My flights to Japan are never really without any misfortunes - spats with menopausal immigration ladies, getting lost while looking for the dormitory during a torrential downpour (OK, it was just drizzling but still...), forgetting the keys to my luggage - and well, this is no exception. You would think I would have everything down pat by now.
It all starts with, well, stuff. At first my mom and I were worried that I don't have enough things in my luggage so my things are going to be rolling around. We couldn't have been more wrong. My check-in luggage registered at 26.5 kg (I didn't get charged because JAL is awesome like that). This is after lots of editing - I left my extra bottle of contact lens solution and a huge bottle of lotion behind, and all my clothes are in my second hand carry together with all the dried mangoes (because they're quite heavy). My first hand carry is the MacBook bag which he shares with a PowerShot G7, a PowerShot G9, and a Canon lens (I have no idea what, obviously not mine). At any rate, I am so dead later.
Oh, and on our way to the apartment in Katipunan the ghetto, we passed by this DOST building in UP, and my mom suddenly remembered that my DOST clearance letter, along with the million photocopies I made of it, were locked safely back at home, 4 hours away (2.5 hours if you take SCTEX). It was around 9 pm, and we were panicking. Although I wasn't asked for it on my most recent trip, this whole BID watch list thing is quite random - my first two trips, no questions asked, and then the one after that, this horrific monster of a lady starts shouting at me insisting that DOST paid for my college education. So I always make it a point to carry the clearance letter with me (along with the million photocopies). We were already considering just going back home to get it which would have been a very stressful and expensive 8 hours (5 hours if you take SCTEX). Thankfully I found a second letter tucked in the billion papers I kept in the apartment (I trooped to Bicutan to claim the damn clearance, only to find that they sent the exact same thing to me by snail mail a few days after), which was quite a relief, I must say. In fact my mom was so relieved she took charge of packing everything into my luggage. Ehehehe.
The million dollar question: did they ask for the clearance?
The answer: Dingdong Dantes.
He lined up for immigration the same time I did, and as a result flustered immigration officers stopped paying attention. I didn't even get a nasty glance for forgetting to fill in the other half; usually this warrants a loooong lecture. And the lady behind me actually took a couple of pictures while exclaiming "Oh my God! It's a Blessing! Blessing!" ahahahaha. The most starstruck I've ever been in an airport was when I saw Barbie Xu from Meteor Garden but it was partly because she carried a light blue Birkin.
Anyway, time to go to the boarding gates. Wish me luck.