First Glimpses of the City

Its Christmas Eve and we went out for a walk in around Fort Bonafacio, our area of Manila.  Then came back and had a swim in the pool.  Its cool (for Manila) – only about 75 degrees today I would guess, but still pretty humid.  Lots of smog too.  Here are some first pics from our apartment windows.  I tried to take a few long and closer shots to give a sense of perspective.  The fuzziness you see are a mixture of the smog, photographing through tinted windows and the reflection of the glass…so sorry for the quality…but it should give you some idea:

Here’s a long shot of the living room from the dining room.  Everything is sparsely furnished until our stuff gets here:

A little closer.  Note the floor to ceiling glass windows:

Sitting on the sofa and looking out, the golf course takes up a lot of the closer view.  The large very attractive pool is down below on the left.  To the right, the towers of the financial district (Makati).   You can also see the sea in the far middle horizon, but the camera can’t pick up that detail:

Crisper pictures to be had out of my kitchen window, as I am not battling the sun on the glass so much.  (Panoramic views all round from every room):

Let the Train Take the Strain

So here it is …my first promised blog post from the start of our new adventures.  The blog is straight out the WordPress box.  No fancy graphics or RSS feeds…and sorry, no pictures either as I can’t figure out what I did with my camera.  (Must be in one of the boxes?)  I will get to all of that, but here from our suitcase-strewn apartment in Arlington is at least some word of what’s going on..…

Robert arrived late Weds night by train.  Spent the night and planned to drive the car back to DC late Thurs afternoon ready to be picked up by the shipping company for transport to Manila.  An early call on Thurs morning brought news that snow was hitting Virginia and Maryland and they wanted the car earlier.  So Robert split early and headed into what turned into 5 hours of snow-inflicted gridlock on 295, but he made it despite bad drivers, icy roads and a very low gas gauge.

And, we too,  did it.  10 hours of packing, 17,482 items later…all the stuff made it into the van and Latham and I headed to the train.  Packers were done by 5:45pm, and our train was 7:55pm – pretty good timing, I thought.  We had enough gap not to panic, but not too much time to sit around in the freezing cold.   Researching the timing was tough. The packing company “does not advise that you travel the same day as your pack out as we are not liable for any expenses incurred if there are delays…” blah blah blah.  Of course, I had no bloody choice and had to do my best estimate (without much input from them) and turned out to be a good one.

So we bought the Amtrak tickets and were on the Trenton NJ platform with 10 minutes to spare.  I noticed the NY bound train was an hour late and thought “glad that’s not us” and boarded our train which was on time.  All went well until about an hour into our 2.5 hour we stopped just shy of Wilmington, Delaware and we told that overhead cables were down in multiple locations between Wilmington and Baltimore due to the snow.  We limped into Wilmington station.   The announcer said that they weren’t sure how long the delay would be but all trains north and south of Baltimore had come to a stop.  One hour went by,,,, two….. three.  After 3 hrs of sitting on the Wilmington platform at 11:30pm, they announced it would be at least a couple more hours until the train would move again.  We bedded down for the night across two seats each.  Covered with my coat and with my bag as a pillow it wasn’t too bad, certainly a lot better than a plane. I caught a little sleep.  At about 2am the train starting slowly moving and crawled to Baltimore at half speed.  Finally we got into DC at about 4:30am and a taxi cab ride later, we stumbled into Robert’s apartment at about 5am.  Not the perfect end to a very long day…some might say unlucky…but I say lucky as our train wasn’t canceled (like so many others) and we didn’t have to turn around and go back to our (non-existant) home….  Til the next time I have a reliable internet connection…