We see more of the streets of Manila. The bay looks fairly polluted and there are some big ships out there. The streets are busy and dirty, the traffic chaos. The Philippines are one of the few countries that the USA colonised. Because of that English is widely spoken and there are many Jeepneys, shiny buses made from the remains of jeeps and other US vehicles. They operate around the city, most are very colourful and quick. Christianity is common, and many have biblical names. People hop on and off, paying at random it seems.
We take another breakneck journey through the city in a mini-bus. We are late for the flight. The roads are bad, people ignore the lanes, and the lights systems seem to work at random. We get the airport on time though, and I’m told that if I wear trousers I can have a business class upgrade. Not bad for my second flight!
The flight to Australia is long. We land early in the morning in Melbourne. From the airplane window everything looks parched and desolate. We go into the airport whilst it is refuelled. The airport is the opposite of Heathrow. It is light, clean, friendly, smells good, and you can’t smoke. We get back onto the plane and fly to Sydney.
I am keen to see Sydney as we land, so I get a widow seat. We fly over the ocean on the approach to Botany Bay.
Customs is not easy, and I learn to be a bit brighter in airports. Jason’s brother is there to collect us. We drive to the beach and get a juice. There is a lot to take in.
Jason and his girlfriend live in Cronulla. It’s a lovely quiet suburb. I take a walk around the sports fields. The warmth and smells are very welcoming, and I enjoy being in Australia. We get some beers.