing excercises you can do in your seat. it was really cool. and i gotta say, the flight attendants were HAWT. can't wait to fly via asiana again.
this pic was taken on the flight from seoul to manila. thankfully, this leg of the flight was shorter - 4 hours ish... and the plane was pretty empty. we all got to stretch out and finally get some sleep. the paloma finally has a smile on her face... it didn't last long. she got her first nosebleed right after this was taken.
we finally land in manila. it's about 80 degrees out. we got thru most of the airport without much trouble from the hawkers looking to get tips from us for "helping" us out. it wasn't until we got to baggage claim where we got jacked into renting a luggage cart and a luggage cart dude. i think we were just too tired to say no at that point. he didn't do a thing. i found all of our luggage and put it on the cart. he just stood there waiting for payment. all we had was US$ too but he was happy to take the $5. we sailed thru immigration and customs too - which was really surprising. we used to bring cigs and chocolate specifically for those people so that they'd let us go. the woman who we saw, glanced at our passports briefly and said, "please go ahead. happy valentines day."
when we finallly got outside the airport and found my sister and my papa and my soon to be bro in law. my papa couldn't stop crying and hugging us and saying, "my daughter!" and "my granddaughter!" which of course got me all kinds of speechless and emotional...
i brought along our portable carseat which is really nothing but a board with a five point harness attached to it. it amazes me that carseats aren't even a blip on the radar in the philippines considering how aggressive the drivers are there and how bad the traffic is... my family didn't once consider that i wanted to use the car seat. any car we got into was always packed two people than the seating allowed. the paloma was usually on someone's lap. i rarely got to use the carseat. it was so hard to just let go.
we finally got to the diamond hotel. i managed to forget our printed hotel voucher back home, so i had to use their business center to open the email again. thank goodness we got there in the afternoon when it was open. the hotel is a beautiful luxury hotel located on manila bay. it was a good location, located midway between my sister's wedding and the reception site.
usually, i would stay with my family in the house in cubao. but, i was worried about my mom and my papa not getting along (which proved true when they saw each other at the airport). it was also going to be a full house with my older sister staying there with her newborn, her husband and her mother in law. and i was really worried about the paloma not acclimating to the heat, the bugs, the environment, etc... anyhoo, i booked our stay via hoteltravel.com so we got a really - and i mean REALLY - cheap rate. our room was less than $100 a night via hoteltravel.
once we got into the room, the paloma got worse and worse... her fever spiked again and that's when she finally tossed her cookies all over the bed. what scared me was that she'd gotten another nosebleed and there was blood in her vomit. rick, my brother in law, is also a doctor. he was the voice of reason and calmed me down. i was FREAKING out. he suggested we just let her rest - no meds necessary, just a cool compress.
i called my sister (another doctor) to get a second opinion and she agreed. so, the paloma slept for about 10 hours. when she woke up she thought she could keep down some soup and some bread. she did. in the am, my sister came over with some "gentler" meds - fever reducer, decongestant and some liquid vitamin c. the paloma was doing much better. she was regaining her sense of humor and her cheery disposition. see below:
breakfast at the palm court restaurant. the wall of windows looks out onto a giant waterfall and the hotel's two pools.
the view from our room of manila bay in the wee small hours of the morning...
the view of popular mabini street (i think?) . that's the hyatt on the far right. the hotel i wanted to stay at but there were no vacancies...
the paloma resting in our room. for some reason, the beds had down comforters. we either slept on top of the comforters or jacked up the ac in the room... who in their right mind thought of down comforters in manila!?