A spends a lot of time in Latin America for work and he was shocked at just how similar Manila is to other major Latin American cities such as Lima, El Salvador, and even Mexico City in some ways. The old Spanish influence and influx of American goods produced a "south of the border" feeling. Even Tagalog had clear Spanish influences. In both writing and speaking, it is almost like pidgin Spanish, if there was such a thing. A was shocked at how much he could understand.
|For some reason, there is a golf course running through a major monument. Never saw anyone actually playing golf!|
Maybe it was the jetlag, but for some reason everything in Manila seemed just a bit off to us. We had some trouble getting out the airport when we first arrived. Nobody told us we needed to save our baggage claim tickets, so somewhere between the plane and the exit to the airport they disappeared, costing us about 10 minutes at the "baggage waiver" counter obtaining paperwork that would give us permission to take our bags. Without our claim tickets, we could not leave the airport. I am happy that the airport staff is so vigilant about preventing luggage theft, but I just wanted to get out of the airport. A got so flustered that at our next stop, the ATM, he only took out about $9. Needless to say, that wasn't going to cut it, even in a developing country.
Next we popped in a cab to head over to our hotel... the Marriott, which also happened to be almost literally on the runway. It did not take long to get there. The hotel was a very standard Marriott except for one thing - the security. Now Manila has a reputation for being a pretty dangerous city. In fact, I had been making A crazy with all of my nagging about how it wouldn't be safe for us to so much as leave the airport. Despite my concerns, the security at the hotel was pretty shocking. Cars are sniffed by bomb dogs, while the trunks and undersides are checked by armed men. Once you get up the driveway, you must pass through a metal detector and have your bag searched before you can enter the building. Surveillance cameras keep a watchful eye over every nook and cranny. A began to mutter about how it was all overdone, and sure, Manila is dangerous, but nobody is going to mug us in the hotel. Then I reminded him that terrorists have a habit of blowing up Marriotts in this part of the world and it all clicked.
And now, it is time for bed, so that we can get up early tomorrow for our next flight, and the beach!