Monday, January 7, 2013

Trip thoughts

I was carediva to three senior citizens, my parents and my sister's mother-in-law. Well, not for the entire trip. You see, my brother-in-law and sister sponsored our trip to Cambodia recently, since this was his latest UN assignment.

I had my anxieties about the trip, particularly the return to Manila. Going to Siem Reap wasn't going to be a problem, since my sister and her entire family were going with us. However, there was that 6 hour road trip from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. Then finally, the trip back would have me as the only able adult accompanying senior citizens, all beyond 70yo. And there was going to be this long layover in Kuala Lumpur. And we didn't know what service from low-cost carriers CebuPac and AirAsia when it comes to persons with disability (my mom) and the senior citizens.

Then to cap it all, my father was experiencing stomach pains the night before. So there was that major decision of whether to proceed or not. And if we did, would he experience the pains during the trip? Where would we go?

Oops. That's not all. Part of that anxiety included having to 'deal' with my sister's in-laws. Sometimes, I feel like my bro-in-law has this condescending attitude. And it just gets to me. The way he greets and shakes his hand, his replies and comments seem to be meant to convey his intellectual superiority to everybody. And I always thought he got it from his mother, who was going to join us for the trip. So, I was also anxious about having to be all nice and politcally-correct to them during the trip. Sigh.

Fast-forward to yesterday. We are back in Manila. In one piece (with luggages. LOL) Looking back...

... NAIA 3 International is totally unfriendly to senior citizens and PWD. The ramps going to the airplane do not work. So we had to descend staircase to the ground floor and climb up the rickety stairs to the plane. And that was hell for my mom (She has polio and is 75yo) and even my dad (overweight with arthritic knees). Despite having wheelchairs and people to assist, that was quite difficult for my mom, particularly.

...Generally, Cambodia is still not as PWD-conscious. Well, the country of 14M Khmers is nascent in the country-development index. Phnom Penh is like Quezon City of years back, with no major malls yet. (Mall talaga ang peg?) BTW, the locals say P-nom Pen. I don't here them pronounce the "Ph" as "F". I think it's the French influence of having useless consonants and even vowels. LOL

... the temples of Siem Reap are truly awe-inspiring. But they are just crawling with tourists. If I go back there, I'd really spend time in one of them, and use it really as a 'temple' and meditate. There was this serenity that was marred by the tourists (me included) and the cameras.

...the gay scene is fun, both in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Not too many choices but enough for a wandering beki visiting for a few nights. Places like Blue Chilli Bar in Phnom attracts all sorts of foreigners, so take your pick. Just be ready to compete with locals for their attention.

...Kuala Lumpur's LCCT (Low-Cost Carrier Terminal) is as bare-bones an airport as it can get. There is something insulting in that name, though. It has "cheap" superimposed on it. So no ramps and tubes connecting to the plane. All staircases. So again, the horrors of bringing PWD/seniors up and down. I had to use the services of the wheelchair lift for USD68 per person!

...The saving grace for people with long layovers at LCCT would be the Plaza Premium lounge, that allowed you to over-stuff yourself with food and drinks and wifi. A/C wasn't working as well though. And though they offered showers, I didn't avail of it. The lounge itself is pretty small and cramped.

... Cebupac made up for it by having really nice people around to help. They literally carried my mom in her wheelchair over the staircase to make it easy for her!!!

...My sister did everything possible to make it easy on my parents and me. And that included having bonding moments with us, and letting her in-laws also have their bonding moments.

...My bro-in-law does not really have that attitude, deeply ingrained. I actually did get along with him. And he was always so nice and accommodating, I was feeling ashamed of all that I thought of him. And his mom. She was really gracious and helpful. Yes she was quite meticulous on service. But she was always ready to help out, despite the fact that she was 72yo. She never imposed on me. Again, shame on me for thinking of her that way.

I had my moments of being stern with my folks. Grumbling under my breath with the physical effort and hassle of playing carediva. At their age, they could get makulit and I'd snap back at times. And being the OC-OC that I was, I was constantly fretting about how to get them from one place to another. So I'd become masungit from time to time.

I regret that attitude totally. And I will be apologizing to them for that. They don't deserve any of that bitching. In the twilight of their years, they deserve to be treated like royalty, with the narriest of inconveniences and annoyances. Allow me to rehearse...

Nanay and Tatay, sorry if at times, I was masungit. If I would snap back or just be stern during the trip. I really apologize for the attitude and the behavior. I promise to work on it the next time. Yes, the next time we travel. I don't mind being your carediva, your companion. I don't mind the effort and the hassle. I would gladly do it again and again. I am truly at your service.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


joelmcvie said...

Can we instil (or perhaps even impose? hihihi) that service attitude of yours to the other Fabcasters and the peanut gallery when WE'RE the senior citizens?


luke lacson said...

i can so relate with you, cc. ako pa naman na walang pasensya. naiinis agad. pero kahit naiinis ako, im still malambing. ganyan ata if you're from bacolod. kahit galit or in a bad mood, malambing pa din. though i always apologize naman after.

im missing those time when i used to travel with my Mama T (lola). if only i can turn back time, id savor every moment with Mama T.

happy sigh! :)

Anonymous said...

At least you know your shortcomings, so now you can work on them. I don't have my parents anymore and I miss them dearly, especially during the holidays. All I can say is that, treasure them in their twilight years otherwise you will be full of regrets when they are gone.

Anonymous said...

hello cc. happy new year! ikaw ba ung nasa pic? -arvin