The Philippines. First stop: Manila
So my days as a solo traveller have come to an end as I fly over to meet my family in the Philippines. Although I am going to miss the sense of independence and unpredictable adventure, my weary rucksack and I were glad to be taking a break. And staying put for more than three days! However it wasn't quite the luxury I expected...
Manila is a strange city with no real centre but a constant flow of traffic and weird smells of food and pollution wafting around. It creates the atmosphere of stress or as my dad says of a real soul. So I guess what I'm trying to say that Manila is like marmite: you either love it or you hate it. I shall reserve judgement until the end. Now my auntie's place was brand new but she had chosen the weekend that my parents are I were arriving to actually start moving things in. So the peaceful homely comforts I was craving turned into moving boxes, mending windows and hand washing all my clothes!
However we did get around and do things. The little sidecars were great too. So different from the tuk tuks. We explored the centre and the old Spanish quarter with the cathedral. We got hounded by the horse and cart however is initial proposal of 300 pesos for the whole ride sounded tempting. Perhaps too good to be true. Two hours in and on the bridge to Chinatown (?!) I suddenly realised. Mum double checks that this is still included in the 300 and be replies. "Oh no it's not 300 the whole trip but per half an hour" ??? Uhoh... Luckily mums Filipino skills saved the day and she simply handed him 300 plus 50 tip and walked off. Go mum!
As for the rest of my time in the capital I was mainly getting my nails done at the local shopping mall shoe mart. £1.25 for a manicure I can't really say no. So it's difficult to say whether I love or hate my mothers place of birth. But one thing is for sure, it isn't called scam city for nothing!