We designed Sunday, 9/28 in our schedule to be a day of rest. Ambitious as we are, we figured we’d need a whole day to get over the jetlag. As it turned out, I slept a grand total of 24.5 hours between leaving the house on Friday and 10PM the following Wednesday (10/1 – 5 days – average: 4.9 hrs a night). And in fact, a full 25% of that was thanks to this Sunday, but I’ll get to that. BTW, Faith’s stats: 31.5 hrs, 5 days, 6.3 hrs a night average. I know I sound cooler, more pitiable, whatever, but she’s used to getting way more sleep than me, so….
Anyway, Sunday was to be a day of rest, with big adventures beginning Monday, and meeting John-John on Wednesday. We got up, found out the full extent of the laptop detestation, and headed to breakfast. The room reserved for us by the adoption agency at the hotel (the InterContinental Manila) includes the buffet breakfast at the restaurant in the hotel, called the Jeepney Deli. Sounds like a pretty simple place, but we walked in there and were absolutely amazed at the HUGE beautiful buffet. You knew the kind … way more food than would even allow you to try everything, let alone eat a reasonably-sized portion of anything. We immediately bonded with one of the chefs, and started trying various Philippino foods. Thus began Jeff’s descent into pork hell this week. Clearly, pork and rice are the staples of the Philippine diet. I’m all over the rice (which we’ll likely now be serving with almost every meal), but if I never see another pig again it’ll be too soon.
So, we thoroughly enjoyed the buffet, and walked out fat and happy. Next, we decided to visit a bazaar that takes place at the hotel every Sunday. It was described as a must-see, but we totally underestimated it. The longer we walked around, the huger we realized it was. We bought Faith a shirt, and a couple little things for John, as well as some treats to take to the orphanage for the kids. We also met a nun named (I kid you not) Mother Maximus. She cornered us in one room, and described in detail the schools her convent ran and what they did for children all over the island. It was really cool, and we were eager to help them. So, we asked them to set aside a little statue which we thought would be a good souvenier / gift, and agreed amongst ourselves (Faith and I) to buy some food they had there. But we wanted to come back later, after having checked out the rest of the bazaar, so that we wouldn’t have to lug around what we bought.
After another solid hour of wandering, we decided we were hungry. So, we left the bazaar for lunch with the intention of grabbing some lunch, checking out the mall, then returning to the bazaar to buy the stuff we’d agreed we liked. We left the hotel and crossed the street to the huge mall there (called Glorietta). Actually, there are three malls – SM, Glorietta, and another I can’t remember at the moment. We went only to Glorietta at first.
The mall was huge, with four massive sections. Many of the shops were the same as ones you’d find in America. What was different is that we walked into the end of a pretty huge Catholic church service happening in one of the big corridors in the mall. That was pretty cool. Also found a place called BreadTalk, which is a small local chain of bakeries. Very tasty stuff there. Faith particularly liked (and we’ve gotten several of these) a jelly donut like thing with strawberry and creme fillings. YUM! Cursed lack of metabolism!
We also found a store called “LandMark”, which had a shoe section bigger than most entire stores. And the handbags! Don’t get me started! I mean, how can a woman need so many shoes and purses!? Becca would have drooled herself into a coma. Later we found massively inexpensive shoes for John-John there too. But I priced some electronics while at the mall, and they were as expensive if not more than in the US. Most everything else is much cheaper here, but not the tech. Just FYI.
We ate lunch at McDonald’s of all places (typically called “McDo” in the Philippines). Faith had fried chicken, which is served with rice and some sort of fat sauce … er … I mean gravy. I had their spaghetti, because I’m told it’s a favorite of Philippine children (and that John specifically really likes it). Plus, if you can’t get it in the States, then I have to try it, right?! Both were good, but the spaghetti was totally different than in the US. The sauce is very sweet and is clearly BBQ sauce-based, not marinara as we know it. Plus, it had chunks of hot dog in it. No wonder the kids love it!
By the time we’d McDo’d and BreadTalk’d, we were stuffed, and the heat, humidity and jet lag got the best of us. We got back to the hotel, and decided to lay down for a few minutes, then go back to the bazaar. Six hours later, we woke up. It was about 7PM, and the bazaar was long closed. We’d totally ditched Mother Maximus! NO!!! We felt SO bad, not to mention that (even for a non-superstitious person like myself) there’s something even more uncool about ditching a nun than anyone else. I had bad dreams about the Blues Brothers that night. Ugh.
So, after realizing that we were horrible people, we decided to wander around the pool and get to know the place a bit. We met a really nice guy named Ryan who works at the pool-side bar and restaurant. Great guy. We’ve gotten to know him pretty well while we’ve been here.
Ate a light dinner at the Jeepney. Had fresh lumpia, which was awesome. Had a peanut sauce on it, and wasn’t fried (which was a big deal to me). Also split a tofu-veggie-yellow-curry dish of some kind. Not like the Thai I know and love, but still good. I thought of Chris Miller with every bite of delicious tofu. lol
After that, it was late night packing and such, as we prepared to check out early the next day to visit Chosen Children (more on them later). It was going to be a pretty hectic Monday to follow our relaxing day of rest (I should say so – we were unconscious for most of it). But as it turned out, plans changed. But that’s the next entry.