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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

May 18, 2004-Lost In Manila





When we finally left the restaurant in Manila's Malati district it was after midnight. We had enjoyed a long slow meal and plenty of after dinner wine and friendly conversation with the restaurant owner.

What a surprise we got when we went outside. The street was packed! People strolling everywhere, tables on the sidewalk and even onto the street itself, music, dancing; what a scene.

Was it a street fair? A festival? No, it turned out to be just another Saturday night in Malati, where the young hip hang out to party and be seen. And it is just one of Manila's many faces.

We've been in Manila, the city of 12 million on the Philippine island of Luzon, for two weeks now, and we can tell you that Manila has many, many different faces. We've seen miles of glass and steel high-rise office towers and miles of shanty towns. We've seen the rejuvenated Malati district, Rizal park, 16th century Spanish forts and churches, and museums, freeways, elevated light rail lines, and traffic jams that won't quit. We've shopped in at least a dozen shopping malls, some that just that astonish us, …in fact, we've seen just about everything you can imagine, and we're having a great time. So, if you think we sort of dropped out of sight, well, it's because we've been busy playing.

We came here to see the city and to do a bottom job on WINGS. One of the best things is that instead of getting dirty and sweaty sanding and panting the bottom, we are having a ball touring and shopping while the professional boat workers down at the Manila Yacht Club give WINGS a new bottom, and at a very good price.

We're staying in a hotel. Frankly, the harbor is so polluted that the water literally stinks; it is the worst pollution we've ever seen, bar none. No way would we stay on board. Plus, it is hot and humid in Manila; the air-conditioned hotel is very nice.

Carol Pearl is here with us, also having a great time. But we are getting ready to leave now. The bottom job is done, we've provisioned the boat, and we are just waiting for the latest typhoon to pass by.

As soon as the weather settles down we're leaving Manila and heading up the coast of Luzon before sailing to Hong Kong.

We'll write again before we leave The Philippines

Fred & Judy, SV WINGS, The Philippines

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