I don’t even know where to begin. It’s been a whirlwind 48 hours and we are just beginning to find our feet.
But we are here! Finally here after years and years of planning and months of saving we have finally arrived.
We didn’t get off to the best of starts. Well, I say ‘we’ but it was all me. I may have made the rookie mistake of ending up at the wrong Heathrow terminal… but hey! We got here in the end.
Manila, Manila, Manila.
Our guidebook describes it as a ‘baptism of fire’. That’s pretty spot on. It’s noisy, hot and so heavily polluted that you can feel the coating of filth on your lungs. It’s quite the inaugural stop, especially for Asia-newbie Ryan. If my China trip hadn’t been so fresh in my mind, I think it might have been pretty overwhelming..
Never ones to sit still for long, we headed straight for a walkabout.
We are staying in Makati, the heart of Manila’s business district. Although lacking personality, this area of town is home to slick skyscrapers and a handful of western expats (a worryingly large percentage of whom can be found salivating over prostitutes in Makati’s red-light district).
Avoiding lecherous old men, we headed to our closest green space to frolic amongst the trees. Ryan needs a run about in the open after a couple of hours in the big smoke. These small pockets of green are a perfect respite from the unending barrage of Manila’s streets.
As the heat of the day cools, the park swarms with joggers and dance troupes (random I know- does anyone know why there’s so many dance groups?!) and its a great place to people-watch.
We then headed to a local night market, slap bang outside of our hostel.
We sipped 70p San Miguel and listened to a heavy-rock band who covered classics like ‘Final Countdown’. Only in Manila, eh?
It’s going to take us a while to get used to the fact that this is our life now. I can normally turn on ‘traveller mode’ like a light-switch but this time it feels different. Maybe it’s the shock of this mental city, or the lack of other travellers to talk to. I feel perfectly comfortable but still like a tourist or outsider, yet to fully immerse myself in this new crazy life of mine. I think I just need a tan.