Culture shock

Work trip to Manila…

Arrived after a very long flight, connection in Singapore – and I have to say that Changi airport is damn impressive!  Koi pond, with foot long koi, inside the terminal!  Two of them!! :D

Anyway – flight was ok – saw some films, slept a little, food was decent..  Arrived Manila to be greeted by hotel reps, who shuffled me off to the hotel car & the hour drive to the hotel.  I tell ya, lucky I was using official hotel transport and was the only one in the car – I passed out and slept for most of the journey!

Hotel is nice indeed – 100count cotton sheets, massive bed, kitchen & washing machine, the shower even turns into a steam room!

I’m here til Wednesday next week – can’t tell you why I’m here (Ssshh! Secret projects!) but it’s all going well..

Dinner last night with local lawyers – who took me to the most amazing place – Sentro 1771.  Got to try some proper Filipino dishes – which were very tasty indeed!  There was a particular favourite, Singang Na – which is meat & veg in a tamarind broth.

Kind of the Filipino version of miso soup, but it was a particular favourite. This one made with corned beef that was so tender – beautiful! There was also squid with dried mango, ‘Drunken Shrimp’ (marinated in rum then tempura fried), Smoked Fish rolls (kinda like sushi but with duck egg and tomato – not my favourite, but quite good), a lamb stew, and a green mango salad with tamarind and anchovy.  All in all, a fantastic meal and one I won’t forget in a hurry!

Followed by drinks and conversation at The Tipsy Pig gastropub..  two pitchers of cocktails later, headed home for sleeping – which didn’t come easy..  damn jetlag!

The culture here is odd – everyone has a driver, who delivers you to your destination then hangs about waiting for you..  Everyone has a maid, who looks after your house, cooks, cleans and generally takes care of everything for you.  Quote from an expat local – “Dishwasher?  We have a dishwasher – her name is Tess!”

But the people are all incredibly polite and very lovely – lots of smiles, good mornings and kind thoughts.  Traffic is a nightmare – 30million people in Manila means lots and lots of traffic.  Meanwhile, just down the road from here is one of the largest Malls in Asia – 1km long and 5 storeys – ye gods!  What a temple to capitalism!  TV has 5 different religion channels, lots of American sports overage (basketball in particular) and lots of USA bias – but that’s understandable, really.  There is an Australia channel – mainly covering news & A Current Affair type human interest stories.

Weather is hot.  damn hot.  hot and humid.  Taxi drivers telling me the heatwave is March/April (45+) but then settles back to mid-30’s for the rest of the year.  Also tell me that it’s actualy rainy season, but I haven’t seen any evidence of clouds yet..  Think they might be pulling my leg!

Well – most of work done for the day now – though have to get out there and find some photo frames..


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It pays to be the only Ladies Barebow.. 


With a pretty crap score of 143, I walk away with a trophy! 

Happy Father’s Day to all the Northern Hemisphere Dad’s out there xxx

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Whoops – forgot…

Got travel jabs yesterday for Philippines – Tetanus, Diptheria, Polio, HepA and Typhoid.  Slightly bruised arms today, but no other reaction.  Thank god.

Also, fininishing my antibiotics tomorrow.  Throat better, thank god again!

And, saw downstairs neighbour in the hall yesterday – the old lady from No6 did break her hip and is in hospital for 8 weeks! Poor thing.  I wonder where she is..  would be nice to go visit her.. 


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It’s mine! And (I think) so’s he!

Today saw the bank take the final payment on my car.  Instead of owning everything but the front left wheel – it’s all mine!!

Quite the achievement.  Having a celebratory drink!

Also today, booked another trip across the chunnel to see MWLIF.  *sigh*

We’re still talking every day and skyping almost every night.  It’s been a month now.  It’s still fantastic and romantic and wonderful – and I’m still happier than I’ve been in years.  

Everyone should be this happy xx

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Put the lime in the coconut..

House inspection this morning lasted all of about 15mins. Went to work for an hour before doc appt.

Quickest doc appt ever! 2mins in & out with a prescription. Confirmed tonsilitis with 3 questions and one look at my throat.

Yep – I remember what this feels like. *sigh*

Now home to bed & work remotely for a few hrs.

Hope you’re feeling better than me xx

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what’s happened since..

Tough week of work – loads going on and very busy, but communicating with MWLIF every day and skyping at night.  keeps the smile on my face.

It’s been commented on at work as well, the smile on my face.  I feel like it hasn’t been there for ages, and my colleagues are enjoying seeing me so happy (I know because they’ve told me so!).

So Thursday comes round and I get home from work Thursday night feeling a bit dodgy.  Headache, general aches, grumpiness.  Friday dawns and I almost throw up in the kitchen sink whilst getting my juice.  Spend the day popping paracetamol every 4 hrs, trying to control the pain in my head and throat, hardly eating.

Saturday was spent in bed – snoozing, resting, watching (dodgy) films on my pooter and falling asleep with my pc open, to be woken at 10-ish by a lovely skype from MWLIF.  Fell back asleep with a smile.

Woke today feeling a bit better – only popped two pills today..  Was iffy about archery, but went – and glad I did!  3 golds at 50yds!!  WhooHoo!!  Didn’t do so well at 60yds, but the first time I’ve ever got a gold at 50, so was feeling ok..

Got home, cleaned in time for the house inspection tomorrow, got a call from mum and finally updated my blog – LOL! :)  there you go, mum :D xx

So – coming up, trip to The Philippines for work followed by a trip to Normandy :D, then possibly another at the end of July – we’ll see.

busy times!  Happy times xx

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Sorry for the delay, Mum – I’m alive, honest!!

I had a good reason – i’ve been poorly…

Anyway – what a truly fantastic weekend!  And a hell of a first date to top! :D

Friday night involved a slight amount of franticness – rushing home from work to get on the road asap.  The drive to the Chunnel went well, pretty smooth, but had to wait 40mins for my crossing.. If I’d got there 15mins earlier they would have put me on the earlier train..  oh well.

Quite the experience!  The train engine looks normal, but attached to it instead of carriages are dual level boxcars.  You drive the car straight in and park, and sit in the car for the 35-40min crossing, then drive off the boxcar on the other side.  Very smooth system, of which I approve!


I was on the lower level for both trips.

Driving off on the far side, into the darkness, with the bright lights of the satnav to guide me the 4hrs to Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy).  It was long, and strangely llike a video game after a while..  “just stay in the white lines”..  Hardly any traffic, and French motorways are brilliant.  No potholes, no dramas except for tollbooths which, since the French have left-hand drive cars, meant I had to jump out of the car and run around the back to pay the tolls!  Tried just to lean over for the first one, did not work at all, so ended up jumping out & running for the rest of them.  About 20-quid’s worth of tolls all up.  but for the state of the roads, entirely worth it.  And they did serve to keep me awake!

Arrived safely at MWLIF’s at about 3am – and drove up the hill to see him in sillhouette, leaning out his second storey window waiting for me.  :D  He had some wine chilling, and we chatted for a couple of hours before I passed out around 5.

Damn body clock woke me round 8 – though I didn’t feel tired or anything – andrenaline is a wonderful thing! :D  Wide awake.  B’fast of bacon butties on french bread (I brought the bacon with me – the French don’t do bacon.  Bizzare, but they don’t do bacon.  Can’t buy it in the supermarket.)  Headed out to Mont Saint Michel.

It was a little further than MWLIF had anticipated, about 2 hrs all up, but we talked & laughed the whole way.  Cruising round a corner, we saw this and had to stop for photos…


Another 15mins and we were there.  What a truly stunning place.  Seriously looks like something created by the Weta Workshop for Lord of the Rings.

DSC_0930You have to park about a mile away, then get a free shuttle (or horse and cart) to the gates.

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Walked in & around the bottom level, then stopped for the best Moules in Normandy, from (I was told later) their own moule beds!

A half of lovely crisp rose, wonderful food, amazing company and an hour later, bill paid, we headed off up the stairs to finish the explorations..  (MWLIF’s photos)

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including cat-sized seagull, who loved having his photo taken!!


A couple of hours wandering around, the obligatory magnet purchase, and we were done.  Headed out, hit the supermarket for dinner-fixings, and back home for the evening – which involved talking, laughing and movie watching.

Sunday morning dawned, fantastic weather once again, and after another bacon butty we headed out for the 30min drive to Falaise, home of the Castle of William the Conqueror.

Stopped for a coffee in the local cafe, very quiet village on a Sunday morning – it seemed like the town was asleep (except for those in the cafe with us) but quite a pretty place..

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Stunning gothic church, which we later learnt was almost fully destroyed during WW2 and rebuilt from pretty much scratch.  The Chateau du Willem was equally impressive…

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and the view from the top stunning…

They even give you an iPad to go around with, shine it on the walls and see what the place was like in it’s 3D/360view glory.

Back to the house for a late lunch before I got back on the road – the fantastic weekend over and a 6hr drive home.

Left with a little sadness, a lot of happiness and good feelings, and a great wish to return.  Drive home was no problem – arrived home round 10:30pm.

Since then?  Skyped almost every night and planned next visit :D

May everyone feel this happy xx

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