I can’t blame why most Filipinos have this dream of setting their foot to the US. Well, in my case, it wasn’t really in my immediate bucket list, at least 4months ago.
I heard from friends and acquiantances that applying for VISA to the US from Singapore will most likely guarantee you a 10year multiple entry VISA approval. So, my greedy self decided to attempt to apply for the first time even without a real immediate plan of going to that side of the world. I told myself, if I get 10years, I will have a lot of time to actually head there. I went for the interview, paid the fees, presented all the required documents. My hopes were up. I would get the 10years VISA. After 3 days, my passport was delivered to my workplace….My hands were trembling of excitement, I flipped the page to the new sticker, tadah, a Muliple entry VISA valid only for 4months. OH MY!
So I had to put America into my immediate list of places to go….
10 – 14 Jan 2016
Flight was uneventful. I watched about almost 4 inflight movies while I enjoyed the meals served by United. Flight landed and there I was, queuing inside the famous airport, LAX. I booked a with (30mins) Flyaway bus (US$9, only by credit card) to the city area for it would be cheaper to go there that way than by a cab (accg to readings US$75?). I reached Union Station, took at (10mins) cab to Greyhound station (US$17). I was going to use Greyhound bus to Fresno (5hours, US$18).
During my taxi ride from Union station to Greyhound station, we passed by the the downtown area and my eyes had an amazing discovery that despite America being among the most powerful nations in the world, they also have their own problems of poverty. I saw a lot of homeless people by the road side. Their homes were actually portable tents. Sometimes, that’s my kind of home too. But of course, mine was by choice, they didn’t have any (I suppose).
I reached Greyhound bus terminal and I had a few hours to kill. I noticed that the primary group using of their bus services were Mexicans. I guess, most locals would have their own cars or would choose to travel by plane than by a bus. Anyway, my wait and the bus ride were convenient. There was WIFI in the terminal and on board the bus too.
After five hours of travel, I arrived in Fresno at about 8pm. I was a little anxious because I haven’t seen my aunt and uncle in more than 20years. From inside the bus, I could already see them, they looked exactly like those earlier years of my life, just like how I remembered their faces to be.
We hugged and drove to their huge home. Uncle prepared black bean soup for me. It was delicious. Didn’t know that uncle can actually cook haha Our night was just spent chit-chatting. We were just making up for those long years of not being able to see each other face to face.
The next day, we went to Holy Spirit Church to attend the Sunday mass then to San Joaquin River bank that runs across behind auntie’s house. I saw a few species of birds that my uncle identified each specifically. I was impressed! They all looked the same to me…haha He’s an avid “birder”, yes, he can identify birds visually and I think, aurally.
Time was really flying fast. Turned second day, they decided to bring me to Yosemite, my uncle’s childhood playground. He showcased all the different waterfalls: Bridal Veil, Yosemite Waterfalls, even those frozen ones, also all those peaks like El Capitan, three brothers, etc. Snow-covered, it was a place to remember. It was so beautiful as the formidable looking natural wonders underneath the contrasting white snow, the beauties looked a little bit softer while with more character. I had fun just walking in the snow and embracing the view. Had dinner after that, pizza!=)
Day three came quickly. We didn’t really have much plans today for uncle and aunt had their own personal stuff to do. I followed auntie do hers. We visited Lavern, her home for the aged and all her other properties and she went to see a doctor. Lunch time, we ate in a Filipino restaurant, then we went to her meeting too. I was almost falling asleep. Haha We had dinner at Eureka.
Fourth day, early morning, we went to GB3 to have our early morning work out. Tita had to work, whilst, I stayed at home with uncle. I just decided to continue on with my work out by playing with the silk tripod that my cousin assembled for me two days ago. I just had fun practicing arm strength that would be very much of benefit for my pole career path. After work, tita came back and we had a walk to Woodwork park. That was my last night in Fresno and I was feeling a little bit emotional. We had dinner at home. =)
My last day in Fresno were spent packing away and talking to my tita. Only uncle would be sending me off / picking me up to / from LA for my flight to / from Fairbanks, Alaska. I bid tita and Fresno goodbye….for now.