Hardly a religious, I had learned how to attend mass consistently just a year ago. For the record, this Hongkong and Macau trip is also the first time I had offered mass intentions for safe travel. One more thing: upon boarding the plane before take off, I already finished praying the rosary. As a test of faith perhaps, this is also my most dangerous travel so far.
The nausea and fear of turbulence I never felt before all came rushing in. For one, I never needed Bonamine, a motion sickness or anti-emetics pill , even as a child, even when I travel for 12 hours in zigzag mountains, or sail through a small boat. Never. I don’t even sleep during travels because I want to take everything in. But this…
Turbojet and the weather just got me in a wrong time. Three days before this trip I was already feeling unwell at work. I just couldn’t take a sick leave as I will already be gone for four consecutive days. Then, if 1PM was our last meal (Read about our Macau Food Trip here) and we boarded the ferry from Macau Ferry Terminal and Heliport (Outer Harbor) to Kowloon in Hongkong at 9:25PM, we have strolled around Macau for more than 8 hours without eating anything solid. For me, it’s just the bottle of Minute Maid and a bite of the BLT sandwich before boarding the ferry.
After hearing mass at Igreja de Se, we looked for the bus which we thought could have taken us to the ferry terminal. Marlyn and I had a clue that we boarded the wrong bus (Bus No. 3 almost right across the front of Senado Square) since a native passenger tried his hardest to communicate it to us through sign language. It was rush hour and was also raining that time so we made this wrong move of not transferring, thinking that our route will eventually loop us to the ferry terminal.
There were no traffic in Macau but past 7pm near Senado Square, riding buses entails waiting and standing with a jampacked crowd, too.
From the terminal of Bus #3, there is an interconnecting bus which took us correctly to the ferry terminal. That’s after more than an hour, though. Good thing we did not pay for the ferry tickets ahead as there is also additional fee or fine if it’s rescheduled (around 15HKD).
We got 9:05PM Turbojet trip to Kowloon. There are other terminals in Macau but since our hotel is in Tsim Sha Tsui district and Marlyn’s family friend, Ate Tere, was waiting for us in Kowloon terminal, we choose Kowloon. Fare was HKD185, the highest ferry fare because, we were boarding during a Saturday and on a night trip. Gates opened 30 minutes prior.
Suddenly, paged announcement was made. Trip will be postponed for 2o minutes due to some maintenance problem. We were suspecting the rainy weather also played a part. When there’s a storm in the Philippines, there’s a good chance it’s also raining in Macau and Hongkong because of the location particularly in the seas they share. Before we left Manila, weather was bad already. https://jonalynvillafuerte.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/all-my-bags-are-packed-wait/
My boss already warned me of their experience riding this particular ferry. He advised me to take Bonamine even if I’m not susceptible to drowsiness. I did not listen. What happened halfway the ferry ride seemed to be a scene taken from an end-of-the-world film.
First few minutes of that bumpy ferry ride, passengers were still laughing and shouting like we were all in an amusement park ride. Imagine Enchanted Kingdom’s Anchor’s Away. After half an hour, atmosphere changed dramatically. There were passengers throwing up, an infant crying hard on my left, an elderly being taken away in a stretcher. There wasn’t a second to rest because we felt all the big waves Turbojet was going against. The hardest wave which had hit Turbojet broke the windows of the left side of the ferry! It made such a loud noise accompanied by rain and lighting in the darkness outside. People started to panic. There was a passenger who was crying hard already. She started the mass hysteria which followed, in my opinion. There were more people throwing up on the next minutes which followed, the crew of Turbojet already started to attend to the passengers especially those who attempted to transfer to the other side of the boat when the windows on the left blasted.
Passengers started to pull out the life vests under their seat or in their front seat. Though it’s admirable for the crew’s capability to control the crowd on the left to transfer to the other side (which could have caused the boat to really capsize), I realized that there are not enough number of crew in scenarios like this. They also did not demonstrate how to get and how to use the life vests at the start of the trip. Language had also became a great barrier. That time it felt like just the three of us – no one to ask to for help because people cannot be bothered by English especially in fight or flight modes like this.
Macau to Hongkong should’ve taken just an hour. Because of the weather we spent one and a half excruciating hours inside the ferry. I was thinking already of what I’ll do when I find myself out in the open sea. We had all thrown our bags and luggages on the side. I should remove my rubber shoes, I thought, so I could swim. Keep calm. Pray. I waited for the boat to dock – with eyes closed while still feeling nauseous. After 45 minutes, we finally reached Kowloon, tired, hungry, frightened, wanting to book a flight back in Manila as soon as possible.
People on their way to the immigration and inside the bathrooms were still throwing up. Standard procedures followed in the immigration in Kowloon terminal. Ate Tere, Marlyn’s family friend patiently waited for us in Kowloon. We were debriefed somehow of the turmoil we encountered because of her warm welcome.
Locating our hotel was easier because of her. She served as our guide in Hong Kong during the entire trip as she’s been living and working in Hong Kong for more than 10 years already. She can speak Cantonese. Nevertheless, we still had to wait for an hour before we rode taxi to Australian Guesthouse. I felt very dizzy while waiting I thought that was the hardest dizziness I had to endure in life.
We pursued our 6-day trip obviously. We just needed to sleep on our urge to go back to Manila ASAP. We were just determined to ride the ferry back to Macau through Turbojet (it proved to be sturdy despite the harshest conditions) and during daytime. I wore clothes convenient for travel and swimming at the same time on the 5th day of our trip back to Macau. Let that experience be a lesson for me from now on whenever I ride boats. Be alert and be prepared.
What confirmed us that our first Turbojet experience was a nightmare was our second time. The weather was so much better that we took the ride for just an hour with no feeling of dizziness at all. We were all smiles that time and ready to conquer Macau!
“The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
savage Poseidon; you’ll not encounter them
unless you carry them within your soul.”
Next time, I know better.