We had dinner at one of the local Filipino restaurants. Junie, one of the local CS members from Manila took Martin and I to a local buffet that is frequented by his fellow country-persons. The fish and chicken were really good and the tea was some of the best I’ve ever had and they kept it coming and coming. One thing that is clearly obvious is that CS has a very active Dubai chapter. From what I could gather they get together often and they have a fairly good-sized group. I highly recommend getting ahold of some of the group to arrange some time with them.
I was waiting at the airport near Manila and I had some time to wait. I couldn’t get into the terminal to get some real food until two hours before my flight left . There was a guy outside selling rice soup for twenty pesos, about fifty cents. I had seen people selling it all over SE Asia but I had never bought any. "What the heck?" I thought. I bought some. It was pretty good. I thought about having another bowl, but then I thought that I might be pushing my luck if I did.
This is a chicken crossing the road in front of the hotel where I was staying. So as not to give you the wrong impression, I was staying on the 15th floor of a 33 story building. I wasn’t in some rural area of Manila. The point is that there were loose animals running around everywhere in Manila. And, while they didn’t appear to be a threat to anyone’s health, I was a little nervous about stepping on one at an inopportune moment.
I ate here. Something came over me and I had to have a Single Combo. I don’t know why. It all happened so fast. Afterwards, I regretted that I had reverted to my western ways. But not much. Beef in SE Asia isn’t the same corn-fed, grain-lot beef that you see on the prairie. Even though the single combo wasn’t bad, it wasn’t that good. I’m just a little spoiled, living on the prairie where contented cows graze without a thought to their future. I think that I’ll go to Cattleman’s when I get back home and get me a good steak.
This guy was supposedly blind and played his music all afternoon on the street. He was good. Not just sorta good. He was really, really good. I wondered why he wasn’t playing in some club in Manila in the evening for a decent living. Maybe he was and this was his day job.
Jollibee is a chain of burger/spaghetti/chicken joints that I saw all over Manila. Supposedly, they have over 1,800 outlets worldwide. I kept noticing them and one night I was out with a fellow traveler and we decided to try Jollibee to see what they were like. They were definitely "fast food" and I’m not sure they’ll put McDonald’s out of business, but they weren’t all that bad, either. At least they’re Bar-B-Q chicken was worth eating again.
Cobra is an energy drink that I saw as I was making my tour around Manila. I decided to try it. A bottle cost 15 Pesos, about a third of a dollar. It was quite tasty. I’m not sure it provided me with a bunch of energy, but it did help to keep me hydrated and that was really important given the fact that I walked around perspiring all day.
What has to be the best job in Manila? Driving the Zamboni at the Mall of Asia. Everyone stops for you. You get the whole ice rink to yourself. You are the center of attention for a large crowd. Your job takes no longer than 30 minutes. The temperature is nice and cool. One thing I can say about the ice rink at the Mall of Asia is that it’s a much needed attraction.
Sometimes, actually, most fo the time, life in Manila can be tough. Every time I turned around my backpack got searched and I got patted down by a security guard. It happened several times a day. They say you get used to anything, but I’m not sure I’d ever get used to armed guards around me all the time. This is a picture of a typical building in Manila. There are copies of Better Homes and Gardens for sale in Manila, but not in this neighborhood. Nor in the vast majority of the rest of the city, either.
The Manila Cathedral is located within Intramuros. The cathedral is quite large. This picture doesn’t capture the full extent of the size of the building. Unfortunately, I couldn’t capture the full size of the cathedral due to the fact that the building is surrounded by other buildings that are quite close to the cathedral. What can I say about the cathedral? It’s a good place to pray.