I love big cities. I especially love seeing big cities in other countries that I’ve only ever read about or seen in movies, TV shows, books or magazines, so I was eagerly anticipating doing a little sightseeing around Manila today and even more so because Tita Conchita and Tito Willy were born and raised here so who better to have as tour guides? Unfortunately, this being the rainy season, we were not able to see as much as I’d hoped. Instead, we spent just about the whole day at…wait for it…the mall. But that was still pretty cool believe it or not, at least at first (more about that later). After 10 days in the provinces, it was nice to spend a day in a big, modern city with all its conveniences. First stop? The coffee shop for an espresso of course. Starbucks and Starbucks-type coffeehouses have gotten very popular in Asia over the past few years and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more Starbucks in Asia than in the US these days (As Conchita says). They’re just everywhere. I remember going to Thailand a few years back and it wasn’t uncommon to see two Starbucks right across the street from each other. Same with Hong Kong. I personally hate Starbucks so I avoided it but the coffeehouse we went into served the same exact kind of coffee as Starbucks – burnt. So not the best espresso ever but what the hell, after ten days drinking nasty instant Nescafe, I’ll take it.
After that it was lunch time so we hit a Chinese type place and it was phenomenal. The Chinese food here is just so much better than in the US or Europe, I could eat it all the time. Tita Conchita was born in Manila but she is actually Taiwanese so she knows her Chinese food. After that we strolled around the mall for a bit on our way to the ice cream place to get some halo halo. Along the way we hooked up with the wife’s cousin Gie and her sister. The halo halo was just awesome – I got mine with avocado and purple yam ice cream, my two new favorite flavors. As I mentioned in one of my earlier entries about halo halo, everybody seems to make it a bit different and with different ingredients and imagine my disgust when I noticed that this place put corn in their halo halo. Now, I’m sorry but…corn? In ICE CREAM?! WTF. Other than that, it was delicious, I really love halo halo.
We hadn’t really planned on doing any shopping but the wife wanted to go check out the DVD store as she usually manages to buy a bunch of DVDs for like a buck or two a piece when she comes here. Meanwhile, Gie and her sister took the X Man into the huge arcade place next door to play some games. I joined them after a bit and it was actually a fun place, reminded me a lot of a place called Funworld back home although at least half the place was devoted to rides and games for smaller kids. The wife’s father was accompanying us and it was kind of funny to me to see him watch the kids playing in this place and wonder what must have been going through his mind. This is a completely different world than the provinces. They had one of those “strong man” things where you hit the thing with a huge mallet and see how high your power meter goes so I decided to give it a try. I reached a max of 82, which wasn’t too bad considering that the high for that day was 83. I told the wife’s father to try it because, despite his small size, he is literally as strong as an ox so I thought sure that if I hit an 82, he should be able to hit 90 but to my surprise, the highest he could get was 77. Apparently I got game baby.
Outside the arcade place was another little Starbucks-type coffee stand with all kinds of drinks, sandwiches, desserts, etc so we took a break and I had my espresso while everyone else ate sweets. There was a slightly uncomfortable moment for me as we had asked the wife’s parents if they wanted anything and even though you could see them practically drooling as they looked at the decadent chocolate cakes and cheesecakes and such, they were too shy to say they would indeed like a piece. I honestly think they didn’t want me to spend the money on them, even though it was just a freaking piece of cake. So we got a piece for them anyway but we literally had to force them to eat it. I didn’t want to be rude but all I could think to myself was “Cripes, would you just eat the damned cake, it’s not going to bankrupt me!” Not long after, Tita Conchita and Tito Willy joined us and informed us that there was a ban on driving downtown that just went into effect until 5pm so we were stuck in the mall until then. It was like 3pm at the time so we had to kill two frigging hours in the mall with nothing to do. Man did that SUCK. They were planning on taking us to a comedy show tonight but since we were stuck in the mall Conchita decided we would just get some beer, some KFC and have a little party at their house which sounded fine to me. The X Man and I wandered around the mall a bit, then the wife and I checked out a store where I bought a couple of nice dress shirts, we had more coffee and eventually 5pm rolled around and we took off. We got to KFC in Quezon City and man it was PACKED. Filipinos love fried chicken so KFC is very popular here. In fact, that’s one of the first things I found out about the wife was that her favorite place to eat was KFC. Unfortunately we don’t have a KFC on the base, we only have a Popeye’s which I guess is not as good. At KFC, we met up with Gie’s partner Mel (yes, they are) who joined us for dinner before we headed back to the house. Conchita broke out the beer and snacks (nuts, nogaraya, etc) and we sat there chatting for a while. Somehow the topic of basketball came up and Mel mentioned that she loves the NBA so I asked her what team she liked and to my pleasant surprise, she said she’s a huge Celtics fan! I love that girl. The wife’s mother must have been feeling left out because she actually decided to try and drink a beer. She finished about half of it and then had to go lay down because she wasn’t feeling good, God bless her heart…
Gie and Mel were planning on hitting a nearby bar later on and asked if we wanted to join them. Originally I said no because it was already late and I didn’t want to stay out all night the night before we flew home but eventually my party side got the best of me and I figured hell, I can always sleep on the plane so we agreed and said that the wife and I would go with them, as well as her father who wanted to go out and have a good time with us on our last night here. They made it sound like a karaoke bar so the wife’s mother decided to go as well which I immediately did not think was a good idea. And sure enough, she did not look comfortable all night in a bar where people were getting drunk and dancing and stuff. Not only that but it wasn’t really a karaoke bar, it was more like a bar with a girl performing on stage, you could request songs for her to sing or you could even request to sing a song yourself (for a 100 piso “tip” of course). We were all a bit tipsy by the time we got there so we were having a good time from the start and when the girl saw that there was a white guy in the audience, she came right over to me and started interviewing me. Afterwards she asked if I had a request, I said “Yeah, sing ‘Crazy’ by Patsy Cline!” and she did…but only after forcing me to go up on stage and sing it with her as a duet. At first glance, the chick appeared to be smoking hot but when I saw her up close, under the lights, well…let’s just say we suspected she might be a tranny. In fact, several times I joked that next time I go up on stage I was going to stick my hand up her skirt just to see what she was packing. She also was a bit rude – she kept calling the wife “African”. For some reason, most Filipinas want to be white, so much so that skin whitening products are big business here. I guess they think it’s more attractive, I don’t know. But up in the north where the wife is from, most people are really dark skinned (like the wife). It’s kind of amusing to me to see all the Filipinas trying to lighten their skin (one of these days I’m going to walk around Manila yelling “ALL Y’ALL TRYING TO LOOK JUST LIKE ME!) while back home in the US and Europe everyone is always trying to look darker.
Anyway, the rest of the night was freaking awesome, I was having such a great time that I even got up and did my trademark ‘Copacobana’ as well as joining some Filipino dude for the end of ‘Faithfully’. I also spent some time out on the dance floor tripping the light fantastic with Gie (the wife was too chicken) and her sister. I can only imagine what was going through the wife’s mother’s mind as she watched us! But quite honestly, I didn’t care, I was having so much fun I wasn’t going to let anyone ruin it. In fact, the wife and I were thinking about just staying out all night since it was such a great time but then I ran into her father in the bathroom. I was coming out as he was going in and he was swaying very badly and was obviously very drunk so I figured I’d better watch out for him. I practically had to carry him back to the table so I told everyone that we’d better leave because he was in a bad way and I didn’t want anything bad to happen. He is not a beer drinker at all but had been drinking beer with us all night so I think it was affecting him more than he thought it would. We grabbed a cab and headed home but I gotta say, the last night here was probably the most fun as I just love nights like this and the wife and I never get to enjoy them anymore with the two rugrats. I told Conchita that next time we come, we’ll plan ahead better and next time we’ll be staying out ALL night.
Oh well, last night here. Sad, but at least we made the most of it. Filipina lesbians…who knew they were so much fun?!