Please forgive me. I have leapt forward in the alphabet to “P” because my sister and brother-in-law, John and Cindy, are serving a mission in the Philippines. I couldn’t resist the chance to visit the Pearl of the Orient and my beloved sister!
This was my longest flight time to date: 14 hours to Shanghai and 4 hours to Manila. I watched 8 movies. Can’t really sleep on a plane. It seems to me that Asians wear more face masks than we do. Anyone know why? I can’t say that I’ve ever sat so long that my butt hurt until now. But it did. And my eyes burned.
I was delighted that my flight arrived at night. Several impressions verified what Cindy has been sharing with me about the Filipino people she has grown to love. I felt like I was arriving in Las Vegas, or that the carnival was in town! So many colorful lights! Cindy says the people love to celebrate and any reason to decorate. The Christmas decorating begins in the fall!
The airport exit leads you down a ramp into a mass of humanity, where I heard Cindy call my name! It was impossible to spot her among the masses but I know if I kept walking she’d call again. What a happy reunion! We had an uneventful ride to their high rise apartment, and by uneventful I mean there wasn’t an accident! I happily fell into bed and slept blissfully.
My first day I thought it was appropriate to pamper myself while John and Cindy worked. Best to ward off any potential jet lag ailments. I had an AWESOME hot rock massage and then got a much needed haircut. My lovely massage therapist was so petite I have no idea how she handled my bulk! But it was an excellent massage.
I explored the area. It’s crazy that every popular American restaurant is here! Of course, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Olive Garden, TGIF, Outback, Denny’s, etc—all affording some non conventional fare, like breakfast Salisbury steak. But so much other great food to explore–not enough meals! We had Chinese food for dinner that was excellent.
Like any global metropolis, Manila exhibits startling contrasts: tragic homeless figures huddled against pillars girding freeway ramps; shantytowns built with detritus situated blocks from luxurious urban malls. This is always shocking. But I remind myself that in Nampa, Idaho, my creature comforts are juxtaposed by the fellow who lives in his pickup down the street, with his dog. I hope when my life is finished I’ve done enough to serve those less fortunate, realizing that all things in life are exercises in equilibrium.
I am happy to be here with my best friend in the world, experiencing this place and these lovely people.