In a world of nearly eight billion people, and growing, we often have to wait our turn.

On a Tokyo runway, our jet backs away from its boarding dock, follows air traffic control orders, gets in line with a string of jumbo jets to take off for Manilla.

Thousands of planes land and take off from major international airports, 24/7, and behind technology is people making quick decisions that try to keep us safe.

From the air,at night, there are huge spaces of darkness all around us, then darkness with scattered lights, then, as we close on Manilla, millions of lights for millions of people. From space, astronauts can see continents, the Amazon,the Grand Canyon, the Himalayas. At night they can see large metropolitan cities sparkling and know that home is down there when they get back and someone has left the lights on for them and is planning a ticker tape parade.

The things I know about the Philippines are that in World War 2 men died in jungles up to their knees in mud, banana trees cut in half by bullets and coconut trees sent up in flames. The islands are rural and poor and wicker chairs on Uncle Steve’s front porch were made here. Most shells in gift shops come from the Philippine archipelago.

When Ali met Foreman, Manilla was put on the map.

Tonight, the third leg of this flight is finished and the Philippines turn real. You never know a place till you have been there.

You never know people or places till you spend time with them.

 

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