Travel

Rain, Trains, Bowling and Icecream…

posted by saltybug.com 25/05/2015 2 Comments

Well we have had a reasonably quiet couple of weeks over here. We have been nursing our new baby Noodles and helping him settle into life with the Bugs. I thought it was a good opportunity for some down time. However we have had a couple of fun adventures to report on.

Noodles Update

Noodles waiting for the vet’s follow-up

Last Friday Noodles went to the vet for a follow up. He is happy, healthy and growing every day. When we first got him, he weighed in at 0.9kg. Now he is 1.5kg. Noodles knows how to be a puppy and has recently discovered the joys of digging up the garden, rolling in mud and playing fetch with balls.

Ten Pin Bowling

We went bowling. OK I know this is a very popular sport, this whole bowling thing. It’s just that I’m the person who has no interest in it. However when I get the chance to go, say for a social club do, or like this time; I actually really enjoy myself. It was never something I considered doing back home, I guess I never needed to. There are just so many more options that rate higher on my interest level. Over here though, we have to make do with what we have to keep the kids entertained.

BB waiting his turn

The heat of the day starts early and ends late so it is largely an indoor lifestyle – something we are still adjusting to. The humidity is so thick sometimes it is suffocating. So when my girlfriend said she was taking her boys bowling I thought ‘why not’. Off we went to the MegaMall which houses a cinema, bowling alley and ice skating rink. The kids were so excited and when we finally got our lane BB was jumping up and down trying to wait for his turn. I have to say watching little ones bowling balls is one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen. I laughed so hard, and got the greatest pleasure in this day. It was beautiful. The struggle to carry the balls on their own to the lane. Balls that are almost the size of the kids. The huffing and puffing to give a huge push. Then to watch the ball slowly, very very slowly rolling its way down the lane. About two minutes later at a guess – well it feels that long, the ball hits the pins. The joy and excitement on little faces is priceless. Happy dances just add to the fun. I am now a convert and we are looking for the next opportunity we get to take SB bowling so he can experience this hilarity.

Some things are Universal

Left Over Easter Eggs

What I just love to observe are the day to day goings on that are cross-cultural. No matter the country you see this stuff happen. OK there may be the odd exception. However it really came home to me on one occasion this last fortnight.

One night I was grocery shopping and the shopping center I went to was one of the only ones to sell Easter Eggs. As they were imported from Australia they were extremely expensive. Easter Eggs are not really given out here; it is more a Western thing. So there have been an abundance of Easter Eggs left on the shelves, and they are still there – now – because the prices have not been reduced! Anyway as I walked along the isle I came across this wonderful site. A fabulous universal trait experienced only at Easter Time. The cracked open and part eaten chocolate egg, on the shelf. I had a chuckle to myself.

 

This does NOT work

I was buying a takeaway coffee the other day in a super cool coffee shop in Makati. On the counter were these very cool small, beautifully wrapped chocolates. Of course my interest was struck up. Chocolate in very cool wrapping! What’s not to love? These chocolates are locally made using milk chocolate mixed with an odd choice of ingredients. That’s the kicker. That’s the point of difference – the flavour combinations. I looked at a few and was a little curious so the guy at the counter handed me the ‘most popular’ flavour. OK, why not let’s give it a try.

I got home and at a time that was right, when I could focus my attention I opened my little packet. SB looked with interest. The flavour I had purchased was soy sauce, toffee and black pepper. I handed SB a piece and together we took a bite. It took a moment as we carefully chewed and ensured the full flavour of the chocolate covered our taste buds. At first it was underwhelming. Then the aftertaste hit. A mix of soy and pepper. It was gross. Really gross. Really really really gross. It. Did. Not. Work. You can wrap something up as pretty as you like. That doesn’t make it taste good. The wrapping was pretty though…

Visit to the Post Office

The story continues…
I received two more notices of packages awaiting pickup. At last my hair product from Amazon had arrived! Since the groundwork had already been done I asked SB to get the directions for me from his work colleague so I could go on a field trip and check it all out. SB wasn’t sure that was a good idea but I was so excited by the adventure. The instructions I was given were ‘it is behind City Hall. Get out at City hall and ask the guard for directions’. Easy.

Pasig City Post Office – Parcel Collection Office

Luckily my friend let me use her driver and we went off first thing in the morning. I showed him my notices and said it was at City Hall and he said ‘No it’s not’, OK then. I will trust my driver. I am glad I did. The post office was a good kilometre away from City Hall!

The post office itself was an unassuming building. A blink and

The Post Office Waiting Room

you’d miss it building. A plain

doorway led into a small dirty room. A few chairs were set out as the waiting area and at the end of the room was a hole in the wall where you handed in your notice and collected your packages. The man behind the counter was wearing normal clothes, dirty and old. I signed a few documents and he handed me my packages. That was it. We got there early to avoid the crowds. Thank goodness. I could just picture this tiny room filled with people waiting patiently in the humid heat, sweat pouring out of their skin, creating that stench in the air of unclean flesh. The scent that makes you draw in your breath to avoid the full sting in your nostrils and down your throat. I collected my two packages and left.
 
I have my hair product at last! Is it as good as I was led to believe? I don’t care. It smells like coconut so as far as I’m concerned it’s fabulous!
 

The Latest in our ‘Exploring the Markets’ Adventure

Last Friday night was our ‘Exploring the Markets Adventure’. Well it was supposed to be. I found some night markets just up the road at Eastwood which is one of my most favourite shopping destinations here. It is a small city built for entertainment. Winding streets are filled with a range of eateries. A large shopping mall is filled with shops and more restaurants. Towers of Condo’s and office space give this place a real cosmopolitan vibe and it is just such a fabulous place to wander around in, getting lost with all the little walkways and short cut alleyways and exciting goings-on.

The markets are called the Levante Night Markets and are run by The Mercato Centrale Group. Opened in 2013, they are targeted to the residents of Eastwood and surrounding areas. The word ‘Levante’ means ‘yummy east’. A lot of night markets also cater to the call centre set, those who work shifts finishing late at night. Hot meals ready to go are an easy go-to when you walk out of the office at shift’s end.

Eastwood Central Mall

Arriving at Eastwood around 7pm, we stepped out of the taxi and stood on the edge of the road waiting to cross. Within seconds we suddenly felt a few very large rain drops fall on us. Seriously – rain? No, not just rain, torrential rain. We got across the road and under cover just as it hit. We thought it would pass in a few minutes so just walked up the mall checking out what was happening on this night. There is an art fair on at the moment and the main square was filled with marquis showcasing local artist’s wonderful work. Sadly the rain was fast turning the square into a swimming pool of epic proportions and the artists were frantically racing their works under cover of the main mall to prevent damage.

Milk Cow – Yum!

We were not sure how long this rain would last so we decided to treat the kids to ice-cream at a place I had read was one of the best in Manila.

Milk Cow is a small ice-creamery which is of Korean descent. It uses organic milk and honey sourced from Australia to make this creamy, sweet, gorgeous ice-cream. There is an interesting selection of ice-cream combinations including cotton candy (fairy-floss in Auslang), chocolate, sea salt, caramel and many other flavours.

We got the kids just a plain ice-cream cup and it was so delicious. I got the ice-cream with white chocolate sauce and choc chips. SB ate most of it – after he said he didn’t want any…The children and I agreed that every time we visit Eastwood we would come here for ice-cream. That is our new tradition. Now I’m looking for my next excuse to go shopping…

Levante Markets

Once we had finished our ice-cream the rain had slowed down enough for us to venture out. We found the Levante markets tucked away at the end of the main square, down a narrow walkway. Most of it was under water so we waded through almost ankle deep puddles to check out the food on offer. This was a small market. I am not sure if it was because of the art fair taking up a lot of space. The food was a range of traditional Pinoy fair and more European and Western meals such as pasta and kebabs. It was crowded and very wet with nowhere to sit and enjoy a meal because of the rain so we just walked on through and then headed back towards the main area of Eastwood to find somewhere suitable for dinner.

 

Flooded roads in Eastwood

After walking around and around getting totally lost in this maze of streets, walkways and arcades we found a place promising ribs and good rustic food. We went in and had one of the worst meals so far. Dodgy nacho’s and ribs that were, well, to be honest – questionable. As we were getting ready to leave the rain started again and we found ourselves once again walking through almost ankle deep flooding to find out way to the taxi stand. We negotiated a flat rate with a driver – something they do when the traffic and weather is bad to get a higher fair. As we pulled out of Eastwood the roads were suddenly dry and the traffic moved with ease. The rain had only fallen over this small area. On arrival home we expected to see some flooding but only two kilometres down the road, our place was still unaffected by the rain. Several hours later we got a bit of a downpour but nothing on what we had just experienced.

So in summary, we tried to visit night markets, it was too wet and instead we ate dodgy food but had awesome ice-cream. I still had an exciting time. I love walking in the rain. We will return another night and try this again.

Signs of Settling In

Fresh Mangoes, a gift from kind neighbours

The children got their first invitation to a birthday party the other day. One of the little girls who lives here in our complex is celebrating in a few weeks. It is wonderful to watch the passage of time with the children, and how they are starting to integrate with the other children here. The evenings are quite lovely sitting out on the lawn talking to other mums as our children run around and play together. Watching FB play ring’o’rosies the other night filled me with nostalgia of a time when I was a child and held hands with my friends singing this rhyme. Getting this invitation means so much to me. It has been extremely hard watching the children trying to break in to already formed groups. At times it has been heart wrenching. Now FB and BB are part of the group and we feel the benefits of having this wonderful community around us. As always we are so grateful to new friends. Here in our estate we have met such caring, helpful and generous friends.

 

First play date at our house

Last Friday morning the children had their first play date here at our home. It was with some children who live here in our estate. It was so lovely to have guests and I was really excited. It was interesting to observe my children. Their way of engaging back home was established. It seemed that in this new home they had to figure it all out again. Questioning why these children were here and the initial uncertainty about sharing toys. Eventually they got it and we had a lovely morning.

Life is more settled now.

 

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2 Comments

Marie Loerzel 27/05/2015 at 4:10 am

Playdates and birthday parties, this is a great sign of settling in!

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Salty Bug 27/05/2015 at 7:58 am

Thanks Marie! It is feeling a whole lot better now. We are off to buy fairy wings for the party!

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