#RPintheRP: A Travelogue

Are Montreal boys hotter because they’re hotter or are they hotter because they speak in French and I don’t understand French so I always think they’re talking about the meaning of life and the essence of love when they can be speaking about something as mundane as a sandwich? We will never find out.

***

I spent the rest of the night at the airport, charging my devices, talking to the boys of Van via Grindr. Around 8 or 9 in the morning, the counters were open and I decided to get my boarding pass to Seoul (HONG KONG!)

It was then — and only then — when speaking to an immigration officer that I found out I wasn’t connecting in Seoul but rather in Hong Kong. And, as mentioned previously, Hong Kong does NOT allow people with no passports to connect. The officer had to then refer me to ticketing to see if I could get an alternate ticket home.

This began my maddening scavenger hunt all over Vancouver airport. I spoke to ticketing, who said that as I had used one leg of my trip (MTL to VAN), I could not be refunded any portion nor could any part of it be changed. I had to book a direct flight home. PAL had a direct flight, but it wasn’t leaving til tomorrow. (It was a lot shorter though and I would end up losing just around 8 hours, mostly negligible time.)

Just as I booked another ticket via PAL, I was told my return trip would be cancelled  because I did not fulfill the itinerary to the letter and — yeah, yeah, yeah.

After a very long day of speaking to call centers, ticketing clerks, immigration officers, airline supervisors, Barbie, the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa, the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver, I finally managed to sort everything out. (My acting skills came in handy: “Miss, I’m very poor and I don’t know what to do. I’m about to crrrryyyy.”) I had to buy a new ticket home, leaving around 2am the next day (and got the clerk who issued me the Travel Document to be reprimanded — sorry, ate!) but thankfully my return trip was secure. I could come back to Montreal. Wheeeeew.

A lot of moving parts I said. I was exhausted.

***

It was then that I realized friends from Clarenville, Newfoundland have moved to Vancouver. I quickly messaged Eis and Nena saying I was here

We went out, had dinner, (I even managed to snag a shower at their place!), and saw a little bit of Van. You know, Van is an underrated city, IMO. You have Canada’s three megacities in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Toronto is the sister in business formal power suit, hair tied neatly in a bun, carrying a file case or a clipboard, while Montreal is the artsy younger sister, barefoot and wearing a flower crown, who listens to indie pop and takes part in performance art. Van is — Van is a bit more complex. Van is the sister who may seem a bit of a recluse, but is high functioning. She wears sun dresses but she wears combat boots. She’s the sister whose job you’re not quite sure of and you swear you’ve seen her in a party somewhere and while she lacks Toronto’s ambition or Montreal’s gaiety, she more than makes up for it with her versatility.

 

***

So anyway, MANILA!

The plane ride was relatively uneventful. At this point, I have been in Vancouver for the better part of 30 hours, I haven’t had any real sleep for arguably three days, my airport shenanigans took its toll on me, so I was pretty much comatose on the flight.

I did sit with a cute gentleman who says he hasn’t been home in over ten years. His face bore scars of a recent accident. He told me, later on, that he was in a bike race and that someone behind him missed a mark, causing five riders to go into a collision. (The biggest irony being that the person who caused the accident would go on to finish the race, while the rest had to be sent to the hospital.)

He also showed me pictures of him and his kids dressed up for Halloween as the Justice League. Ah. The joys of parenthood and the joys of the people you meet on a plane ride.

“You know, Riley,” he told me. “we can say so many things about the Philippines. But you gotta admit. It’s good to be home.”

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