New Routines

I’ve meant to post several times during the last week or so, but as you can imagine, its been busy.  We’ve also been going to bed really early in what feels like an alcohol-free drunken stupor.  I guess the jet lag just takes longer when you asking you body to make this big a shift.

Its been interesting having the holidays as our first impressions of Manila.  The streets have been relatively car-free (sorta) but the shopping malls have been heaving.  Today is the first day of “normal” as everyone is back from vacation.  So we’ll see what “normal” looks like in the grocery store at 10am this morning when I go out shopping (again).  Here’s a few of our new routines as we work at making everything new around us feel like home:

1.  Exploring.  On foot.  We don’t have a car yet and as we are in a city, exploration is limited only by the soreness of our feet.  So we’ve done a lot of miles walking around our neighborhood.  We’re currently surrounding by many new skyscrapers.  Both residential and commerical, completed and in-progress.  In fact, there must be about a dozen new skyscrapers going up around up I count what I can see from each direction.  There are plenty of empty grass plots too, awaiting the construction on the next tower.  This area used to be an American army base, a long way away from the city center, but now it considered metro manila and catching up fast.  Lots of interesting sculptures around too.  Here’s a close up of the one in the first photo:

The three trees are a metal sculpture.  Pretty cool!

2. Shopping.  You can get anything and everything here.  We haven’t really begun to see the extent of it, but it clear that you get find almost anything…  As the main focus has been getting food in the house – as the cupboard is literally bare – we have done numerous foot tours to the nearest supermarket at a giant shopping mall called Market Market!.  MM is a four storey mall that includes a department store, a fashion bazaar, a furniture bazaar, restaurants, a food court, a mini funfair for the kids, 60 open air market stalls, and what must be 200+ stores.  Oh and there’s a big supermarket in the basement.  Shopping there on Christmas eve for basic food items was a nightmare.  Crowds like you wouldn’t believe.  But I’ve learnt that arriving at 10am when they open gives me about 1.5 hours of sane shopping time before the crowds start arriving for lunch.  The following photo doesn’t give any kind of idea of the masses of people, but when you are in the thick of it, whipping out your camera is not an option: Latham and I got a kick out of the sculptured hedges that were made into the shape of different animals with plastic heads poking out:On a completely unrelated note, here’s one more photo of the giant snails we keep meeting on our travels.  Latham’s head included for scale:

That’s all folks.  Off to buy a mop.  Sick of washing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees!

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