From not being able to travel all her life, to hopping on a plane jetting towards a different continent, with about 40 hours worth of travel in between… this is the story of how Joyce, in all her then-unfulfilled dreams of long-haul flights to beautiful cities, survived and came through stronger (and with lots of photos in tact that she's about to show you now!).
This is how it went.
After almost 40 hrs of travel, Manila to Taipei to Amsterdam to finally, Mexico - I got held up at the immigration (where the attendants offered no explanation and just returned my passport after keeping me in a room for about 20 minutes) then again at the x-ray/inspection on the way to my supposed connecting domestic flight to Puerto Vallarta - this time claiming I was not allowed to bring majority of my toiletries (which, by the way, went through all of these previous countries already without ado). Almost an hour worth of delay after, one missed flight and all of my colleagues and friends out, I was alone in an airport, trying to figure out the next possible flight (the next day, at 12 noon), currency (Mexican peso - I miss home), lodging for the night (Hotel Grand Prix, where only the bellboy spoke English) and everything else in between - there I was, sitting alone in a hotel room in the middle of (well, actually, it was a corner lot) Mexico City at 12 midnight.
I could be complaining, and I was - to a friend at home who had to be my sponge whilst I angrily stomped through the unfamiliar, cold, floors of the airport, trying to figure out communicating amidst the terrible language barrier (not many people I encountered spoke English) in all my lucid tiresomeness / jet lag. But there is something about being left behind and lost that just feels so familiar and at home, to me.
In all of my travels and experiences, I have always believed that life does not come in random coincidences but rather in orchestrated, everyday little miracles that are either to break or bond you. So there I was - 8, 479 miles from home: left in an acclaimed dangerous city, away from everyone I assumed I was supposed to be with - and still I feel safe. In my skin, my bones; in my Father’s assurance, in my natural ability as a human to cope and survive.
After all that hullabaloo, I woke up the next day and walked around Mexico city by myself. It was quite scary, as everyone warned me - but the churros man (who sold me churros, no dip, with hot coffee,) and other strangers on the street were actually quite friendly. The weather was surprisingly cool (like HongKong in December) and the streets were busy filled with rushing commuters and parents tugging on their kids to rush them in before bells ring. After maybe an hour or two of wandering, I walked back to my hotel and got the service going to the airport to catch my 12nn flight to Puerto Vallarta where my colleagues were.
I spent a day on the beach and just lounging around my hotel room since I didn't get to catch the ferry to the private island where everyone was. At night, we met for dinner on the beach and then the next day, we went on a 6-hour bus ride to catch the Tequila Express train ride to the hometown of Jose Cuervo, Tequila, Jalisco.
Later on, lots of dancing, Mexican dinner with tequila pairing, some live karaoke and late night tacos after, we were done for the day.