Friday, November 23, 2007

Traveling Around...

Hope everyone had a GREAT Thanksgiving! I know I did. I went to the IRRI Thanksgiving dinner and we had turkey and gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, and pumpkin pie. I ate way too much, but it was wonderful. We had it at the IRRI Staff Housing Guest House and it was outside in a garden, lit up and very tropical. It was so much fun! I also got to meet a lot more IRRI staff, so that was also great. It was also great to get some good ol' American food in my stomach. It's been a while. ;o)

Today, I went to Manila with Paul and Veronica. Aryn, if you think the traffic in Seattle is bad, you would be totally miserable on this trip. Los Banos is about 62 km south of Manila, about 40 miles. It took us about 2 and a half hours to get home on the bus! It took us about 2 hours to get there as well... it's almost in constant gridlock it seems. It was ok though, the bus was comfortable.

Manila is a very historical town. We visited the "Intramuros" (which means inside the walls). It's the historic part of the city, with walls that were built a long time ago, and a fort that was constructed in 1571. We were able to walk on top of the walls and walk around in the fort. It was also a national monument to the Philippine Jose Rizal. Inside the walls was the Manila Cathedral and San Augustin Cathedral (The oldest church in the Philippines.)

We then went to a museum devoted to Chinese culture and history in the Philippines. Paul and Veronica had never been there, so we decided to check it out. There was a bizarre video at the end, but I can't really explain it. We got a good laugh. After that, we went to the Mall of Asia, one of the largest malls in the world. And it was very large.

There are a lot of security checks in all public places here. Every time I go into a shopping center or public area, even on the bus, they check all bags and around the waist. I don't know what they're looking for, as they don't even really look at what is inside. But hey, I guess it makes people feel more secure.

Here are the pictures of our adventure in Manila:
Manila - Nov 23

So tomorrow night, the typhoon is supposed to come through. I'm watching it online, and checking to see how seriously I need to take it. No one here really seems to be worried, so I won't be. Jason and Sarah have offered to let me stay at their place for the night, so I might take them up on it. We'll see what the forecast says tomorrow afternoon.

Alrighty, have a great long weekend, and don't wear yourselves out too much doing all that crazy shopping!


Katie Wright said...

soo...did you get anything exciting at the mall of asia? good luck with the typhoon...doesn't sound like my kind of weather! i'll have you know that i did not go shopping on crazy shopping day...but i will someday i think! ok well i will talk at you later!

Aryn Shillair said...

So, there are a lot of natural disasters in Manila...I was reading about the cathedral...It was destroyed a couple times by earthquakes and once by a typhoon. Glad to hear that you're not worried about the weather. Stay dry!