|Royal likes playing "Where's Jordan?"|
|Royal knows cardboard Jordan very well|
|Our adventure begins in Las Vegas|
I had planned to do a bunch of work on the plane. But, when you board a plane at midnight, your body and mind are not really in the mood to do work. Sleep becomes a priority. I have such a hard time sleeping in an upright position. Maralea bought these things that go around the neck and attach to a kind of sling where you can fold your arms and rest in a more comfortable position. (She got them for our trip to Peru three years ago, and I don’t think we have used them since.) I watched some Lone Ranger movie with Johnny Depp as Tonto (terrible movie - just flat awful). I then watched 42, the story of Jackie Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers (much better).
|Charting our travels from Vegas to Seoul|
|Sunrise in Seoul|
My plan was to arrive at our hotel in Angeles City, unpack, relax, and then see if I could find a replay of the game online. It was a good plan, but failed in two respects: First, the game was not set yet for replay on BYUtv.org when we finally got back up online. Second, when I finally found a link for some highlights, the title referenced an exciting BYU come from behind victory. (Okay, fine, I’ll admit my disappointment was minor since they won the game.) Our plan is to watch the replay of the game as soon as it is made available (hopefully today, but probably not until we get back - somehow some way, it will be viewed by the Royals).
|Relaxing in the Seoul airport, during halftime of the BYU/Houston game|
Our flight to Manila from Seoul was only three hours, but we still got served a meal. In fact, in our 20 hours of travel, we were served three meals on Korean Air and all of them were very good. They kept the plane dark through the night, so we had plenty of opportunity to sleep. Still, I don’t think I slept much. (I kept thinking about “Lost” and all those episodes with the plane crashing in the ocean, or plane crash scene in “Castaway,” which is pretty intense.) I tried my hardest to get some work done on the flight. (Somehow, it eases my angst of being away from the office.) But, I found it to be incredibly challenging. My mind just would not focus. It has been racing with all kinds of things surrounding the surreal moment in which we seem to find ourselves. We are returning to the Philippines to pick up our second son serving here. Jordan’s mission is over. He is returning home, and we will see him soon. It just doesn’t seem real. Anyway, I watched another movie during the trip from Seoul to Manila, The Internship, which was rather silly. (Let’s be honest. Every movie with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson is exactly the same.) (Hey, maybe that’s why I had so much trouble getting work done on our trip, I watched three movies.)I wasn’t sure how things would work out at the Manila airport. We had arranged for Jordan’s second mission companion, Kimmy Talento, to meet us and drive us to our hotel (a two hour drive). We went through customs, got our luggage, exchanged some US dollars for pesos, got a SIM card for Jordan’s old phone (so we could use a phone here), and then walked to the greeting area with some trepidation. I had a back up plan. If Kimmy and I got our wires crossed, I figured I would just grab a taxi. There are
|Maralea, anxiously awaiting landing in Manila in anticipation of the Mother/Son reunion|
|Manila from the plane - a beautiful sight|
We kind of wandered around for a few minutes and, through the crowd, I saw Kimmy walking towards us with a sign: “Mike Royal.” (Yep, that’s me!) Kimmy went to shake my hand but I just gave him a big hug. It was a great relief to connect. He walked us to a vehicle driven by his cousin, Mark, who served as our driver. We threw our things in the back of the car and began our adventure through Manila. I suppose it goes without saying, but I would never, ever want to attempt to drive a car through Manila. It is all just too crazy. I tried not to freak out at all the close calls with busses, bikers, other vehicles, and just let Mark focus on the road. (He did not seem too concerned about any of it.) We had a great time visiting with Mark and Kimmy during our trip. It was exciting to be in Manila.
|Oh yeah, did I mention we got a flat tire?|
|While we were busy traveling, Jordan was busy doing paperwork in the mission office.|
(Can you find him in this sea of elders?)
|The Royal soda reunion was sweet, too!|
|Taken during our September 2005 trip to Angeles, for Edsel's baptism.|
It was pretty cool to visit the chapel again and see this important landmark of our lives.