Katja and Arne's travel stories

Last day in Manila

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We get up early and peek out of the window, and behold! It’s sunny again.

Sunshine selfie

Sunshine selfie

After a couple of days it’s good to have dry weather again. Especially since we’re moving to a hotel closer to the airport today. If we were up early today it’s nothing compared to what we need to do tomorrow. Our plane leaves at 6:50 and we need to be at the airport three hours before. You do the math, but any which way you and up we’re getting up early tomorrow.
We head over to Bliss for a last yoga session here in Manila. The instructor is very good, but I honestly did only understand thirty percent of what she says. A lot of the people here in Manila speak English a bit faster than necessary and thereby swallow some of the words and are generally inarticulate. It’s no problem, but if you go here be aware that it’s ok to “beg your pardon” or “sorry” your way to a second shot at understanding.
In the yoga practice I can feel that I’ve done little of it lately. We did some hip opening exercises today and I almost cried. Damn, that hurt, but then again it only proved I should do more of it.
After yoga we went back and showered before doing a quick packing while the washer did our training clothes. We’re gonna try to travel in Myanmar with only our two small backpacks and must plan a bit for that to happen.
Right now we’re sitting at Mondo juice bar for a breakfast of champions: Eggs, bacon, hash browns, juice and coffee.

We enjoy our good breskfast and drinks and stay a little longer as the internet is way faster than in the room. We finally head back and pack the last of our things and get on our way. We get into Taxi UVB423. I know this because you should always make a note of the number of the Taxi you use. Hopefully you’ll never need it again, but in case of trouble it may come in handy. We have not used taxi since we came up from Batangas and had forgotten how much hassle it it’s to get one in this city. Fortunately we’re in between rush hours so there were no arguing about the fare as we first got hold of one. We also got to meet the administrator off the place we’ve lived on these last few nights. Marisol just got there in time to say hello, and it was nice. It’s always good to have connections like her in a city like Manila. Were likely to come back and then she might be able to set us up in such accommodation again.

We got an email yesterday that the packages we’ve sent was under priced and we had to come back to the post office to pay the difference. It almost got lost as spam, but luckily we got it and are heading there now. Katja will run in and take care of business while I wait out in the cab. Don’t want that trouble with hailing a new one. As Katja venture inside I try to communicate with the driver about our next stop the hotel we’re we’ll spend our last night. Finally he gets the address and serve into the street again. My clear and unmistakably STOP! makes him break hard and look back quizzically.,”Not without my wife, it will get me in big big trouble”, this makes him laugh and he clearly understands that situation. So now he’s outside smoking, I’m slowly roasting here in the car while Katja’s taking care of business. In a flash. (That one’s for Katulong Guro Leif)
In a flash was a clear exaggerating unfortunately. Katja spent about 45 minutes in there and in her words it played out something like this:

I came in through the back door and passed a lot of dark rooms with a lot of post boxes. Finally I came to the security guard we passed when we were here last. I figured I had break this into three parts
1 getting stamps for five letters
2 sending a small parcel to my mother with excess clothing
3 the main reason we’re here, to pay the difference in cost for the previous mailed packages.
First off I asked for the teller Rosalinda as mentioned to me in the mail. “Sorry ma’am, not available, please sit down. ”
The little efficient person inside me made me go to the counter for stamps, instead of sitting down. Stamps went smoothly. I checked off the first bullet on my list. Still no Rosalinda.
I asked the stamp lady if I could send the small parcel from her counter. “No ma’am, parcel is counter number two.”
In counter number two they asked:”hello ma’am, you want to served parcel? No box to send it in? You need to buy box at counter number five. Size three ma’am. ”
Rushed over to counter number five and paid my 31 pesos for a box size three, and went back to counter two.
Still no Rosalinda, but I got the parcel away, but not without some questioning;”by air, ma’am?”
“How much is that? ”
“Very expensive ma’am. By boat maybe? ”
“How much is that? ”
“Cheaper! ”
Ok, so it was a lot cheaper. 800 vs 2700 pesos. Two down from the list, and the Rosalinda appeared.
“Oh, hello ma’am. Norway?”
I confirmed and asked if I could just pay the difference and be on my way. With the Taxi waiting outside. But no, I had put myself with a Norwegian address as the sender. After much to and from and with the help of the third party we agreed that Rosalinda is the sender. New forms to be filled out, the difference to be paid and I could leave the building. Just under an hour, if I only was as lucky as Arne and could chill all the time.

Then we sat stuck in traffic for another half hour, did a wrong turn that cost us another ten minutes, and then the driver said something unintelligible and bolted out of the car. We stood in a four lane street and he crossed the oncoming two lanes and jumped into the bushes. He needed to pee, obviously bad enough to keep the traffic waiting while business was being done. This is probably the only time no one was honking their horn during the whole trip.

We found the hotel, checked in and left again straight away. Let’s find lunch.
We walked to Mall of Asia but we did a little extra walking and passed through a area that included new experiences. It’s evidently a Jeepney station, but there is clearly also an area where people live on the streets. We saw washing of clothes, but also more intimate body washing. These walks and the impressions they leave behind makes us appreciate even more where we come from, what we have and the social structures of Norway.

Over at the mall we get lunch with a couple of local Filipino dishes. Beef salpicado and Liempo. Very good, and then we go on our mission.

Getting the visa picture taken

Getting the visa picture taken

We need photos for turning in the visa application to Thailand, printout of the application forms and a printout of the ticket to Thailand. After a bit too and from we got it all done and find a foot salon. Or something beauty-ish where they can do a rub down of our feet. We should have taken some pictures of this. We got a decent enough scrub and they took off about a kilo of dead hard skin from under my feet (the price for training Martial arts barefoot), but when my feet got covered in green goo I was more sceptical. “What’s this? ” “Feet mask, sir.” Yeah, right. When you add the pinkish fluid she sprayed under my feet, to what we didn’t really catch a name, I feel like I’m walking on sunshine here. Jokes aside, my feet are soft and nice, even though they are still pink around the toe nails and underneath.
We walk home and enjoy our last night here in Manila. The temperature is nice and we go in and out of stores in search of a little fruit for evening meal. As earlier written is it hard to find vegetables and fruits in places like 7/11 and it’s like which are plentiful around here. We finally struck gold at Family Mart and got some pre sliced fruit.

The hotel offers a fantastic shower experience, except for the drain that barely works. An early lights out, as the Alarm it’s set for 3:00 tomorrow.

I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life… if you are interested in something , no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.

-Roald Dahl

Author: arnber

Humongen! The big guy! The man, the myth, the legend! And then theres' me. The nice guy in the house. The man without cooking skills, but with five stars on the Playstation. Boss at work, relaxed at home. What you see is what you get. Life is good. I choose it to be.

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