Saturday, October 22, 2005

Panic packing

Only intense pressure at the eleventh hour can make me tick in packing up my things for any trip I take and this had always worked for me in the past but last week the system failed. I knew the trip I was going to make was to be an exemption from all other out-of town trips I’ve taken because I was leaving the boarding house which has become my haven for the past three years for good.

Our flight for Manila was scheduled at 7 a.m. on Tuesday last week. On Monday evening I went to NCCC mall to buy a bath towel and other necessary items, lined up at several counters to pay for my purchases while the precious time I should have spent doing final packing ticked by.
Minutes later, I was frantically stuffing things into my luggage bag, knowing that my choices were either to take them or leave them behind, never to see them again. My sentimentality won, and I had a hard time trying to coax the zippers to close as my luggage bag was loaded with unnecessary items.

My cellphone kept on ringing, messages flew in and I was getting irritated because I was under intense pressure. I should have been wise enough to turn it off or turn the ringer to silent mode to be able to concentrate on the task at hand. Multiple messages came from Grace, chiding me for still not showing up when the despedida party they were holding was for me.
When the clock struck midnight,I was almost finished but still had to deliver a roll of newspapers to columnist Jojie Alcantara at her house. Thanks for buddy Jun who came to the rescue and delivered me in his motorcycle.

At 4 a.m. I was still in Lanang, groggy with all the drinks the group plied on me since we went bar hopping when Celina texted she was going to fetch me from the boarding house. I barely made it home before she arrived stopped by and caught struggling with the huge luggage bag down the 12 steps of stairs.

Domestic flights passengers were only allowed 20 kilos of baggage and mine totaled 30 kilos. I painfully paid P367 from my wallet for the excess 10 kilos. I had to drag my super-heavy luggage bag over to the second floor of the tenement where Kuya Ariel, hubby of news editor Gigie lives in camp Crame that day and drag it across the hallways and down the stairs again the next morning.

I texted my younger brother in Marikina to come and save me from the excess baggage but changed my mind when we were informed that international flights allow us to check in 70 pounds of baggage.
I wondered what made my baggage too heavy but I dared not open it because it require me two weeks to put it back together. I hate to remember the agony I went through in dragging the heavy luggage all over the Ninoy Aquino International Airport until I was finally able to check it in.
Whew, relief!

The Customs in Palau answered the puzzle. They are not equipped with x-rays and had to literally and manually inspect all items in your suitcases, and I mean EVERY item. The Custom official took everything out, shook my clothes and blankets and jeans and scrutinized all items, including underwears while everybody looks on. It made me cringe inside but was hardly able to suppress my laughter when I realized that I forgot to change the five and 10 peso coins, and more loose change totaling to almost P400 from my alkansya to bills. I couldn’t put them in the garbage can, so I have no choice but to stand watch as the huge Customs official tore through the newspaper wrapping and saw my loot.
I also brought a stuffed monkey curtain hugger (couldn’t leave him behind as he held my curtains for the past two years), books, and an odd assortment of objects no sensible traveler would ever think of carrying.