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..