What am I doing?!

WowPhilippines Gift Delivery in the Philippines

Prior to going to the Philippines in May 2009, I had left my home country only three times. Twice to attend an adult entertainment club when I was 19, and once by accident. Yes, I said accident. The Detroit roads and signs aren’t quite as good as you would think. Lost, stolen, or otherwise absent, a sign stating that entering the duty-free area would require a trip to Canada was not present. So, due to my friends desire for some duty free booze, we ended up in Canada long enough to turn around and come back across. The Border Patrol Agents at the gates thought it was the funniest thing they ever heard. Apparently, I was the first idiot to do this, or at the very least, admit it. I simply felt no need or desire to leave the country of my birth, for any reason. Everyone knew my feelings on the matter.

I ended up in Canada

I ended up in Canada

So, when I was introduced to a lovely Filipina through a friends Aunt, it was shocking to my friends and family that I would simply pack my bags and fly off to a country 8,000 miles away to meet a woman I had only spoken with on the phone and through Yahoo Messenger. Ok… it wasn’t that easy. I needed a passport, time off from work, and an airplane ticket. Once that was accomplished, I waited for my vacation time to begin, and without hesitation I flew. And I flew. And I flew. Did I mention I flew? Why is the Philippines so darn far away?

So after what seems like an eternity we land in this large plane filled to capacity with people. But wait, I’m not in the Philippines yet. I’m in Japan. And guess what? The bird flu is in high gear here! So, as we all stay patiently sitting in our seats a large crew of men and women in white suits(not a leisure suit or a zoot suit) think more like biohazard suit, board the plane. One row at a time, one aisle at a time they walk menacingly through the plane. Pointing a device that looks similar to a video camera at each and every one of us. What is this? Face recognition software looking for criminals? Nope, it seems they are looking for people with a fever. Did they find anyone? Yes. Yes they did. In fact, the guy was sitting three rows in front of my assigned seat. Am I freaking out? Nope. You see, before our flight departed, I was asked by a young lady if I would be willing to switch seats and sit on the other side of the plane so that she could sit with her friends. Thankfully, I complied with her request. What did it get me? Off the plane! Our side of the plane was allowed to depart, while their side was forced to stay on board. Mind you, I’m not wishing the bird flu on her or anyone else, but I had already been on that plane for 12 hours and I needed off! Did I forget to mention I’m claustrophobic? Yes, I’m claustrophobic. That makes for long trips on a small cylindrical tube with sticks on the side a little less fun. Oh yeah, and I hate heights! Are you rolling on the floor laughing yet? It gets better, so keep reading.

Airport Shower in Japan

Airport Shower in Japan

I depart the plane and head for what I know to exist. You see, I’ve done my research, and know that there is a shower that can be rented for $6usd. I don’t intend on showing up to meet my new bride-to-be in person for the first time all sweaty and dirty. The shower at the airport was the nicest and cleanest shower I have EVER used. And while I don’t travel, I like my showers and use them wherever I go. This one seemed to have just been finished by the finest craftsmen in the country. It seemed to say, I’m new and waiting for you and you alone. It was seemingly never touched my human hands after its creation. Of course, I know this not to be the case, but it was a nice shower. Anyway, I shower, change clothes, get ready for my great appearance in the Philippines.

I finish my preparation, and head for my gate. I don’t want to miss my flight to Manila after all! I purchased a bottle of water at a stand right in front of the gate and drink a couple of sips. Boarding time has begun! I’m almost first! Why? Because I’m sitting all the way in the back! I get in line and wait my turn. “Sorry sir, you can not take that water on board with you”. What? I just bought this right there. “Yes, I’m sorry sir you can not take that on board the plane with you”, was repeated. Ok. I’m not going to start a riot over a bottle of water. So, I drink down half and toss the rest into the trash. Ah… I see the gangway. “Excuse me sir, would you mind if we pat search you and have you take off your boots” I have to admit, they are the nicest people to ever ask me to invade my personal space. I kindly oblige the young lady and they pat me down. They even have a chair handy for me to sit down while I take off my shoes. How nice of them! In Detroit, where I am from, you’re lucky if they have clean floors so your socks don’t become encrusted with the filth of the streets. I complete my process and board the plane. I’m sitting WAY in the back, which I find to be AWESOME! Why? Two seats wide, more space. I mentioned I’m claustrophobic, but I’m also not a small man. Think out of shape power lifter, which is basically what I am. The plane departs and we arrive on time. Amazingly, since we circled Japan for an hour before landing.

WowPhilippines Gift Delivery in the Philippines

The plane makes its way to the gangway and it is extended out to greet us. The door opens, and I am smacked in the face!!! Not literally, but with the heat and humidity. It begins! The journey, the experience, and the sweating! Remember, I’m from the Detroit area, and it’s May 2009. It’s still relatively cold where I live. So, now I’m thinking… “what am I doing”? This place is hot as heck and I’m surely going to die from heat exhaustion!! Wow! Is my shirt wet already? I still have to get my luggage from the overhead carrier. I wait, so as not to offend anyone in case my shower in Japan isn’t long lasting. Luggage down, I disembark. I follow the crowd of people like ants in a maze. Routed here and there. No rhyme or reason to our movements. There’s a lot of construction, so maybe that’s why. Or are they going to a place that I shouldn’t be. I stop thinking and become one of the herd. Do ants travel in herds? Anyway, after realizing I am the only white guy in the crowd, standing at about 6’0″ tall and weighing about 3 times the weight of anyone around me, I quickly come to the conclusion that I have become entertainment for all Filipinos within eyesight. (I found out days later that I apparently look like a professional wrestler that is well known in the Philippines) I arrive at what looks like a luggage carousel. Sure enough, people that were on my plane are standing around waiting for their packages. I met a nice guy while standing there. An OFW returning from Florida(I think) to his family. He asks me how many boxes I have. Boxes? I have two pieces of luggage. “What, no boxes”? No, I tell him. Why? “Oh, everyone coming to the Philippines brings back boxes full of things for their family. He has a multitude of them. He waits with me until I get my luggage. The last ones off. I expect nothing less. (It’s the story of my life) He tells me where I need to go, and I follow him. He goes through with his HUGE pile of boxes, and wishes me luck. I get to customs, and my passport is stamped. The officer says to me, “Have a nice day”. “That’s it? No questions? No debriefing? No interrogation?”  He says, “nope, you’re free to go”. Holy crap. That was easy. Now what?

I’m supposed to meet them out by letter “S” for Scott. I don’t see any letters anywhere. Just a big sign with half the alphabet on it. Well, there is an “s” on it. I think I’m in the right spot. Then I hear it. “Scott, hello” “Welcome to the Philippines”. I look around to find where the voice is coming from, and there she stands. My lovely asawa! She is everything and more than I hoped, and our time together and our adventures over the next ten days will be ones that will forever be embedded into my mind, aging as it may be. Thus began the start of a beautiful relationship!

I look forward to writing more articles to describe my trip, my marriage and life together, and our plans to move to the Philippines in 2013, as well as any odd U.S. stories I think you might enjoy. My life has become an adventure into the unknown. An adventure I hope that stays as exciting as the day we met until I make my way through to the other side.

Until next week, Paalam, ingat, and God bless.

Post Author: Scott Fortune (60 Posts)

At the time of this writing, I am 42 years old. I’ve been married to my Filipina wife since December 2009. She is from the Province of Pangasinan, Philippines. I was born and raised in the Metro Detroit area in Michigan. I’ve worked in many fields throughout my short career, mostly in Architecture, computers, and law enforcement. I’m medically retired from the U.S. Government due to a back injury and look forward to our move to the Philippines. My interests here were yard work, guns, and hanging out with friends. But because of my back injury, I’ve had to shorten what I can do to just hanging out with friends. Not a bad thing when you’re retired, right!? Also, I’m sure I’ll find some new interests when I get to the RP. We don’t yet know where we will be moving to exactly, but I expect it to be on the main island of Luzon. I look forward to moving there, getting healthier, and experiencing island life.


Comments

  1. Paul Thompson says

    Scott;
    Very funny and entertaining style of writing you have, I’m looking forward to your next post. The adventure is forever here in the Philippines and I look forward to every day to see what will happen next.
    Now to answer your question:
    The great distance between the Philippines and the United States servers a useful purpose, it keeps a Continent and a large Ocean between me and my ex-wife in North Carolina. Also I prefer living on Islands as I have a strong fear of width.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Paul, I want to first thank you for your kind words. Second, I understand keeping a distance between ex-wives. While this is my first marriage, most of my friends have been through a couple and prefer their ex’s to be out of state. Out of country would be a blessing for them too, I am sure!

      As for having a fear of width, if we meet, it better be after I’ve lost some weight!! LOL!!!

      Be safe and enjoy life everyday!!

  2. Manny says

    Hi Scott,
    great article and one I can relate too. First I want to say I wish you the best with your asawa ko and your move to the Philippines. You see like yourself I was not intending on leaving or be living abroad let alone having a long distance relationship. But as it happens you meet someone, you get to know that person, then you want to meet her in person, which I did in Nov of 2008 after getting aquainted with her since Apr of 2008. I wanted to meet her because I wanted to make sure that what I was feeling over the phone and Yahoo IM conversations, were real as much for myself as for her. Sure enough it was and the 7 days that first trip was to short and found myself aching in my heart when I headed back home to New Jersey. Anyways, I have been back 6 times since that first trip, with the last trip being in Nov of 2010, and found the Philippines a place where I can live, but obvisously in reading the many articles on LIP, need to prepare on how to sustain an income there. Being as I’m a little ways from retiring, right now just saving and making sure I will be able to maintain a source of income when we do move there. The reason why we are not together yet is because my wife to be was married to an American who abandon her and their daughter when she was 2 months old, the daughter who now sees me as her father since I have known her since she was 1 1/2 years old. Anyways, we have been working on her annulment for the last two years now with what seems to be the finally of this whole process this coming week, which I’m happy for. Then I can petition them both through a fianace Visa. This annulment process has had its ups and downs as with many other processes in the Philippines as I have read here from other LIP writers and their experiences, that I might just write about it here, once I speak Bob about it. I know Bob was looking for more LIP writers not to long ago. I have a few things to write about especially in my travels to the Philippines, despite I don’t live there permanently, and I know for those that have written that it’s not the same just visiting as it is living there. Anyways, most of my experiences have been good and some, not bad ones, but I can relate to those LIP writers who live in the Philippines and the experiences they have gone through. That will be another time. Anyways Scott. all the best to you and your asawa ko. :)

    • Scott Fortune says

      Manny, I don’t know anything about the annulment process you’re going through, but based on what I’ve read about Filipino bureaucracy, I’m sure it has been an uphill battle! I too found love where I didn’t expect it, and while many people near me don’t understand it all, they are happy for me. I wish you the best in your processes, and please feel free to contact me anytime. If I can offer some kind of advice, I would be happy to. It would, of course, be only from my personal experiences, as I am not a professional in this type of thng.

      Be wishes to you and your asawa as well!

      Scott

  3. David says

    Scott

    Excellent article. Having traveled the world for the last 30 years, I can tell you, it doesn’t change the length of the trip. Long, long, long. I first visited RP in April 2009, and learned quickly that it doesn’t cool down in Pagasinan until rainy season starts June. I was married in Feb 2010 in San Nicolas at 1000 am, as the locals new that I would melt if I were out in the sun at noon. My routing coming back to the US wasn’t the best, Manila-Guam-Honolulu-Houston-Tampa. I will always remember my new asawa looking at me between Guam & Hawaii and telling me, “You didn’t tell me it was this far!” We made a visit in 2011, and I assure you, the trip is no shorter. I too, plan to retire in RP, but not until 2014, so I will be watching your transition and seeking advice.

    • Scott Fortune says

      David, I am dreading this last flight becuase of the injuries to my back I have received since going there last. Sitting, or standing for that length of time is going to be very difficult. I only hope it is THE LAST time I have to fly such a long distance. I’ve even considered breaking it up into multiple lay-overs. But, I think I would simply be prolonging my pain. Pain meds and sleeping will hopefully help reduce my in-flight suffering. First class would be nice, but then, with the price difference, I could buy a van, tricycle, and piece of land for that money! I’ll deal with it, and it’ll be in an article in the future. I expect a couple of days recovery in a bed with my feet propped up. It’s a good thing I’ll be in the philippines… lot’s of loving filipinos/filipinas to help me out if I’m in need.

    • PapaDuck says

      David,
      I’ll be taking the same route back to Tampa when i come back from my trip in Oct-Nov. I also will be retiring in 2014 in the month of July. I live in the Bradenton area. Really looking forward to leaving on Oct 19th. Will be in the Cavite area. Take care and good luck.

  4. Mike says

    Enjoyed your article, Scott, and always enjoy the articles Bob and Paul write and the comments that follow. My first trip to Philippines was in 1970, afterwhich I lived there for a total of 10 years spread over four assignments while stationed there during my Navy days and I go back every few years while the wife goes back almost every year. We have a home in Quezon City and we purchased a lot in Tagaytay to build our retirement home for when we move there in 2015 (sooner if possible but given the stock market and housing market plunges we need to save more before making the move). Looking forward to reading more of your adventures, as your style of writing is pleasant on the eyes. Cheers!

    • Scott Fortune says

      Mike, my brother was in the Philippines numerous times while in the navy, and he hever told me of the women, or way of life there. Of course, it may have been because he experienced subic bay and the go-go bars(or whatever they call them). I will say that had I known how wonderful the people were years ago, I might be there already. But, there is always a plan in motion, we just need to follow the path given us. Mine led me to my wife, and I am happy I found her.

      Good luck with your move in 2015, or sooner!!!!

      Scott

      • peterjoy says

        HI SCOTT

        Thanks for a good posting mate ok u are a man after my own heart and like u mate i went 6.000 km from my home land too be with my dear wife to be and i am longing to read the rest off ur story ok dont take too long in puting it down ok as i canot wait to read it….peter martin tassie

  5. Jaime says

    Scott, you must be a Cancer. Your comment: “I get my luggage. The last ones off. I expect nothing less. (It’s the story of my life),” reminds me of the drummer in a band my brother played in.

    Joe the drummer did astrological charts, and he was a cancer, like me. So I asked Joe, What can you tell me about us cancers? And he replied: We cancers are the first people to be at the end of an unemployment line.

    • Scott Fortune says

      I don’t really follow the astrological signs, so I looked them up. Apparently, I was supposed to be a Sagitarius becasue of the due date. However, I was late coming into this world, and am a Capricorn. So, should I follow the sign of the Sagitarius, or that of the Capricorn?

      Either way, I wait in line for EVERYTHING!

      Have a great day!!

      Scott

  6. Ricardo Sumilang says

    The Czech and scholar, Ferdinand Blumentritt, a close confidant of Jose Rizal, was an expert on the Philippines and wrote extensively about the country although he never set foot on its soil. He also translated Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere into German. For a foreigner like Blumentritt to capture in his translation the essence and spirit of the Noli as Rizal had intended required, first of all, a great love for the Philippines and the Filipino people. I am reminded of this great man each time I come across a foreigner who exhibits a great understanding of the nuances of Filipino culture and speaks about the country as though he’d lived there all his life. Of such people, I am in awe.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Ricardo, I am unsure if you are trying to say that you think I understand Filipino culture in the way someone that you greatly respect does, but if you are then I am greatly humbled. I don’t try to imply that I understand it, only that I WANT to understand it and to grow with that understanding. I am comign to the Philippines with the idea and mindset of integrating myself into the Filipino culture, rather than to integrate them into mine.

      Thank you for your kind words.

  7. donna west says

    Wonderfully funny story Scott. You are a very good writer and I always look forward to your stories. In my 65 years of living, I have never been out of the USA. Barely out of the state where I was born. I am still living here in Missouri but my heart is in the Philippines. No, I havent been there yet either. but when I do finally board that big bird for the long gruelling 8000 mile trip, it will be forever and most likely I will never return to America. I have never been on an airplane before in my life so it will be a true adventure of a lifetime. I hope I will be able to put my words as beautifully phrased as yours as I want to share this big adventure with others and maybe if Bob will have me I can be a writer on LIP also. keep up the good work Scott and I am sure God will give you the strength to make the trip again just like He is going to give me the strength to drag my old bones onto that plane. Afterall, its in our hearts so we will “get er done”.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Donna, I sincerely hope that you find the courage and strength to “drag your old bones” on the plane and take the trip!! Missouri, huh? I’ve been there. I have family there too. Tiny little town located just east of Houston, in county of Texas, Missouri. I almost died the first time I saw that! Very funny. Missourians must realy love Texas! Anybody thinking I’m making this up, please take a look on the map, it’s a real place. I don’t really know any of my family from that area. I met them once, and I haven’t seen them since. They’re from the side of my family, we don’t associate with. :) Not that there is anything wrong with them, because I don’t know them, but we lost touch when my parents divorced when I was just a small toddler. Man, I’ve become such a downer!!!

      In all seriousness Donna, make the trip. The warmth of the people there will warm your heart and the heat will warm your old bones too. You’ll feel much better!! I’m told the beaches have miracles healing powers for arthritis and sore backs like mine. I can’t wait to jump on that plane and head out!

      Scott

  8. Robert says

    Hi Scott,
    You have good humor and I’ve enjoyed reading this. My story is much like yours, only 16 years earlier. I was 42 when I decided to make the trip from Minnesota to meet someone I’d only written and talked to on the phone and it was my first time out of the US. Our 19th wedding anniversary is coming up at the end of this month and I still remember, like yesterday, meeting her at the airport in Manila. I also won’t forget the first blast of heat and humidity when I stepped outside, along with the unique smells.

    We also have plans to make the move when I retire in a couple years. Twenty years ago I would’ve never imagined moving overseas to live in the the tropics but for some reason I really am drawn there and not just for my wife’s sake. I really feel at home there, more with each visit.

    It’s funny that you describe people looking at you because you’re a big guy. I’m not that big, 5’9/165 pounds when we were married in ’93 and for the first time in my life I felt like big guy, although they still could beat me in basketball!

    I’ll look forward to your next writing.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Robert, Thank you for the kind words. I am glad you have enjoyed reading my article. I was wondering how my articles were being received, and even asked Bob what he thought. I was worried that they would not be as accepted as the other articles I enjoy reading so much.

      My first communication with my wife was by telephone, a setup through her aunt here in Michigan. She spoke very softly, and very little. I soon found out that most Filipinas are very shy at first. Our next communications were through the internet via Yahoo IM, which was great because it allowed us to see each other and talk at the same time. We did some old fashioned snail-mail as well, which is always nice even in this day of technology.

      It doesn’t take much to be bigger than most filipinos in size, but their hearts are huge, and their welcome overwhelming.

      Enjoy your retirement when it is time. And get to the Philippines ASAP!

  9. says

    They call me big too, I’m barely 5 foot 3 and 130 pounds. I nearly get into cat fights in the mall sometimes when those smug little sales ladies suggest I buy an extra large size. Nice little story and looking forward to more!

  10. Scott Fortune says

    Stacey, you are too funny! I can see you scrapping it out with a saleslady over a proper shirt size!!! My wife would do the same. An insult!!!! HOW DARE SHE!? I’m sure you took your business where they had a sales lady that wasn’t in need of glasses and could see that you were not such a size!!

    And I’ll bet they just lost a customer too! Where are they!? I won’t shop there either!

  11. says

    better than ok….they are wonderful….maybe when i get there you will accept my adventure in moving to the philippines articles in LIP…i only hope theyre at least half as good as scotts….love that man

  12. says

    Hi Scott – I enjoy your humorous style of writing, so I’m waiting in anticipation for the next 12 episodes of your journey and experiences in the Philippines. One point though I’m sure you collected your luggage after you cleared immigration hence reason to stamp your passport. Perhaps the excitement of meeting your future asawa blurred your memory a little.
    Carry on writing.
    Regards.
    Jim.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Jim,

      Actually, I didn’t speak or talk to anyone until after I had my luggage. Then, I went to one guy, he checked my passport, stamped it, and I was on my way.

  13. john says

    Hello
    i just wanted to say how much i enjoy reading. its kinda close to my heart as i live in warren e will be gettin married to a beautiful filipina in a couple months. good luck e i look forward to reading more.

    • Scott Fortune says

      John, do you live in Warren Michigan? Good luck with your marriage, they are very special ladies.

  14. Mitch says

    Funny about crossing into Canada, I was sent to the southern border to put an alarm in at a US Customs building. Reading my map, it showed the street I needed was the very last one going south. When I got to where I thought the turn should be, all there was, was a big block wall. I missed that little detail on the map! The man at the check point maybe 40′ farther said welcome to Mexico! It took me 2+ hours waiting in line to get back to the USA. Same thing happened to me, the US guard just laughed and told me how to get to the building…….

    • Scott Fortune says

      Mitch, I’m glad I’m not the only one that left the country on accident!! or at least, not the only one afraid to admit it! I laughed when I read your story because I could relate so well. Except, I am thankful that the line to get into the U.S. was shorter on the Canadian side. Especially since we were all on our lunch break from work at the time!!! It was Conco de Mayo and we had gone to mexican town by the Ambassador Bridge to Canada for a real mexican lunch!

      As for your leaving in 21 days, that is just mean! LOL! I’m glad you’re leaving so soon. When you get there, tell everyone at the airport I’m coming, and to please not be so confusing with the herding fences.

      Ingat my friend!

  15. Gary M says

    Scott, welcome aboard and I sure enjoyed reading your article today. I too will look forward to reading your future posts especially as you make your move to the Philippines. Being married to a Filipina makes you one of the luckiest men in the world, at least from my perspective and personal experience. Night and day difference from my previous “American” now Ex-wife….

  16. Bob New York says

    Hi Scott,
    Nice article about your first journey to The Philippines. On my first visit I had to fly New York to Anchorage to Taipei to Manila and then to Cagayan De Oro, Mindanao. The longest series of flights I had ever taken. You mention waiting and waiting and waiting at the luggage carousel ? On my first visit I did the same but my luggage never showed up ! The airline had lost it somewhere in Taipei. I found the appropriate customer service counter for the airline and put in a claim. I arrived at my destination, Iligan, City with only my small carry on and what ever I was wearing. It was not so much my clothes I was annoyed about as I could get some new ones the next day although selecting and buying clothes is not one of my favorite things , especially on vacation. I had Pasalubongs in my luggage for friends I was going to meet in person for the first time and it kind of annoyed me if they never turned up. Fortunately however 3 days later my luggage arrived at my hotel all intact and with nothing missing.

    I just found some good news for many of us in the USA and other major cities of the world. Philippine Airlines is purchasing a new fleet of Boeing 777-300 aircraft and has just uploaded a video describing Direct Non-Stop flights from places such as New York, London and other major cities to Manila ! As far as I know there are no regularly scheduled flights from New York to any part of The Philippines. Although the distance does not change, the annoyance of changing flights, time consuming transfers etc. in the near future could be a thing of the past in the near future.

    Here is a link to the Philippine Airline Youtube Video, uploaded within the last day or two. This sounds very encouraging !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWubwjAhlbs&feature=player_embedded

    Thanks for a great read Scott, I look forward to your next article.

    • Scott Fortune says

      BOB NY, I watched the You-tube video. It looks like they’re really planning on doing some serious expanding! But, I’m not sure I could handle a straight 15 hour flight from NY to Manila. The 12 hour one to Japan just about did me in. Of course, one more flight is all I need, and I’ll be a happy camper! One way tickets!! I can’t wait. About another year and I’ll be in the warmth, looking for a new place to live and experiencing the Philippine life. Fresh coconut water(never had it) and some kang kong cooked perfectly by my mother-in-law.

  17. DanielY says

    Scott,

    You have the most essentail requirement for anyone (Expat or Balikbayan/Returnee) to have a high probability of being satisfied, living in the Philippines – A sense of humor and acceptance of the vagaries of life.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Excellent!! I am not close to there, but have been there before for business purposes. Good luck with your marriage! Are you planning on moving to the Philippines as well?

  18. Larry Saum says

    Hi Scott;
    I liked your description of your long-long-long flight to the PI. You proabably took the same flight path I and my wife went on in 2011, our most recent one. We flew from Indianapolis, changed to a big 747-400 in Detroit, and then changed again in Japan. I sprung the extra $200 each for our Delta Airlines Coach Comfort Seats, They give you a couple extra inches between the seats, and put you on the Priority boarding list. Did I mention that I am 69 years old, 6 ft. 2, and 230 pounds? I get bumped on the shoulder everytime someone walks down the airplane isle. After a few hours those seats felt like there were marbles in the cushions. I slept some, but every hour I had to get up for the usual trip to the lavatory, part of having an enlarged prostate they tell me. I stood up a while after each trip. I also stand out anytime I go walking in the PI, especially in their shopping malls. My wife is 4 foot 9 and wishes she could have some of my height.

    My first trip to the Philippines was in July 1965 when the US Navy flew me there from my home in Lima, Ohio; to catch my aircraft carrier, the USS Ticonderoga, for Vietnam war duty. The Navy had a standard snafu, because they first flew me to Hawaii, and got me there 2 days after the ship left there. I then had to wait in a wooden non-airconditioned holding barracks for a couple of days for a flight to Subic, their next port. I was on a two hour standby status and couldn’t leave the base for my first visit to Hawaii. They flew me into Clark AFB, and when I got off the plane, I almost fell down the outdoors stairs from the airplane when I hit the heat and humidity. Then I got bused to Subic, in an un-airconditioned Navy blue bus, and was put in another un-airconditioned barracks. They assigned me to Shore Patrol in Olongapo, while I waited a week or more for my ship to arrive. When it did, I was boated out to it, since it didn’t even tie up to a pier, and three days later we were in Vietnam waters. Thus my intro to the PI. I could never have guessed then that now I would be married almost 40 years to my Filipino wife, and would travel to and from the Philippines by air about a dozen times since.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Larry, your trip sounds much like mine. Excpet, the aircrew seemed afraid of me. I understand, as I am an intimidating presence. Plus, me walking down the aisles didn’t seem like a good thing for the other passengers so I stood near the back of the plane. Which, of course, happened to be right next to the door. THe airline crew cotninued to tell me I could not stand there. I would simply go back to my seat, and wait until I could no longer handle sitting again, and go back to the back of the plane again until told to leave the area, again. I guess I could have shown them my government ID and it would have eased their tension, but I never did. I was nothing special, but enough that I think they would have let me stand there without being paranoid.

      Your first trip sounds like an ordeal I would NOT like to happen to me. What a horrible experience, of course, the Vietnam war was a horrible time. Thank you for serving our country!

      • PapaDuck says

        Scott,
        Thanks so much for the great article. Very enjoyable to read. You got me real excited about my trip coming up in October. I will be flying out of Tampa via Wash DC and Tokyo on Air Nippon Air. I will be arriving in Terminal 3 as ANA is the only foreign airline that does not go to Terminal 1. Nice to hear about the showers in Japan. Hopefully i’ll have time between flights. 2013 will be here before you know it, just as i hope 2014 will. Take care brother and stay safe.

  19. Annalise says

    I love your article. It’s funny! I enjoyed it very much. The way you just described your asawa is really sweet and this kind of reminds me the time when my fiance and I met for the first time at the airport (we weren’t engaged till a few days later). I am really looking forward for your upcoming articles! I’m a follower now. Take care, Scott. :)

    • Scott Fortune says

      Thank you Annalise! I’m always happy to put a smile on someones face, and very happy to have a “Follower”. You can be the beginning of my fan club, just as long as you don’t stalk me, like fans do here in the U.S. :) just joking.

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