Actually I'm in Makati City but being that its one of the cities that make up metro Manila its the same thing.
Anyway I got here Thursday night around 11pm, I had a car service deliver me to the hotel which was real nice considering I didn't spot the currency exchange in the airport and thus didn't have any local currency. The hotel Citadines Salcedo is a nice hotel in the european style. The room has a card reader by the door which turns on the electricity for the room, you leave your room key there when you come in and take it when you leave although I've already forgotten it once and locked myself out.
It took me awhile to get to sleep and then had a hard time sleeping. Even though I was exhausted my body knew it was daytime back home and just wouldn't let me sleep. I finally got a couple hours snoozing before I got up to have breakfast. I wussed out and didn't try the Chinese breakfast which has some kind of chicken and a century egg. I'm told century eggs are kind of like aged cheese. I don't like cheese and I'm not super excited about eggs either so it just doesn't seem like a good idea. On the other hand when am I going to get another chance? Instead I had the cinnamon bun french toast which came with some of the best bacon I've ever had.
After breakfast I slept some more and then headed out to try and get some money changed. It turns out that Friday was Independence day here in the Philippines so the banks weren't open. There are private money changers but I couldn't find any. Out of desperation I tried an ATM which then ate my card. I called my bank and got the card canceled so fortunately nothing was stolen but its even more uncomfortable not having that fall back. I also didn't want to use my Visa card since I've had bad luck with them shutting the card off when I'm out of the country. Turns out this was a good idea. I'd forgotten to tell them I was traveling until I was in Tokyo, fortunately my cell phone uses wifi so it was easy to tell my bank I'm traveling. Sadly when you do that they then call home and you have to talk to them again before its really okay. Angie texted me to tell me they had called so I could call again and finally get it straightened out so that PROBABLY won't be a problem...
I spent a couple hours walking around malls looking for money changers and not finding them. I went through three different malls the most interesting being the Greenbelt which is actually a series of normal indoor malls linked by outdoor sections which were mostly restaurants. There is some security in these areas like I told you about yesterday but they didn't really mind me much. In one of the outdoor sections I found some really cool koi ponds:
There appear to be feeding systems where the fish are clustered and they're just going crazy for it.
In the Glorietta mall I found this:
Its kind of a sad little place with a couple coolers, LED lights and strangely some stand mixers... I didn't even go in but maybe I'll go back and get some more pictures, the Coleman guys on Facebook thought the picture was pretty cool.
In the end I never found any place to change money and was too nervous to use my Visa card so I couldn't buy anything. Finally late last evening I got a room service pizza which was pretty terrible but held me over, the nice thing is that since I was up during a time I'd normally be sleeping I never really got hungry.
Today I did much better but I'll save that for my next post.