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Sexta-feira, 19 de Setembro de 2003
Going back to the Philippines

Flight Details


Date: 19 September 2003
Dep: Madrid Barajas (MAD)
Gate: C31
Boarding Time: 1200
Dep Time: 1230
Load: 100%
Seat: Window
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)

Date: 19 September 2003
Dep: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
Gate: F09
Boarding Time: 1845
Dep Time: 1920
Load: 85%
Seat: 33K
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Arr: Kuala Lumpur (KUL)

Date: 20 September 2003
Dep: Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
Load: 30%
Seat: 33k
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Arr: Manila Ninoy Aquino International (MNL)

I have had considered Spain as my second home. I had fun. I have met some nice people and I learned a lot from my experience as a student in a foreign country. Bad moments, good moments I had. But on the other hand, I was excited to return back home to the Philippines and be with my family again. And I have a new education degree to bring home with me.

In fact, my flight back home was nothing to write about, hehehehhehe. I had some few tears when the plane took off in Madrid airport. I flew with KLM so a stop in Amsterdam was mandatory. I took a picture of the B747-400 that would bring me home to Manila but somehow the picture came out blurred. But as bonus, I was able to see the airport in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) before heading back to Manila. Nice airport but nothing special. In fact, I did not pay attention to flight details because I did not feel like it. Anyway, back in Manila to start another chapter of my life...professional life...

The first thing I did though was to call, Tommy, the Swedish guy, and say thank you for letting me use his mobile phone back in Sweden. He was surprised when I called him up because he did not expect that I would phone him simply to say thank you...but I did and will always be grateful to such people...small things like these don't go unnoticed, hehehehehe!

publicado por Sadiri Gonzales às 03:22
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Quinta-feira, 11 de Setembro de 2003
KLM B737 to Gothenburg, Sweden

Flight Details

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Date: 11 September 2003
Dep: Madrid Barajas (MAD)
Gate: C36
Boarding Time: 1425
Dep Time: 1450
Load: 100%
Seat: 20D
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)

Dep: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
Gate: C10
Boarding Time: 1910
Dep Time: 1930
Load: 100%
Seat: 25C
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Gothenburg Landvetter (GOT)


KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Date: 16 September 2003
Dep: Gothenburg Landvetter (GOT)
Gate: A16
Boarding Time: 1605
Dep Time: 1630
Load: 100%
Seat: 16A
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Dep: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
Gate: D71
BoardingTime: 1900
Dep Time: 1930
Load: 100%
Seat: 23F
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Madrid Barajas (MAD)

Beoing 737 in Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport in Sweden (click on the picture for the photographer's name)

“Hey, Manong... I arrived in Sweden! Cold now but still no pillows and blanket; have to get them from the lady in charged of the dormitory!”

I asked: “Nice! How was the flight?

She said: “Scandinavian Airlines canceled my flight to Copenhagen so I flew with Thai Airways to Stockholm but got upgraded to Business class!!!!!!!!!!”

Me: “Oh cool! Lucky you! You want to come over to Spain and see Madrid for a while before your classes start?

She said: “How many hours would that be?

Me: "No direct flights so you have to fly to either Frankfurt or Copenhagen and take a connecting flight to Madrid...... would mean 7 hours of travel time........"

She said: "No, thanks! I'm tired, lol!"

Me: “Afffffff! Okies, I’ll come over then!”

That’s how my phone conversation went with my younger sister few hours after she arrived in Sweden after a long flight from Asia. She was there to pursue her Master in Social Work through a scholarship awarded by the Swedish government. Anyway, I can’t imagine she declined my invitation to visit Spain but I was excited to visit Sweden again because this time around I'll be with my sister whom I did not see for about a year. And a week after I would be going back to the Philippines again, so I went anyways. But I did not tell her the dates though because I wanted to surprise her (it turned out that I was the one who was surprised when I got there, lol).


I rushed to buy my ticket at my favorite travel agency and after some hours of waiting (there was a problem with the ticketing software), I was heading to the airport. I called my sister that I was canceling my trip because I was reviewing for my exams and that I’d be OK to travel the week after. Of course, that was a lie, lol.


I don’t exactly remember how the flight from Madrid to Amsterdam to Gothenburg went but all I remember was the mixed feelings of excitement and worries; happy to see my sister again and worried that I’d be arriving in Gothenburg without knowing where to go (common occurrence in my case, lol).


The plane landed at the Gothenburg Landvetter Airport at around 10pm and right after I collected my luggage, I proceeded to the gate where the airport bus was waiting. There is a Flygbussarna bus service from Landvetter into the city which runs every 15-20 minutes, and it costs about 75 SEK one way (140 SEK return), and it reaches the city in 20-30 minutes. It stops at several locations (first stop near Liseberg; final stop: the Nils Ericson terminal).

So I took the address book out of my bag and showed it (my sister's address) to the driver hoping he knew where it was. He told me he's not going to pass by that area but assured me to drop me off the place where to catch another bus going to my sister's dormitory. I thanked him for that and settled on my seat and simply enjoyed the ride going to the city centre.

When we arrived at the city centre, the driver dropped me off and gave me some instructions on how to get to my 'destination'. I also had to ask the people on the streets where it was and luckily many people helped me out, lol. I was the centre of attraction right there in the middle of the streets! I hate that situation but what can I do?


For the next 4 hours I would be practically wandering around the city in search of that dormitory asking God knows how many people along the way. Luckily, many locals were helpful. And at around 2am, I finally found the place! So I went to the front door and hummm, just to discover that there was nobody at the lobby. Apparently, the dorm has no reception area and only the students could go in. What the ........... ! What should I do? How can I get in? No choice, I went back to the streets to look for a public phone or something. I was dead tired...


I had to phone my sister so she could give me the code to open the door. No phone booths to be found. The road maintenance guys saw me again (earlier they helped me find the address). They asked me how could they be of help again, lol. I explained to them what happened and that there was no public phone in the area and this guy, Tommy, volunteered to offer his mobile phone to call my sister. Wow, I told myself what a nice gesture from a total stranger. After talking to my sister (who was also surprised...was my purpose to surprise her after all, lol), I offered to pay for that call but he declined and told me it was a pleasure doing a favor for someone whom really needs it, hehehehehe. I thanked him and went back to the dormitory to see my sister. Whoa! happy to see her again!


The next day, time to conquer Gothenburg!

Gothenburg is a mid-size city but so cosmopolitan. Even more so than its rival Stockholm. I like its size and I like the atmosphere inclusing the parks and the citylife as a whole. If given the chance I'd choose to live here. As an authentic probinsiyano, I think this is the right city for me. It is a relatively big city but it retains it small city feel. And more importantly, as they say, the city is known as a friendly place and I myself can attest to that. One impression I have on Scandinavian countries is that people tend to be helpful to tourists (or maybe I look as if I really need some help, lol). But whatever the reason is, it's highly appreciated and I would do the same if someone needs my help especially if he's not from here and he'd ask about directions and all those stuff.

The centre of Gothenburg. If you want to explore the city, this is the place to begin your adventure. From here, you can go to any part of the city. Most of the city is best explored on foot because the main attractions are near each other (anonymous photographer)

Gothenburg as in Zurich.......I especially loved my tram rides from the dorm of my sister to the city centre. It's a cheap way to see the city. Gothenburg has a famous network of trams that covers most of the city. With over 150km the Gothenburg tram is the largest light rail network in Scandinavia. The main tram hub is Brunnsparken ('Well Park'), where you can catch trams to all parts of the city. It is near (one tram stop to be precise, or a 2-minute walk) to the train station (anonymous photographer)

Oppps, careful........"Puede na bang tumawid?"

Feeling free at the University of Gothenburg's campus

Me and my sister in front of the UG's library. I did some of my assigned school works here because there was a free internet access even to outsiders, hehehehe.

Two days after, another surprised came.

When I was checking my air ticket, I learned that the date of departure from Gothenburg was wrong! It says there I was to be in Sweden only for a day! I had to rush to the airport and had it changed! Affffff, must be the airline system error or more probably negligence on my part for not checking it before leaving the travel agency. Everybody was in a hurry and it totally slipped my mind. Anyway, going to the airport (and back) was a treat for me because I had the opportunity to enjoy the sceneries outside the city centre. It's a forested area (I like temperate forests!) so it was a visual feast for me. Maybe a camping activity would be great or simply be there and enjoy the tranquility of that beautiful place.


I enjoyed Gotherburg. If given the chance, I would live there...




publicado por Sadiri Gonzales às 17:12
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Quinta-feira, 4 de Setembro de 2003
Air Europa Boeing 737 to Mallorca (Palma de Mallorca)

Flight Details

Air Europa

Date: 04 September 2003
Dep: Madrid Barajas (MAD)
Gate: Not indicated
Boarding Time: 2145
Dep Time: 2215
Load: 100%
Seat: 21A
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Palma de Mallorca (PMI)


Boeing 737 of Air Europa in Palma de Mallorca (by Andre Oferta of Airliners)



Me and my Swiss friend, Bent, have been planning to meet up again after almost two years. He was one of my traveling companions in Portugal. He’d been telling me to come over to Switzerland but when I went to Zurich we did not have the chance to meet up because my Swiss adventure was unannounced and he lived far from the city, in another canton. He planned to visit Madrid but didn’t push through. So after 2 years of planning and exchanging emails, we finally got the opportunity to see each other again: not in Madrid; not in Switzerland, but in Palma de Mallorca, a small island resort in the Mediterranean Sea north of Algeria and south of France. It is a one-hour flight from Madrid. Bent was there to go sailing around the area with his friends. And since I was itching to fly again, I decided to meet him up right there. I went to the travel agency to buy a ticket and off I went. But this time, I did not reserve a room though. I simply took the number of some hostel there and thought that I could give them a call when I get there. Then I realized that I would be arriving in Mallorca at around 22.00 PM...

Anyway, I flew with Air Europa (UX). It is a Spanish low-cost airline that flies not only to cities in Spain but also to other European cities and even to South American cities. I chose UX because it was a partner airline of the then Flying Dutchman, the frequent flyer program of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Check-in was OK and a security agent was even interested in the Philippines. I felt bad that I did not show some enthusiasm in answering his questions because I was worried I might miss my flight and I was really rushing to the gate.

The flight was OK. Flight attendants did what they had to do. And sure, you have to buy if you want to eat something during the flight. It was only a one hour flight so there was nothing to write home about.

We arrived at the Mallorca Airport at around 10pm and I took the airport bus going to the city center. And to my surprise, I got a hard time looking for room because the hostel whose telephone number I got in Madrid could not be reached! Instead of wasting my time going from one hostel to the other at those hours (around 12 mid-night), I decided to spend the night in an internet café filled with people who spoke Spanish but with Italian accent. Ahhh, Argentines! Yeah, I was right. The owner of that internet café was Argentine. We had a chat about Argentina for some minutes before my internet-filled night would start. After 2 hours, I ran out of websites to visit so I went out and spent the rest of the night alone on the beach. Good thing I still had some credits on my phone so I called up my sister in Canada and we talked for a while but did not talk for a long time either because my phone ran out of battery. Afffff! It was stupid of me to spend the night in that area. It would have been safer to simply walk on the streets with some people but at that time I wanted to take some rest after walking and walking around the area.

At around 6AM, I decided to look for a room where to leave my things and take a nap for some hours.

And then time to meet up with my friend. He phoned me asking where I was and he gave me the address. I went out of the hostel confidently thinking that the locale where they were was just around the corner. But no….. it was on the other side of the island!

I had to take a taxi and though afraid I might run out of Euros, I prepared myself to pay "some amount" to get to my destination. While on the road, the driver told me that some time ago he read an article in a magazine about the nightlife in the Philippines and that he’d like to visit the country some day. Apparently that same magazine also featured some place in Manila where sex was cheap, lol. He’s a nice and friendly driver though.

I got off near the cathedral and took another taxi to get to where my friend was. The taxi driver was a lady and I told her it’s cool to see her to that. She commented that some older people were not open to the idea but younger people were cool about it.

I was happy to see my friend again. I was even invited to go sailing with them around the area for about an hour.

In the afternoon, I had to go back to Madrid again so I did not have the time to go back to the hostel so I went straight to the airport and changed my T-shirt on the airport bus.

I was actually a chance passenger because I had an open ticket but the agent was cool enough to book me on the most convenient flight out of Mallorca.







Air Europa

Date: 05 September 2003
Dep: Palma de Mallorca (PMI)
Gate: A09
Boarding Time: 2050
Dep Time: 2110
Load: 100%
Seat: 28A
Class: Economy
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Arr: Madrid Barajas (MAD)


Flight back home to Madrid was OK. Many passengers were children and I sat next to an elderly man who did not know how to fasten his seat belt. I helped him out because I found him nice. The flight was uneventful and nothing to write home about.

I was happy to see my friend again. After all he was the reason why I went to that Mediterranean island for a day; it was just to meet up with him. Flying to Mallorca in the midst of my exams and spend a day on the island to meet him up and his friends was a gesture of gratitude for what he had done to me when we were in Portugal. Yes, I would do such things for a nice and helpful person and much more for a friend.

And many would agree that staying in Mallorca for a day is not bad at all, and flying Air Europa too! 

publicado por Sadiri Gonzales às 17:11
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