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Manila to Tirana – The Long Way


Usually a day that starts in the Conrad Manila is good day (I got the stay through points OK), I certainly do enjoy a Hilton breakfast, which is certainly rather dissimilar to my street food jollies.

But today (or rather 2 days ago) was not to be a normal day, for I would be moving to Albania to work on a movie. Sounds cool right? It is, but it’s also not exactly Hollywood, so I was tasked finding the cheapest option for flying from Manila to Tirana. I might be a Street Good Guy, but I am a flight guru.

Really by flight guru I mean I will go through hell and back to save a few bucks, which is exactly what I did. I managed to hang out by the pool in the Conrad until they kicked me out, but this still meant I was in Manila airport, or Ninoy Aquino Terminal 2-3 hours before my flight. There is nothing at Manila terminal 2, no lounge, and you can’t smoke. I withdraw some money, as I didn’t think I would need any and treated myself to a Sarsi! I know how to live. If you can spend a little more and avoid terminal 2 in Manila, do it.

I scored a window seat and slept my way to Bangkok, where I was to have 24 hours. Now usually a man of my ilk would see 24 hours in Bangkok as a chance to let of steam shall we say! But I simply booked a hotel near the airport, a rather decent place called Nari Siri Lake View. Nice, but weird lift and no visible lake. I spent most of the 24 hours in my room watching movies, bad movies from the 80’s on Macao channel TV Lotus. If a man is thirsty enough, he will drink piss. Although I felt I should do at least one thing “gareth” and got some street food (it was either that or a LadyBoy).

And thus, the next part of the journey Bangkok to Vienna! You can no longer smoke in the airports of Bangkok, but they at least had a decent lounge, and I ate heartily.

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I then pulled my classic get on last trick to Vienna, a flight which was happily half empty, and scored 4 chairs to myself. 8/10 hours sleeping through that journey! Although valium does deserve an honorable mention.

I arrived in Vienna with a 7 hour layover, and spent a lion’s share of it catching up on 3 days work in the airport carpark. Sure I could have gone into Vienna and looked at some historical shit, but you can see that shit anywhere right?

Full kudos to Vienna airport, you can smoke, a lot, there’s booths everywhere, even in the lounge.

The flight to Tirana was one of my more interesting ones, with mass turbulence, problems with the landing wheels, and 15 minutes before landing the flight attendants asking us to read the safety manual.

Luckily, we didn’t crash though, and I was through passport control in 10 minutes to be met (late) by friend, ready to start a new adventure living in Albania!

The Street Food Guy does Albania! Might even blog about it….

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The Gutter Gourmet and the Gentrification of Poverty

Appropriating Travel Junkie