#RPintheRP: A Travelogue

When I was initially looking up plane tickets, the cheapest flight to Manila would connect, first at Vancouver and then at Seoul before touching down in Manila’s Ninoy Aquino Airport. It was a, roughly, 36 hour flight.

I didn’t book it then because I had 50,000 other things on my mind (including asking my cousin Joanna what Manila chic is these days). However, on the bus to the embassy in Ottawa (a two-and-a-half-hour trip, mind) I thought, shit, I kind of need that plane ticket to be issued a document.

I hurriedly opened my phone and bought the ticket, not really looking at what I was purchasing, just noting that it was roughly the same number of connections (starting with Van) and roughly the same price. Had I looked at the ticket carefully, I would’ve noticed that my connecting flight was not at Seoul but rather at Hong Kong. An important fact, as you would later discover.

When I got to the embassy, I learned a — rather — important fact from the immigration agent: a Travel Document will only allow a passenger a one-way trip to the Philippines! And I already booked a ticket! (This would’ve been good information to have!)

I decided to let my charm go to the forefront. “Hey, ate, you’re so pretty naman, allow it na.” 

She laughed and asked where I was connecting. I said Seoul. She then sighed and said, “Well, Korea accepts Travel Documents, anyway, so I suppose I’ll allow you.”

And, yes, if you can see where I’m going with this, I would have been allowed to connect at Seoul as they accept these documents but because #irony Hong Kong does not allow them.

***

My editor told me I have a problem with getting to the meat of the issue. “In medias res, Monsieur Palanca!” he would yell. “Start as close to the action as possible.”

So I took a bus back to Montreal, threw in a few random shirts and pants and shoes into a suitcase, (having the misfortune of packing incorrectly, see below:)

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and made my way to Pierre Trudeau Airport. It was on the bus ride to the airport where I realized what I find most attractive about Montreal boys (and Montreal, in general).

It was the airport bus on a Friday night so it was, expectedly, full. There was this guy, this oh so beautiful French-Canadian boy, who was reading a book of poetry, while leaning against a pole of the bus, looking so melancholic and detached and why do I love boys who look like that, urgh. It was at that moment that I got hit with a sense of homelessness — that while I am going back to the Philippines, I will be leaving my Montreal home and everything that comes with it, the rocks and the trees and the oh-so-pretty hipster boys.

Guess what I’m trying to say is that hot French poetry-reading emo kid really captures everything I love about the city.

***

There’s very little to talk about now regarding the plane trip from Montreal to Vancouver. I sat beside a couple of pleasant old women and had a nice conversation about the difference between French and English Canada.

I arrived in Van a little past midnight. My flight to Hong Kong (again, I thought it was Seoul) was not scheduled ’til 3pm so I decided — I’m in one of Canada’s megacities. On a Friday night. LET’S PARTY.

It didn’t take me very long to figure out where the gay district in Van was. And I was pleasantly surprised to find out there’s a train that goes directly there from the airport. So, luggage in tow, I set off on an adventure.

First thing I noticed in Van, both in the airport and in the train, was the number of Filipino speakers. They’re everywhere. EVERYWHERE. My Duterte-phobia, however, meant I was hesitant to speak to them but it was a lovely stepping stone towards my trip home.

I arrived in the gay district around half an hour later and as soon as I got off the train station, the first thing I saw was this limo and there was a couple of drunk guys inside and a couple of drunk girls running after them. They were yelling something about forty dollars and the next party. Beside me, a group of twenty-somethings emerged from the station, all drunk, all loud, all grinding the air in search for happiness, and it just made me realize:

Somewhere along the way, I became too old.

That’s enough partying for me. I grabbed my suitcase, headed back inside the train station, and made my way back to the airport.

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