Saturday, June 13, 2015

A good day in the Philippines

You'll remember that one of my biggest problems here in Makati City was money, it suddenly occurs to me that this trip is kid of an allegory for life but lets leave that there. Saturday (I'm writing this a day later, I really needed some sleep) I got up determined to fix my money problem, public holiday over, banks supposedly open at 9am, I had breakfast at 8:30 and immediately headed to Citibank. I figured an American bank would be a good choice. There I found that contrary to the information I'd found online BANKS ARE CLOSED ON SATURDAY. The guard at the bank (there are private guards all over) gave me directions to a private money changer that started with him pointing down the street and continued with "go down that way to the stop light then turn left." Okay easy right? Except the street t'd into another street with no stoplight. ARRRGHH!

I should also mention I managed to get blisters on my feet on Friday. I was wearing Teva sandals for the first time this year and my feet aren't used to them. Combine that with it being hot and humid and my feet must have sweat so although I've switched to boots and socks (ahh, socks!) my feet hurt and walking is kind of painful.

Anyway I wandered around a little and managed, totally by accident to find a currency exchange in a place where nobody suggested I look. If you're in Makati City and need it look on Tordesillas just west of Jaime C. Velasquez, just off Jaime Velasquez park.

Filipino money is pretty. Thats about 4200 php or just under $100.

The park I mentioned above has a big market day on Saturday so since I was there anyway I wandered around some.

From left to right, front row: dried mangos, chocolate croissant and dark roast coffee beans supposedly roasted on Friday. Back row: Passion fruit/tamerind juice and water I got a 7-11.

The passion fruit juice will probably kill me, its not sealed, probably not pasteurized and sketchy as hell but they gave me a sample and I liked it. The chocolate croissant was fantastic and I'm glad I bought 2. The mangoes are the first thing I bought and it was kind of an interesting experience. People kind of ignored me up until I bought something at which point I became EVERYBODY's friend. Its very different from the Caribbean where you're everybody's friend all the time and there they touch you, Filipinos don't seem to be very touchy with strangers. I appreciate that, I'm not very touchy either.

Sadly I'd just had breakfast before I got to the market, there were many things I'd have tried if I could have fit them in my stomach:

This is gelato, I don't know if I'd have gotten the candied bacon but I'd have for sure tried the dark coffee.

I find it interesting how many US companies are here. Again all I can compare it to is south of the US, in the Caribbean you see some US companies but more south American and European. Here most of the stores and chain restaurants are US companies. You might have noticed I bought water at 7-11 and it was just like every other 7-11 I've ever been to. Also right across the street from my hotel:

I'm referring to the Krispy Kreame, Mercury Drug seems to be a local chain and theres lots of them.

Also right by my hotel is a Starbucks and I saw many more of them walking around Friday. I also saw The Coffee Bean, KFC, actually I've seen lots of KFC, McDonalds, Burger King, and pretty much every other US chain you can name.

Today my plan is to breakfast earlier so I can try somewhere new for lunch. Thus far in country I've been only eating 2 meals a day. Interestingly my stomach seems okay with that. The meals are relatively small but filling and I don't seem to get hungry like I think I should. I'm not complaining, maybe I'll lose some weight on this trip.

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