In Manila

When you get up at 5, having given up on sleep, it is a LONG TIME until the mall opens at 10!

I made my way to said mall when it opened and it did not disappoint–it was crazily enormous, maze-like, and contained a bewildering number of restaurants, all of which appeared to be of about the same quality–sadly, I could not bring myself to eat a Krispy Kreme outside of Winston-Salem–and music was blaring, and I mean, BLARING, from everywhere. After O Holy Night in the hotel, do I really need a reverberating version of Little Drummer Boy? On October 20?? I think not.


I went to the grocery store, as is my wont in every new city. May I say, as a native North Carolinian and long-time visitor to all parts of the Deep South, I have never, ever, seen so much SPAM or so many pork rinds in various flavors in my entire life?

The hotel, by the way, is smoke-free. From Oct 20 to Oct 26! ????!!! Except for one wee problem: it doesn’t seem to be WORKING. . . .

It was hot, very hot, and humid today, and I had decided to walk over the place, so by the time I collapsed into the hotel, I was hot, sticky, sweaty, and remembering why I did not love living on a tropical island. Also glad that Manila Bay looks good from a distance, because it stinks rather alarmingly up close.

Hoping against hope for sleep tonight, as serious work begins in the morning!

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