Monday, May 11, 2015

Connection in Manila - My Introduction to the Philippines

I didn't actually plan to be here.

The original plan was to connect here in Manila to a regional flight south. That was before they closed the next airport for repairs for a few weeks - the airport for the one non-negotiable destination of the trip (so far). However, we here at JMP Travel have contingency plans for such instances. This particular plan is called "Winging It."

Manila Skyline
It turns out, Manila is not a bad place to spend a couple of weeks - not that I had any prior opinion about the place. I've actually spent all of my time here in the city of Makati, which is part of Metro-Manila; in fact, I have the view of the Manila skyscrapers in front of me as I write, perched on my fourth-floor rooftop. In the case of most other major cities of the world, I probably would have made my way in to explore by now, but I've been content, for some reason, to just take in all that is Makati. By most measures, from what I have seen, this is not a particularly charming place. The traffic is loud and seemingly omnipresent. The air is, at best, borderline carcinogenic. The river looks like landfill runoff and reeks of it too (and children swim in it). The weather has been oppressively hot and humid. However, I'm having a pretty good time!

The good news is that there is plenty to keep me entertained. If you know me, you know that this is, in part, a culinary adventure, and there is a whole world of foods to try here - all within walking distance. I like that I can walk around the corner, and there is a guy cutting open young coconuts for my refreshment for about a quarter (USD).  Beers are cheap. You can get a street food meal that usually involves some sort of mystery. I went to a 400 year-old church for Mothers Day and was the tallest guy there. There is a gigantic mall just about a mile down the road that has anything you could want. Best of all, I found a sports pub a block away that shows live international soccer matches as well as NBA Playoffs and has the friendliest staff, some of whom I now call friends (they're open until 8:00 am, which I have tested just once and I blame it on American basketball). The moral of the story here is that if you plan for things not going according to plans, sometimes that is when the best discoveries are made.

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