Wednesday, 16 August 2017

I simply NEEDED more envelopes, LOL. YVR to MNL

Oh, what a day.  Or should I say: Oh, what a night !

I get the dry laundry from the hotel drier at 11 pm.

At 2:15 am, I drag myself on my gums to the lobby to check out.  The taxi (there is no public transit to the airport at this hour) arrives at 2:30 and the driver is strangely awake and hyper.  I fall asleep.

Last time I only got a middle seat in the plane, but this time I've secured an aisle seat.  Not on the sides but in the middle block of 4 seats.   

And the three seats to my left remain empty.   Many people remember that it is possible to sleep semi-comfortably on three airplane seats if one flips up the arm rests and bends one's knees

I can now report that a 6 foot tall person can STRETCH OUT completely on FOUR seats and still not have any extremities protrude into the aisle.   Karma came through and I sleep 7 of the 12.5 hours of the flight ;-)

Waiting for the washroom, I open the blind in the very back of the plane, look out, and see one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.  It is surreal.  We're flying at 36,000 feet over open ocean and as far as the eye can see there are sparse individual cumulus clouds and their reflection in the ocean is crystal clear.  Similar to this picture stolen from the web, but infinitely more serene and beautiful.  I should have taken a picture because I will probably never see that sight again in my lifetime.  It was surreal !

There are two people in front of me at the immigration line-up and I'm out. Back in The Philippines !

Since I smoked my last cigarette at Vancouver airport, I approach a group of people in the smoking area with a 20 peso bill in my hand and ask to buy some cigarettes.  An about 35 year old man with a strange effeminate look (NO, I'm not judging, I just noticed that one never sees that look in Vancouver but that it is perfectly acceptable and normal here) waves away the money and hands me a Marlboro Menthol cigarette.  Namaste !  

Foreign Exchange Booth.  

 I found some English Pounds and Korean Wons from previous travels in my travel chest at Grandma's.   

Brief contemplation revealed that I have absolutely NO DESIRE to visit any of those two countries EVER AGAIN, so I brought the currency to exchange it for Philippine Pesos.  About CAD$ 150 worth.  

I wasn't too happy with my no-coffee-cup-in the-room 'fancy' and very modern hotel 3 weeks ago, so I booked somewhere else.  And a good thing I did, LOL.

I arrive at the hotel at 9:30 am and they don't even point out that I'm here WAY before check-in time. 
No, they just hand me the key and show me to the newly renovated room in this ancient property.


After drinking one of the provided instant coffees, I visit a local grocery store around the corner (If you buy from 7-Eleven, the money probably does NOT go to the people you see there).  San Miguel beer and Marlboro cigarettes (I DID ask what the locals smoke and that was the strange answer. Must try local smokes next time).

I’m HUNGRY.  Makes sense because the last meal I had was at 7 am in the plane.  NO, I’m NOT going to McDonald’s or Burger King, not even to Jollibee.  Google maps reveals a Kuya J Restaurant just around the corner.    I’m the only Caucasian in here.  A good sign !

Not my picture, but my lunch is on the web, LOL
I order something that is best described as stir-fried glass vermicelli with seafood, pork, and vegetables.  Yes, an odd mixture but it is very good. Cost of the huge plate: 175 PhP, about CAD$4.  The menu also lists Sisig (think EVERY part of a pig), but I still need to build up courage to order that one, LOL.  

Total cost of the food and a bottle of San Miguel: 240 pesos = CAD$ 6.  WOW.

I'm hungry again.  There is supposed to be a supermarket not far from here.
I can't find the supermarket.  It's hidden behind all those stalls.
It's HOT.  Traffic of both people and vehicles is mind-boggling !

But while I'm walking through this mayhem, I notice a large partially empty space on the other side of the street with a LARGE building in the centre of it. People are streaming towards it.

I follow them and am dumb-founded.  It is 3 pm on a Wednesday.  The HUGE church is PACKED.  People are touching the nearest Madonna statue with outstretched arms and closed eyes while listening to the sermon.
People are listening from outside the doors because the inside of the church is packed.
I've been to Cologne Cathedral and to Notre Dame, but that couldn't prepare me for this.
No wonder the pope had to come here !

I walk by the 7-Eleven 4 times without seeing it.  The wall of street stands is simply too dense.  Fortunately, 7-Eleven was smart enough to put a store sign HIGH up on the building's wall, so it can be seen above the roofs of the mad stand hedge.

I'm looking for wine.  And what do I find????   ALTAR WINE with 14% alcohol !
NO, I don't buy it.  That would be overdoing it, LOL

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