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lunedì 3 marzo 2014

Manila in a day

Well let's start by saying that I am probably not the best guide to this city since I was there for 24 hours, last January and did not see too much of it but I was also told that there isn't in fact too much too see in Manila. Wrong ? Right? Who knows, I only know I was coming back from Boracay and exhausted since I had a true sleepless night, one of those when you can't sleep a wink. Know what I'm talking about? My flight had been delayed incredibly like the majority of all flights from the island, but I was told that it is very common. I took a very nice hotel in Makati, one of the nicest areas of the city, suggested by a very nice girl I met in Boracay and pampered myself a little. Makati is made of malls and tall buildings, very modern yet very nice I thought. While I was wondering around like a zombie I happened to stumble across this lovely place called Ginza Bairin Tonkatsu. Now who likes Japanese cuisine knows what tonkatsu is: a yummy cutlet like specialty usually made of pork. I tried the vegetarian tonkatsu made of tofu and served with organic rice and cabbage with potato salad. It was simply de-li-cious. The place is very nice and there is a free refill of cabbage and rice any time you want it. Places like this are one of those Asian things I miss the most when I go back home. I then was so tired and basically collapsed in my hotel room which was nearly frozen for the air conditioning (one of those things about Asia I don't miss when I go back to Europe). The next day my friend suggested that I should go to the old parte of the city called Intramuros where there are traces of the old Spanish domination. To be honest is not so interesting to us Europeans, for obvious reasons and I mostly enjoyed the ride in the tricyle I took in the narrow streets more than the monuments themselves. Judge for yourselves. To get there from Makati and back takes almost two hours because of the traffic, which is dreadful. The taxi drivers have all sorts of objects next to the steering wheel mostly religious simbols, but also dogs with their heads moving at every movement of the car, flowers , hearts, and any other kind of stuff which makes the taxi look like a Xmas tree.I found it very funny and cute at the same time. An alternative to taxi is jeepneys widly used by the locals but advised against for tourists. If you don't know where you're going exacly do not take a jeepney, -I was told- or you'll get lost in Manila and you don't want that to happen. Manila turned out not to be one of the cities I like better in Asia but I had a really good time there. I met my friend I had known in Boracay and she took me in these giant malls for lunch and to buy things to take back home. I love Asian Malls: I remembee the ones in Singapore and Bangkok. You can easily spend the whole day there and find whatever you want even if you're not looking for it in that moment. My favourite was Greenbelt which has 5 or 6 buildings and even a park. You can easily walk from one mall to the other: they are all connected to each other, and find yourself immersed in that shopping heaven. After many hours of walking and shopping (I even managed to have a fast mani-pedi the results of which were fantastic) some shops were about to close and multitudes of people started piling out of the malls and onto the streets to go home. The night was falling and I also had to make my way to the airport. I was sorry I did not stay more because I spent a really nice day with my new friend I hope to see again one day always in Manila or in another heavenly island like Boracay. But that's another story which I will tell in one of my next posts. I left with the melancholy I always get when I leave Asia. My good friend from Turin would probably say I am Asia addicted like her and maybe she's right. I am happy I managed to go to the Philippines and next time I go ( because I really want to go back ) it will be again through Manila. Ba-bay!
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