Thursday, January 15, 2009


Wow, well, what a change it is to arrive in Asia. What's the biggest difference and shock? That's a bit of a tough one. Stepping off the plane, the first thing I noticed was the humidity. After the desert it feels a lot warmer and humid although they tell us here that it's nothing compared to later in the year..... Walking down the corridors to immigration, the second thing I noticed was that I could easily see to the end of the hall. Then I looked down...... Oh, there's everyone :) We are back in Asia!!!!!! Love it!
Our Manila hosts are awesome! We are staying with a Belgian couple (and their baby daughter and nanny) in a big home in a nice neighbourhood and living it up. You have no idea how it feels after so long in Africa....well, I guess that Savannah knows :) Our first day we were pretty jet-lagged so we just hung out at the house and even got massages, mmmmm.
The next day we got to know the chaos that is Manila. It's one of the biggest cities in south east Asia and has the traffic to prove it. What a mess. Tourists generally don't like Manila and we probably wouldn't either if it weren't for the luxury treatment we were getting with our own driver to take us around. The city is really spread out and with no major centre or anything really interesting to see so it would kind of be hell to be stuck here on our own. After the pollution and traffic in Cairo, the size of the city (~15 million in the metro area) doesn't shock us as much as it once would've. Driving around you can just feel the Asian difference. It's not just that the people look different, but there's just more organization to the chaos or something. Skyscrapers, the crazy electrical wiring on the poles, cleaner streets, more pavement, the motorcycles, something. Can't quite figure out what yet. The other big shock is seeing local women wearing shorts. It's been ages since that's happened.....
We did see a few things, the first was the Chinese Cemetary, which is just strange. The tombs are rooms built around them for the mourners, some the size of small houses or looking like small churches. Some have air-con, kitchens and bathrooms. Seems better than the poorer locals live. From there we also went to the old city and visited Fort Santiago. The old Spanish city of Manila was heavily destroyed in WWII and was never fully rebuilt or regained the importance it once had. For the most part we just enjoyed the drive and being stuck in traffic with a different view.
Today we went to one of the better hospitals in town for a checkup. We just showed up, asked for the doctor directory and were in to see a dermatologist immediately. I got a blood test right away too, without any wait. So much nicer than home.... Ok, granted, we did have to pay, and although $15 is not a lot to us, most Filipinos couldn't afford it so it's obviously not as busy as the general hospital.
Tonight we are on an overnight bus heading north to Vigan.


At 10:24 AM , Blogger The Bear said...

15 dollars, you couldn't get your name taken for that even here.

I'm not sure why but your writing evoked a sense of energy and fast flow, interesting in that you were talking of bigger city more movement. Made me look up Manila, and ask our OR Nurses who are from the Phillipines what they thought. Interesting, most of them worked there and actually liked it. MAny spoke of dancing and cabarets....?

Is your Mom finally warm again?
Tell your Dad to write again, his last post was great.

Love and Bear Hugs


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