Manila From the Roof

I’m back in Beijing, fresh from a week long training in Manila.  It was an excellent training, and well worth the week.  There was not, unfortunately, much time to go out and explore the city as I had hoped.  One evening, after a long day in a conference room, I sat on the rooftop patio and watched the sun go down.  Part of me wanted to go out and roam the city with the last bit of the day, but I was just as content to sit and watch from a distance.

Writing this blog has taught me a few things about the nature of travel, in particular the way in which you approach travel if you expect to be writing about your experiences.  There are times when I catch myself trying to hard to understand the place that I am visiting.  Sitting on the roof and on the steps in front of the hotel did not get me much view of the city, but it was relaxing and I had a great time.  I should probably take time to relax more often.

Everyone told me that the Philippines was incredibly dangerous and that I was going to be abducted and similar such stories.  In reality, I had no sense that that Manila was any more dangerous than parts of Brooklyn.  Sure, if you go around with a fancy camera and point it at the wrong people, it may very well get you into a sticky spot, but this is universal.  Everyone that I encountered was friendly, and I saw far more smiling faces here than I typically do in Beijing.  I am sure that I will return some day.  I suspect that Manila and I were made for one another.  Warm weather, great food, slight sense of danger, and the greatest disparity between rich and poor that I have ever seen.  It is a writers dreamland, though it seems that pulling out a pen and paper falls in the category of things you probably shouldn’t do.  I stayed in a first rate hotel, was served day a night, and on the ground right behind the hotel was one of the filthiest slums that I have ever seen, sitting direct on a river of garbage.  A land of volcanoes, tropical flora and fauna, and corruption like you would not believe.  Some day, I will return.

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One Response to Manila From the Roof

  1. Sweeney says:

    Hi, I’m from Manila, i was just wondering what is the name of your hotel in Manila? Also, the reason I stumbled upon your blog was through CUCAS. I’m going back to Beijing next week for language study. I was just there last January. And like you said about Manila, I kind of felt the same way about Beijing. It was so weird that I felt right at home within 3 days there (even if I don’t speak Mandarin). Best way to avoid the spitting guy is to not tune out the harking sound and look around for the source. 🙂 Anyway thanks for the blog. I might just try going to that part of the Greatwall, Badaling was just too touristy, but easy and cheap to get to.

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