Day 330 of retirement

Hi All

Sunday 2nd January 2011:

Packed our bags and headed down the road closer to the city to a one bedroom apartment at Greenhills called the Greenhills Elan Hotel. It is a 40-story building with private condos on the upper floors and a hotel on the lower floors. A friend of a friend (he’s a Filipino who works in Sydney, AUS) owns the condo on the 32nd floor and through word of mouth hires it out to people visiting Manila.

Guy’s nieces and nephew came along and enjoyed the afternoon in the roof top pool on the 40th floor. Was very pleasant as we have sweeping views of the city right through to the port from the rooftop and our room.

After the kids left we wandered down to the restaurant area and found a grill that served Australian Lamb Shanks and mashed potato. I just had to try them and dam they were good. After no lamb for 10 months it was actually very very good. Guy had pok ribs and they were dam good also.

Elan is right next to Greenhills Mall. Now this Mall is slightly different to the other Mega Malls in that it is smaller and has sections dedicated to certain product lines and in these sections the vendors has market type stalls. So it is more like a huge market.

It is the Pearl capital of the Philippines here as well. There is one huge section where all that is sold is Pearls (fresh and salt water). There is also a clothing and electronics section (my favorite). There is a smaller traditional Mall section as well with the usual shops, restaurants and movie theaters. It is one of my favorite Malls here in Manila.

Guy’s kids (Jo and Jordan) arrive tomorrow and we will be spending a week here before we head back to Marinduque and Boracay.

Monday 3rd January 2011:

Quiet day waiting for the kids to arrive tonight. Had a Pancake and French Toast for brunch which was very nice. Then off to the grocery store and stocked up on a few things (drinks and chips) for us and the kids.

After a little rest back to the Mall for some shopping. Guy and I parted company for a few hours and meet up in the food court.

I was after a 16GB Sandisk Cruzer USB Flash Drive to be setup as a boot disk for my MacBook Pro. Found exactly what I was after for P1,250 ($31.25 AUS). Wander for a while in the electronics section and browsed the Mac and camera shops.

Meet up with Guy and on the way back to the condo we found a very nice Chai Latte (even better than Starbucks) in the Coffee Bean café.

6:30pm ish Beth picked us up and off to the airport to pick up Jo & Jordan. Guy once again had Ed (her police chief friend) organize our parking (3 hours in the 2 minute drop off zone) and to escort the kids through customs and immigration.

The plane was about 45 minutes late but once it arrived Ed took care of everything and the kids were delivered all in one piece to us. Hugs all round were in order.

Ed has helped us out immensely and Guy has offered to take him out to dinner in thanks but he never asks for anything.  Although Guy did discover that he likes Levis 501 jeans so she organized Boots (Guy’s friend from Sydney (thanks Boots)) to purchase a pair and give them to Jo to bring over. We gave them to him as thanks for all his help and I think he liked them.

Back to the condo and lots of catching up before hitting the hay round midnight.

Tuesday 4th January:

Big sleepin this morning for us all. Leisurely start with showers all round and we were alive again. Then we headed for Subway for brunch just down the road.

After brunch it was shopping time. First stop the mobile phone section so Jo could get a new phone for use here in the Philippines and Jordan just needed a SIM card. Then off to the cloths section. Jordan’s main purpose was Vans shoes which he found and Jo was after bags and other stuff.

Very successful day with us back to the condo at 4:30pm. Kids had a swim and Guy and I rested ready for dinner tonight with Desiree and friends at the Shabu Shabu restaurant just down the road.

Meet up with Desiree and friends and once again had a great feast. Love the Shabu Shabu. See the pic to see how all the food is cooked in two pots in the middle of the table. A leisurely stroll back to the condo where the kids hit the internet café to catch up on Facebook update and Guy and I enjoyed a nice cup of tea to complete the day’s activities..

Wednesday 5th January:

Up and off to McDonald’s for breakfast with rice. Different.

A bit of power shopping was in order before we headed to Guy’s Mum’s house for lunch and a catch up with Jo’s real Mum, Dad, Sister and brother. You see Jo was adopted by Guy and her then husband at birth from Guy’s brother and his wife. Guy is her Mum with her birth parents being her “nanay and tatay” , local term for mother and father.

Jo’s sister and her two boys were there along with her brother so it was good to see them after many years since her last visit.

After a leisurely lunch we left them and headed to the big SM Mall, which is our second home when in Manila. Jo and Jordan managed to spend quite some time seeking out the best bargains for some more merchandise. It got the better of me so I hit Starbucks for a nice hot Chai and a bit of a rest.

Had dinner at the Old Spaghetti House before cabbing it back to the condo and a nice hot cup of tea.

Thursday 6th January:

Guy, Jordan and I slept in a little while Joe got up and went for a walk and then a swim as the walk was quite humid and hot.

Off to Shakeys for the best pizza lunch. They do really good pizza there.

Once all food and watered we grabbed a cab to off to the Mall of Asia (MOA). Now this is one huge Mall and is situated in the port area so close to downtown. Hence it is also the most popular mall for all the tourists visitng Manila so the prices do tend to be more expensive than the other malls in the suburbs. We wandered and then hit Starbucks for a Chai Lattee and hot chocolates.

Back into a cab and off to the Star City theme park just down the road where you can do all the ride you want for P350 ($8.75 AUS). Oohhh and a once off entry fee of P60 ($1.50 AUS). And there were no line ups as it is a school night so the kids had plenty of great rides on the roller coaster and other things that make you vomit.

Kids bought lots of cheap stuff at the stalls including Ray Ban sunnies (P50 each ($1.25 AUS) & tee shirts & magic stuff (cards and coin tricks).

I managed to buy myself a Xmas present as well. It is a full size replica M16 BB gun. You fill up the mag with BB pellets, plug in the re-chargeable battery (runs a mini internal air compressor) and blaze away in either semi auto or fully automatic mode. No tin can will be safe at the cottage……. Pics next week as it is all packed up for traveling right now.

Finally made it back to the condo after midnight.

Friday 7th January:

Big sleep in after our late night last night (1:30am to bed). Then off to the food hall at the Mall for breakfast / lunch. After lunch there were a few more things that the kids wanted so Guy and Jo went one way and Jordan and I the other. They found pretty much all they wanted. Jo was extremely happy as she found some Jimmy Choo shoes on sale here at about a quarter of the price back in AUS. Filipinos and their shoes………

Then back to the condo to rest up for few hours before their four cousins arrive to stay the night and ‘bond’. Also need to sort out our packing for the trip to Marinduque and Boracay (leaving Sunday) as we will be away for 8 days and don’t want to carry everything with us. We will leave a case full of excess stuff (including all the cloths & stuff the kids have bought so far) at Beth’s house so we can travel light ish.

Cousins arrived and after dinner they played pool in the pool room till it closed at 10:30pm. Back to the condo and they all played cards till late.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

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