Our travels to and around the Philippines have been comedic and unique. Today, we traveled a half day from El Nido to Siquijor. Emerson picked us up right on time at 6:30am in his blue and red psychedelic trike. We traversed 7km of bumpy roads and hills that nearly stalled us. I visualized needing to hop out and walk along side the sputtering trike, but we made it.
The cute and semi-upscale airport is owned and operated by the only airline serving it, Air Swift. While waiting to board they offered us free coffee, tea, and sweet rice treats. Nick and I got preferential treatment and were instructed to board first.
Outside, we walked down a red carpet-like lane to our aircraft and boarded from the rear. Inside, the attendants were very hands-on, giving us instruction even with the most menial of tasks. Things were running smoothly. I got settled in for a short, comfy flight.
Then the tall, dirty-blonde European guy with a tusk for a nose took his seat behind me. Within seconds I was gagging on his putrid foot odor. His well-worn Teva’s smelled like they were dipped in week-old fish guts and kept moist for added kick. I switched to mouth breathing and tried to relax.
About 30 minutes into our 75 minute flight, through my heavy duty ear plugs, I could hear him loudly slurping the last few sips of a drink through a straw. He did this several times before Nick glanced back to find that he didn’t have a drink in his hand after all. He was heaving violently into a barf bag.
The unforgettable odors of fish gut soaked feet blended with the rotten stomach acids and together they swirled all around my seat. I began to feel ill myself and spent the next 15 minutes uncomfortably leaning forward, barely breathing through a scarf pushed against my face, meditating on something more pleasurable like having the Novocain wear off during a root canal.
Turns out that was 15 minutes spent needlessly suffering. I abandoned Nick and moved to an open seat three rows up and recovered for the remaining 10 minutes of our flight.
I briefly saw him while retrieving our bags and took one last glance at those nasty sandals. Dude, wash your feet before flying!