NAIA 201: The Sequel to Manila’s International Airport

I hope you weren’t expecting that things got better – cos they don’t. As if I hadn’t had enough of NAIA when I picked up Tiernan in July, I found myself in the waiting area of Terminals 1 & 2 (yeah, it turns out that they are the same place).

It sometimes seems that airports are one of those unavoidable evils. Even if you went out and bought you own plane you would still have to deal with the chaos that is the airport. And in this case the chaos is outrageous. I have been listening to old Rooster Teeth podcasts and I completely agree when Geoff says that you can go to airport filled with 10 000 people and it seems like 99.9% of them have never travelled before. In this case it seems that you can go to an airport waiting area filled with 100 people and 99.9% of those people will immediately forget that they are in publice!

To add fuel to my misery picture this – it’s dark and it’s raining. That Monday evening we were in the midst of a typhoon. This brought traffic to a standstill and flooded mostly everything. I walked around and around Greenbelt mall endeavouring to get a taxi. All the ranks were lined two deep with people and there was practically no order. A taxi would pull up at Greenbelt 4 and get mobbed. Which ever group had the most people could call claim simply by the force of their presence. I ended up getting a cab in an alley near Greenbelt 1. And it was a pretty rusty cab. At least it was water tight and the cabbie looked thrilled when I said I was prepared to pay for the Skyway.

My respect for this guy left me when he wouldn’t drop me at the bottom of the ramp up to the departures of Terminal 2. Needing arrivals I requested to be dropped closer; mistakenly thinking that the rain would draw some compassion. It didn’t. And my shoes and clothes were drenched as I had to walk back down the road (which had become more of a waterfall).

I then had to wait two hours in substandard conditions. Initially in the upstairs area of the NAIA waiting area, but I had to leave due to the overwhelming number of screaming children. One thing I have noticed here is that children run amouk. They can up end rubbish bins, kick foreigners whilst they wriggle about and just plan tear about without a single glance from the parents. I am really sick of telling off other people’s kids. Reminding them that if they want to get passed me they must say excuse me and that no they can’t make a mess and then look about for someone else to clean it up.

Obviously I’d had enough of that. So I opted to stand down stairs. The spot I chose was at the back of some seats, partially in the rain under my umbrella. I chose a spot deliberately because there was no need for anyone to be anywhere near me. Two things happened. First a family of five pushed right up next to me to stand behind their seated grandmother (whom they had also pushed passed me). A dozen empty seats they could have used, but they came to where I was. And not just kind of near me. Like physically putting themselves in my spot without an excuse me or acknowledgment of my presence. Not going to lie to you, I may have deliberately accidently bopped someone with my umbrella.

I did say there were two things. The second was some little kid came right up next to me, dropped his pants, and peed of the curb. This wasn’t some tiny child who couldn’t hold it or ask for a bathroom. This kid had to be at least 6 years old. And this curb wasn’t near a drain or a discreet corner. Nope, full on facing the stalls and the carpark. And then! And THEN! his parent praised him like a good little boy!

When Mum finally came through I was so glad to be out of there.

I wish I had something nice to say about Manila today. But it is just beyond words.


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