was good. the flights to get there were a bit nuts, but overall the trip was good. we arrived friday around noon and went straight to the hotel. it took about forty minutes by taxi. we got to the hotel and checked it out. we were both pretty tired, so we rested for a bit before venturing out. the area where we were staying is in the "suburbs" area of manila. there are two major shopping malls there. we went to one first, walked around, and then had italian food for dinner. paul and i were skeptical, but food choices are mostly chain restaurants. on the whole it does not feel very foreign at all. most folks have said they try hard to be western. after dinner we took a jeepney to the other major mall. this jeepney ride was an authentic filipina experience for sure. the other mall was better, but still quite western feeling and built like a giant maze.
saturday i had the workshop and it was so good. maggie moon, the presenter, used to work for teacher's college reading and writing project in new york at colunbia university. last summer i was suppose to go to a writing teacher's workshop there, but ended up having to change plans. over the course of the two days i felt energized and so encouraged as a teacher. great stuff!
saturday night we took a taxi an hour across town to meet vicki. we met her team mates for the race and had vietnamese for dinner. then her team mates went to wander for about twenty minutes while we caught up with vicki at the coffee bean. it was good to see her, hear about the things she is struggling with and celebrating, and get to catch up some. it was way too short, but great.
sunday night after the course paul and i took a taxi into an area called makati. more huge shopping malls. we had a great dinner at a swanky kind of restaurant and then spent the rest of the time walking the malls and checking stuff out. our flight did not leave until 12:30 so we had some time to meander. there was a GAP with normal sized clothes. it was fun and i did walk around taking it all in. i got some shirts. fun! then paul and i both bought some shoes....very fun! they are sandals that look like shoes....never seen them before. paul needed some new ones and i wanted a pair too.
we took a taxi to the airport and then waited for the flight. we did not know that we had to pay 750 pesos to leave the country?!?!? what?!?!?! yes, we had to pay to use the airport. we did not know this before so we ended up being without any spare money to do anything after we went through immigration. no cash machines and lots of stuff to do, but we could not. we sat and waited for two hours.......argh! it was tough. the manila airport is by far the lowest grade of airport we have traveled to so far. we made it back to seoul monday morning and got home just around 7:15am. we both quickly went to bed as we were exhausted. slept most of the day and then got back to life..........