albertina tangarife (belen1974) wrote,
albertina tangarife

Greetings from Intramuros, Manila, Philippines

A quick entry from the training facility in Intramuros. We got here Saturday around midnight after a HEINOUS 25+ hour trip (and a 1 day jump forward in time) and have been hanging out in Metro Manila since then. My time has consisted of traveling back and forth between the Japanese owned Manila Diamond Hotel near Manila Bay and an old colonial-style building in a neighborhood known as Intramuros.

I've been in work mode from 6:45am to about 7:00pm every day starting this past Monday. It's been absolutely exhausting and I am proud of myself that I am now able to stay up past 8:00PM. I certainly hope that when we start our vacation on Saturday morning I will have adjusted a little bit more so I'm able to cram as many activities into my few remaining days in the Philippines as possible.

FYI, our vacation starts Saturday and ends Monday afternoon/evening. I don't think I will be returning to the Philippines so I'm desparate to do, see, eat, smoke (only clove ciggies I got), and shop as much as possible. Just kidding on the shopping though b/c going on this mini-vacation to an island known as Boracay is going to cost a bundle.

We are exactly 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time so now it's 11:16AM here and 11:16PM (the night before) there. It's so difficult to fathom. I wonder what things will be like when space travel for mere mortals becomes a reality.

Much to my dismay I spotted a pair of geckos yesterday afternoon. It's amazing how much that has changed my ability to feel comfortable and relaxed here. Damn my eyes. Any thoughts on how to get over this? Should I just capture one and eat it? Will that knock some sense into me? I will try to bring myself to photograph them to at least expose myself to them more.

I have not yet heard from my doctor about the biopsy. I'm obviously procrastinating. But I will make myself give her my contact info so I can at least find out before I go on vacation, otherwise I will not know until next Tuesday afternoon when I return to Boston.

The food here is amazing. Even the ox I had yesterday sauteed with vegetables and curry. I did not know it was ox until much later. That explains why it tasted a little funny to me. Yet still yummy, sorta. I've had llama so why is ox troublesome? Maybe because I'm not clear on what it looks like. Will go google pics for it after this. Fruits are ripe and plentiful. Watermelon, ripe mango, papaya, grapes, green/orange/white canteloupe, and pineapple are abundant. The best thing ever though was green mango juice. I'm drooling just thinking about it. You can have it in shake format or juice format. I will be sure to have lots more of that during my vacation.

A bit info about the name Intramuros. In Spanish it means "between walls", which is so because a giant stone wall (maybe 20-30 feet tall?) surrounds this small neighborhood. This area was where the Spanish first established their base many years ago when they colonized the Philippines. The architecture is very colonial looking and in fact any new buildings must on the outside look colonial. We noticed a beautiful building and found out that it was a factory. One of the first churches in the whole of Asia is also located here.

OK I think I should probably go do some work now. I will try to log in once more, and maybe post some pictures, before Saturday morning (your Friday night).
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