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We have arrived!

PHILIPPINES | Monday, 16 June 2014 | Views [511]

Manila view from our hotel

Manila view from our hotel

We have finally arrived in Manila!
Yesterday we got from Kamloops to Vancouver, then hopped aboard a ten-hour flight to Tokyo. We were both unsure of what to expect since neither of us have ever flown for that long at once. We were very, very pleasantly surprised! The folks at All Nippon Air are about the friendliest you can picture, there was hardly a moment when the flight attendants were not smiling. Each seat had a television on the back of the one in front of it and contained about twenty different movies that you could choose from in a variety of languages. The alcohol was- get this- free. "You can have as much as you want, but remember you get drunk faster in the air!" said our flight attendant. Thank you, we'll be careful ;) The sun did not set for the entirety of the flight, despite the fact that we arrived in Japan at 3:00am our time.

At 7:00pm Japan time, we landed at Haneda airport in Tokyo, the only visibly non-Japanese people in seemingly the entire airport. We breezed through customs, acquired some yen, and then spent a long time chatting with the tourist centre lady about how to get to "downtown Tokyo" (as if that means anything in a city that size). Eventually we decided to go to Shibuya neighbourhood, which appeared by the map to be only two stops from the airport. How perfect! We bought our tickets and were off to the monorail by 8:00....end of Kirstens comments....and Wayne picks it up.....It sure sounded easy but as often happens things went slightly off track...well, the train didn't but where we intended to go sure did! Ended up in another partof tokyo and after wandering aimlessy for a while found a totally cool bar/restaurant that had great beer and Sangria. The place was packed, seriously, all 20 seats were full and I'm not kidding! No one spoke a word of English but they quickly moved people aroud so we could squeeze in between 18 of the locals. They somehow grasped the concept that I wanted a pepporini pizza and Kirsten wanted the same excepct with no meat. Went to pay later on and neither one of my credit cards worked. I had exchanged cash for $50,000 yen earlier and the food cost $47,000 so went back to being broke. Personally I thought it was better than being kung fu'd! I have to say it was a great experience and the people were unbelievably frinedly and helpful. Took us about an hour to find our way to our hotel on the trains. That also included a quick taxi drive at the end where I gave the guy $100 to cover an $8 cab ride, I actually thought i gave him $10 but luckily the cabbies are very honest. Made it to the hotel at 11;30 which was about 25 hours awake for the both if us. Room was 100 degrees and pillows were like bricks but we slept great. Made it to the airport great on the train and had a fantastic breakfast at the airport.....back to you Kirstie.....

This morning we woke up after about 6 hours of sleep due to our lack of ability to work the air conditioning unit, for which the instructions, of course, were all in kanji. It was a zillion degrees at this point, not 100, so we showered quickly and headed out. We attempted to find our way walking to the train station, but even with half an hour and two maps we could not quite decipher the streets so we cabbed it to the station, the trained it to the airport.

After one final, four-hour flight, we were in Manila! Needing a day of rest, we lounged with beers by the 35th-floor rooftop pool, where a group of construction workers building the 36th floor of a building next door stared blatantly. Lovely! We went for pizza (again, since it's the nearest restaurant) and walked through the neighbourhood, narrowly avoiding the ridiculous traffic and the jeepneys and motorcycles that use the limited sidewalk space as an extension of the road. Will write more on this tomorrow but it's been long enough now!

 

Kirsten's first impression of Japan: So friendly, so helpful, so polite, despite most people not having a clue what we're saying. All young women wear insanely high heels and very fashionable clothing, every single person around you is holding their i-Phone six inches from their face at all times (this is barely an exaggeration, sadly), and their toilets are all bidets which I find to be fun since I've never seen them before. Very crowded by very clean everywhere, no grafitti, and people leave bicyles parked on the street without locks overnight without them going missing! Compare that against Vancouver, where even locked-up bicycles are promptly dismantled and stolen within minutes of you leaving them.

and of Manila: Chaotic chaos. Watch every limb when walking near a road since vehicles come up onto the sidewalk. HOT and humid, but so far Philippinos are the smiliest, happiest people I think I've ever met! So excited for tomorrow!

 

 Wayne's first impression of Japan:never seen so many people in my life and so many trains. People were super polite and very honest. Everyone helped us out when we asked, On the trains only Kirstie and myself seemed to be talking. That may not be a surprise to many but remember we were the two without iphones!

of Manilia. Very crazy driving but the drivers are very skilled to be able to get around. Motorcyle guys are kamakazi and squeal by cars and trucls by inches. People super nice and alway smiling and saying thanks. Love it here so far and we are staying in a very busy area with highrises. Weather is 31 degrees and very humid. Looking forward to the next few days!

 

Photos to come.

 

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