The Long Way Home
Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
134Trip End Jan 12, 2010
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Where I stayed
Dan & Jo's House for Breakfast
The first flight went well, we flew over the island of Palawan, which looked stunning from above, turquoise sea, white beaches. As we flew into Manila we entered a cloud of smog and saw the shanty towns from the air. We've heard bad things about the capital city, so we were happy to stay in the airport, grab some lunch and then board our second flight down to Cebu.
The flight was delayed for an hour, but we weren't in much of a hurry. When we landed in Cebu's Mactan airport we popped up to the Qatar Airways office to confirm our flights back to London. Somehow we managed to end up on the wrong side of security, so our bags were inside with the lady from the classy Plantation Bay Resort and we were outside surrounded by men with guns. Thankfully the lady came out and found us and put us in a taxi to the resort !
We decided to have one final night of luxury before heading home, a classy full stop at the end of 10 months of adventure. We chose Plantation Bay as it is close to the airport. When we checked in they gave us a map, so we knew we were in for a treat ! The resort is well thought out, like a little colonial town mixed with a Disneyland feel. We had a huge room overlooking a clean saltwater lagoon. We swam and watched the sun set and light the sky in pastel shades. Dinner was a pig roast with a Hawaiian dancing show!
Tuesday 12th January.
We started the day in style with a continental breakfast overlooking the lagoon before packing up to check-out at noon. We had lunch in the lagoon-side cafe before getting a taxi to the airport. We checked in and sat around playing cards until 6pm when we boarded.
We had a 10 hour flight to Doha, then a 2 hour wait. We tried to pretend we were on UK time, "It's only 9pm" we told each other, but in Doha it was midnight and our bodies were on Philippines time: 5am !!
We tried to sleep on the 7 hour flight to London, but we were over-tired and excited. Thankfully Qatar Airways entertainment is brill, so many films to choose from. Our favourite was 'Cloudy with a chance of meatballs' - adorable and funny!
As we got closer to the UK, the pilot told us that Gatwick was closed due to snow - we were a bit shocked, it was supposed to rain. So we landed, on time, in Heathrow, which suited us. They kept us on the plane for the next hour as they decided whether to take off again and go to Gatwick ... in the end they let us off, but due to the number of redirected long haul flights the baggage hall was in chaos. We finally got our bags and got down to the tube, topped up our oyster cards and went to Hammersmith (we passed Paul's old office). We were both surprised and delighted by the amount of snow, London looked so beautiful. We were less impressed as we waited for the bus down to Wandsworth, especially when the driver terminated the bus early and we had to wait for another.
Exhausted we finally knocked on Dan and Jo's door at 11am, we'd been awake for about 35 hours ! After big hugs and excited chatter (and looking and both Jo's and my engagement rings!) Dan cooked us a massive fry-up; Cheesey beans, bacon, sausages, hash browns, portobello mushrooms, toast, proper tea with milk and real orange juice - no sugar added.
At 2pm we hopped onto a 44 (the bus I used to take to work) and got to Victoria Coach station in time for our 3pm bus up to Milton Keynes. As soon as we sat down we fell asleep.
Paul's dad picked us up and drove us through the snow to a warm welcome and a yummy shepherd's pie. We made it to 7pm before falling into bed for a deep sleep under our 10 tog duvet.