strryeyedgrrl: (Default)
All in all, we had a great night tonight.

We met up at the office, in the lobby, at our usual arrival time - 11pm. The kids met us there and we got a couple of cabs, then headed to this place called Center Stage. It's a karaoke bar, but not in the sense that I'm used to back home. For a really reasonable amount of money (I think Bosslady said it was 3600 pesos for the package), we got a private singing room for three hours, the room had comfy couches and a nice LCD TV on the wall, plus this feast of food. There were a bunch of beers purchased, as well, and it only brought the tab up to something around 4500 pesos at the most. For what we got, coming out under $100USD is amazing.

Anyway, we had that and we had a BLAST. The kids are HILARIOUS - great performers and they love to sing. They were determined that Bosslady and I would sing, but we were adamant that we wouldn't. I finally was backed into a corner and I took one for the home team. I let them know, later, that I have NEVER sang at karaoke before. Ever. The last time I sang solo in front of other people was in the fourth grade music class and I swore then that I'd never do it again. Believe it or not, I have paralyzing stage fright. I can work through it for anything BUT singing.

(If you're wondering, I sang "Tell Me Baby" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I refused to sing the sappy love songs that the other kids were singing and had wanted to sing "I Wanna Be Sedated" if I was going to be forced to sing something. There were no Ramones songs so since we were still on the "R" page, I went with one song that I knew I knew all the words to. As such, I was able to get through it with only mild embarrassment. And I got to cuss in front of the kids and Bosslady.)

Afterwards, we headed to the Starbucks in Greenbelt, across from our hotel. We had barely gotten drinks when they started turning off lights and locking up. So we grabbed another cab and headed across the city to another mall, The Fort, and another Starbucks. We sat around and gabbed for about an hour before they started locking up there as well. We all made our way outside and kept up the chatter. When it came time, we all piled into two more cabs and headed back to the hotel.

The whole group followed us into the lobby of the hotel (which I heard Pao describe as "posh"), where we took what would be the upmteenth set of photographs. We dragged it out as long as we could, but it was eventually time to say our goodbyes. After hugs and well wishes, Bosslady and I came back to our rooms to finish packing and, if we chose to, some rest before our flights.

I haven't rested, however. I've gotten too used to be up and awake at this hour. Besides, I've got a non-stop 11 hours on the plane from Seoul to Seattle when I can sleep.

I've got everything packed. Just need to clean up the last of my toiletries in the bathroom and that's that. I might shower before we go, too, just so I'm my cleanest before I get all grungy from traveling. I'm fairly certain that my bags are over the weight limit and, if they are, I have no idea what I'm going to do about it. I have only a few hundred pesos left to my name and just $70 in American money. I need $20USD to pay the departure tax at the airport, so I'm down to $50. Maybe Bosslady will take pity on me and cover the cost of the excess baggage fees?

So, that's about it. I'm sure I will think of many other things to say once I'm back on American soil, such as the drive to the airport, checking in (send good vibes about my luggage!) and the flight itself. For now, though, I leave you with some pictures from tonight's festivities.


"The kids" with Bosslady and me.

...more here! )
strryeyedgrrl: (Default)
This is our last night in Manila.

I haven't been updating, I know. Here goes.

On Monday morning, Bosslady and I met up with Marie in the hotel lobby, then took a cab to Greenhills Shopping Center. It's the place that everyone back home swears you have to go when you come to Manila. Ultimately, it's like a big swap meet. Locals, if you can imagine a cross between the B&I and the Crap Pavilion at the Puyallup Fair (with no air conditioning), that's my best description.

I ended up buying two handbags (and no one needs to tell me that they're fake because I'm pretty fucking certain they are), two pairs of pearl earrings, a pearl bracelet (the pearls I know are real) and a nice wood/silver rosary for Ron (who's gotten into religion again, so I'm trying to be supportive). Oh, and some glass bead bracelets. I don't know how much I spent in total, except that the two handbags came out to 1450 pesos total and the earrings were 150 pesos each.

After that, Bosslady and I went back to the hotel and tried to get some more sleep before work that night.

Ultimately, that's been the gist of our days this week. Fitting in shopping after work, then trying like hell to get enough sleep before the night shift. Both of us have been counting down the days until our departure - we're both pretty damn homesick. We made another trip to Balikbayan Handicrafts, then more than a few trips to Landmark. I got the pearl sets I'd been eying there, plus finished up the souvenir shopping I had left to do. Also got the girls some more clothes and also about three new pairs of bigass, cheap sunglasses to feed my addiction. This morning, after work, we headed to Landmark for one last shopping trip - SNACKS. I spent over 1000 pesos and, including my last snack run, I've spent about $30 on goodies that I'm bringing back.

After that, we came back to the hotel and I got back to packing. I'd started before we went to Landmark (nothing here opens until at least 10am, so I had a few hours alone in my room after breakfast) and now just needed to add the snacks I'd bought. I picked up a plastic serving container with a lid, about the size of a small crisper drawer, to put the majority of the crushable snacks into. In the end, I ended up having to decide to carry one plastic grocery bag with me as a carry-on - the one with all the chips. Everything else, I managed to get into my suitcase. I have pictures, I'll post.

By the time I went to bed, I had a rager of a headache. I didn't take anything for it and ended up majorly regretting it later. Ron called around 1:30pm local time (10:30pm on 6/11 Seattle time) and we talked for awhile. Even after that, I still couldn't sleep. The headache got worse and nearly made me physically sick until I showered and then fell asleep in a towel. All told, I probably got about four hours sleep.

Bosslady and I met up at 8pm tonight to go find something for dinner over at Greenbelt. Turned out, she'd slept like crap too, getting about the same amount of sleep that I did. She'd entertained the thought of calling me, as I'd thought of calling her, to suggest skipping dinner in lieu of getting more sleep. We wound up at a California Pizza Kitchen that we didn't know existed, her eating pepperoni pizza (seriously, wtf?) and me with the Thai chicken pizza.

I'll tell you one thing. When I get back on American soil, the first place I want to go is to motherfucking Taco Bell. Then I want a REAL Diet Coke. Like, a Super Big Gulp from 7-Eleven. With ICE. I do not want to fear the ice anymore!

Tonight, we're not "working." We're meeting up with the kids from class and they are going to take us out on the town. I think we're going to end up at videoke, honestly. Either way, I'm thrilled that we don't have to go into the office. I don't have to lug my laptop down there, I don't have to pretend not to nod off in front of my computer screen. The kids are doing SO well, it's like we're not entirely necessary anymore. I enjoy being there and having gotten to know them, but they're flying on their own now. I'm glad we get to go out and have a bit of a celebration. Not only have we been here for two weeks, but they've been various forms of training for about a MONTH now.

Besides, I need to have a few more San Miguels before I go. I have to admit, I really like that beer.

All right, that's enough from me. I have a comfy bed calling my name (I can accomodate its request for about thirty minutes) and a book that I'm nearly done with (third and final book that I brought with me).

I'll try to post again tonight, after we return from our night out.


Proof that it has been sunny since we've been here.

...and now, pictures... )
strryeyedgrrl: (Default)
I really do mean to give you all a good Manila update.

It's just that I'm kind of tired. And busy. And partly broken, what with the bum leg.

Have done a lot since my last proper update - mostly shopping and seeing the city through the windows of a speeding, bumpy cab.

Got plans to go snack shopping tomorrow after work and out somewhere with the kids from the call center on our last day/night here.

And then, on Saturday afternoon (Friday night for you folks back home), we get on our first of two planes and head right the crap back home.

I will be sad to leave, as I've started to enjoy the heat and even a bit of the humidity...but I will be glad to put my feet on my own soil again. I miss the sounds of my own language around me, the smells of my neighbors lighting up the barbecue and man, what I wouldn't give to see a head of blonde or red or punked-out mohawked purple hair at some point. It's no offense to my Filipino friends here - you're all very beautiful. I just miss the sights and sounds of home.

Real post soon, promise. Probably after snack shopping tomorrow.

For now, I'm going to finish my new addiction, the mango passionfruit drink I can't get back home and then head to bed.
strryeyedgrrl: (Default)
Quick post.

Bosslady and I stayed up 24 hours so we could do stuff after we got off work yesterday morning. After training, we came back to the hotel and had breakfast. Then we relaxed for a bit in our rooms and headed downstairs to meet up with the company van around 9:15am.

From there, we headed to Tagaytay which is south of Makati City and outside of Metro Manila. We were there to have lunch and see the Taal Volcano and Taal Lake. The lake was formed by a caldera and the volcano appears to be within the lake. It's very neat. The only thing that kind of sucked was that it was rainy and so foggy that our glimpses of the volcano through the fog were rare and fleeting. Also, my camera's batteries died. Bosslady has pictures that she is going to share with me. Once I get them, I'll share here.

We had lunch at a place called Leslie's that overlooked the lake and volcano. It was covered, but it was open air and everything there was beautiful and made of wood. There was a Filipino band playing, coming around to the tables and playing songs. American songs, mind you. The food was definitely different and I made everyone laugh when I made the whole crabs talk to Bosslady. I stayed away from the seafood (anything with eyes creeps me out) and had chicken and pork instead. I cursed myself for eating breakfast. I should've skipped it!

On the way back, we stopped at Ilog Maria Bee Farm. The bees were not out and they were out of honey, but it was still a very quiet, remote place and very beautiful. It was, of course, raining, so it was an adventure to slog through some mud here and there. We saw pineapple fields and coffee plants, as well as some rice fields along the highway on the way back.

The ride home took forever. Traffic was bad, so our driver took a lot of back roads to get us back into Makati City. It was our whirlwind tour of Manila, in a way. We saw much more of the city than I think we had bargained for. I slept a bit on the way back, but woke up more when I realized that I had no idea where the hell I was. We got back to the hotel sometime near 6pm, almost one hour before I'd gotten out of bed the day before.

When we got back, we dropped off our things in our rooms and then headed over to Landmark. Bosslady has the start of a cold and she hadn't brought any medication. I did, but it was only DayQuil and cough pills.

Word to the wise: Do not get sick in another country. They might not have what you're expecting in the pharmacy aisle. In fact, they might not really have a pharmacy aisle. We had to hunt through the few drugs that were available until we found something that said "antihistamine." Maybe we were at the wrong store, I don't know, but we didn't know where else to go. Bosslady sounds better this morning and I'll have to give her some DayQuil so she can function better today.

As for today, I need to go shower and then we're going to get some breakfast, then head over to Landmark. Around 1pm, I am meeting up with [ profile] peachkins over at Greenbelt to swap goodies and general merriment.

I have a ton of pictures, by the way, that Dia took. But I need to get ready to go or we'll never leave the hotel. Much more later!
strryeyedgrrl: (Default)
First of all, my subject line is misleading. Yes, it's 88 degrees out. Yes, it's windy. I'll bet my friends back home are going to say, "Oh that's nothing. I've been baking here for days. What you've got would be heaven!"

No, friends. No.


Feels like 107. That it does. Take a good look at the wind, too. 26MPH. We nearly got blown over on our way to and from the handicraft store.

No post yesterday, I know. We were both really tired and a little cranky. I was in bed and sound asleep by 9:30am. I wanted to make sure I got a really good amount of sleep after what happened to me the morning before. On Wednesday night, I called Bosslady at 9pm to see if she was ready to go get breakfast/dinner. She said she didn't want to and could we just grab some McDonald's before work? I said that was fine and laid back down in bed. I was already showered and dressed, so I set my alarm for 10am and figured I could get another hour's sleep before we left. Our car picks us up at 10:30 every night to take us to the office.

I woke up at 10:30 to a phone call from Bosslady. She was downstairs waiting for me. SHIT. I threw my shirt on, tossed my things in my bag, ran a brush through my hair and bolted. I felt so bad. The car can't just park in front of the hotel, he has to keep circling and getting checked by security each time. Bosslady was pissed, obviously, and said that the driver had circled three times by the time I got downstairs. I could apologize enough and finally just shut my mouth.

So yesterday I went to bed early. We planned to get up earlier than normal, too, so we could go get dinner somewhere other than the hotel. This time, it was Bosslady that wasn't ready. Instead of 7pm, we left the hotel at 7:30pm and headed across the street to Greenbelt. There we found a Thai food place and had one giant mess of a dinner. Soup, fried spring rolls, pork and yellow rice, Singaporean pad thai. Plus a bottled water, a can of Coke Light and a Thai iced tea. All in all, we spent approximately $20USD. I think Bosslady is starting to really see how inexpensive everything really is here.

Last night (this morning?) was "graduation" for the agents we're training. They were done with formal training the day before, but last night they had their final test. I was really excited to see how well they did and how excited they seem to be about doing the actual work. They started in on the actual job function today and did really well. I have a lot of confidence that they're going to kick some serious butt.

We got back to the hotel today around 7:45am. That was after another long wait at the call center for our driver - finally, we got a cab for the ride across town. The driver was not familiar with the area or something because he passed our hotel nearly twice - I say nearly because we had to shout, "Turn right, turn right!" He also flipped a u-turn in the middle of a busy street - it's actually kind of wild the types of driving that you see here!

Once we had breakfast and had some time to settle from the night's work, we headed back over to the handicraft store that we visited on the first day we were here. If you're so inclined to look it up, it's called Balikbayan Handicrafts. Everything we bought was half off, so I got a ton of goodies to take home for just approximately $21USD. Most everything was roughly $2-3USD each - in fact, the most expensive thing I purchased were the two freshwater pearl bracelets for about $3.50USD each.

Now we're back here.

It's bedtime for me. We're going to get going a little early again tonight, around 8pm, so we can go get dinner somewhere besides the hotel. Hopefully not Thai food again. While it was tasty, I was so sweaty when I was done that it was kind of uncomfortable. LOL!

(P.S. No pictures today. Gonna get some from Bosslady. She took some of the graduation today because my camera batteries died. I need to go buy some more. Bet I can convince Bosslady to go to Landmark tomorrow with me!)
strryeyedgrrl: (Default)
Sadly, there is still not much to tell.

Sat around in my room, nodding off over the laptop until a little after 10am. Finally snapped out of it and called Bosslady. We got ready, then headed over to the Greenbelt. In the pouring rain and crazy wind.

Turns out, nothing opens over there until 11am. They sure don't make it very convenient for us night-working folks. Now I see why Brandie and Chera were going to bed as soon as they got off work, then getting up earlier and shopping before they went back to the office.

While we waited, we sat in a coffeeshop and chatted. Then we wandered a bit until I found the Lush store. Spent the most money there than I have in my entire trip, Oh well. I intend to take a nice bath either before I go to bed today or after I get off work tomorrow. I'm leaning towards tomorrow since it's already getting a little late and I'd like to get more sleep than I did last night.

So, that's it. A pretty uneventful day, to tell the truth. Hope my friends back home aren't melting yet. I hear it's been pretty hot in Western Washington. Ron says that it's like hell in our apartment and the poor cat has just been laying out on the balcony the entire time.

All right, I'm off. For my friends that are fans of Lush, here's my purchases today.


...lush... )
strryeyedgrrl: (Default)
Not much to update today. Yet.

Randomness: Still having very good hair days. Also having good skin days. No breakouts since I left the States.

Made it through our second night of training. I didn't get much sleep last night - was too awake to go to sleep and when I was finally tired, I just couldn't fall asleep. I probably only got about four hours of sleep before I had to head down and have breakfast/dinner with Bosslady. The class seemed extra tired today, too, and some of the enthusiasm was lost on that. I spent time during class while Bosslady trained and set up a Powerpoint-powered Jeopardy game with questions from today's training. We did that yesterday and they were very engaged, so I hope it works again tomorrow.

The van was right on time today, so as soon as we packed up, we got to leave. We were back here in no time, so we dropped off our bags and went to have breakfast. Now, though, we're done and back in our rooms. Nothing opens around here until 10am, so we're kind of both at a loss for what to do. I meant to ask the gals at the office if they have a favorite place to get their nails done near the office - both Bosslady and I could go for a mani/pedi.

I think I am going to wait until 10am, then see if Bosslady wants to go over to the Greenbelt (a huge mall) across the street with me. On the way back to the hotel, I spied a Lush store inside. Might need to find my way in there!

More later, when there's something far more exciting to tell!

Edit! I almost forgot - I have one picture for you all today.


Filipino McDonald's French fries! They deliver, 24 hours a day! And they serve fried chicken, spaghetti and rice there!
strryeyedgrrl: (Default)
One more post today!

So, after I finished typing up my last post, I called Bosslady to see if she still wanted to go to Bagaholic and Landmark. She did, so I changed back into my respectable clothes and headed towards her room.

Bagaholic was a bust. Everything was too expensive and I'm not an expensive handbag kind of girl. We'll wait until we go to Green Hills or I might just buy a new purse over at Landmark. I had to leave my purse at home because I was running out of room in my carry-on bag. So I'm just walking around the city, carrying my passport wallet. That's fine, but I'm so used to my purse.

Anyhow, I digress. After Bagaholic, we made our way over to the (now open) Landmark. We swear that there's a traffic cop that likes us because he always waves at us and smiles when it is time for us to cross the street. We don't really need him to tell us to cross, we can tell by the green walk signal guy. But he waves and smiles anyway. Maybe he thinks us fatty American chicks are cute. :D

After walking in circles inside the ground floor of Landmark, we found our way to the basement that Marie had said existed. Sure enough, it was grocery madness. Plus, there was a food court, a (gorgeously smelling) bakery and so much else. I grabbed a basket and got to ogling and shopping.

Bosslady laughed a lot at me, but eventually she began oohing and aahing in the aisles with me. She did say that she finds my interest in strange foods to be one of my most interesting quirks. I told her that if I could find a job writing about food for a living, she shouldn't be offended if I left her.

After we had our fill - or, made it to the end of the goodies - we checked out and made our way back to the hotel. I'm tired now, finally, and ready for a nice long sleep. I'm meeting back up with Bosslady at 9pm for dinner and to go over the lesson plan for the day.

So far, so good.

Oh. You want pictures?

...SNACKS! )
strryeyedgrrl: (Default)
I determined that my ideal time here is 3am. It's cooled down just enough that, mixed with the humidity, it feels just right. The air is still thick, but it doesn't seem to weigh on you as much as it does at, say, two in the afternoon.

Finished our first full day of training today. The class is great and they seem really excited about what Brandie and Chera already trained them, as well as what we're going to be training them. Of course, I was thrown off my rhythm when then first example that I sat down to show them was for a topic that I'm not as familiar with as I could be.

For lunch (at 3am), we went to Yellow Cab Pizza. I had the Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta. It was really good and could've fed two people easily. I still have some leftovers, but I honestly don't know when I'll eat them. Lunch? Before bed snack?

After work, Bosslady and I headed around the corner from the office and stopped in at a little drug store. I got some chips and soda - I eyeballed the candy, too, of course. We headed back to wait for our van back to the hotel, but we still had a half hour. Instead of waiting around outside, we walked back around the corner and stopped in at McDonald's to see if the food tastes different. I had a Sausage Egg McMuffin and a small orange juice. Well, I thought I was getting orange juice - instead, I got orange drink with ice in it. Ice! Ack! Bosslady asked if I was really going to drink it with the ice in it. I've got the gut-o-steel (and a bottle full of pills), so I did. I just didn't eat the ice. The sandwich tasted different, of course, but not too much so. It was full of yum.

After that, we went back to wait for our van again. At about a half hour late, we grabbed a cab instead figuring it couldn't be that expensive. I have to say, that was an exciting ride! Driving is madness here! And no, it wasn't that expensive - 50 pesos, the equivalent of about one American dollar.

We had breakfast here at the hotel, didn't try anything new, really. Eggs, sausage, bacon. Had some nice ham. Afterwards, we headed out to go back to Landmark - we'd heard from Marie that there's a grocery store on the basement level and wanted to check it out. Alas, they don't open until 10am, so we headed back here (I nearly got run over by a jeepney in the process). We're going to go out again to check out Landmark and a used desinger handbag store downstairs called Bagaholic.

Randomness for today: The humidity is doing wonders for my hair. My hair is naturally thin, limp and greasy, but this weather has made it so full of life! I've also never slept so well in my life. I think it is leftover jet lag, of course, but everytime my head hits the pillows, I'm out. Oh, one other thing. It's easy to work graveyard when there are no windows in the room you're in and it's light out when you leave. I felt like I'd worked a normal 8-4:30 shift back home.

Oh yeah, and here's a few pictures.

...just two pics today... )
strryeyedgrrl: (Default)
It's really fucking humid here. Everytime I walk outside, I turn into a puddle of Jill.

Bosslady and I slept last night (I went to bed right after I made that post last night - or, earlier today for you folks in the US) for a short time, then she called me around 8am to rouse me out of bed for breakfast.

By the way, I've never slept so soundly in my life. There's a bazillion pillows on my bed and I must've passed out as soon as I laid my head on them. I had meant to lie down and set the alarm on my iPod or even listen to music for awhile, but nope. I was a goner.

We had breakfast at the hotel - it was a huge buffet with everything and more, not just breakfast. I already got adventurous with food and ate some sausage looking thing that my boss was wary of. It was tasty, for the record.

After that, we walked around a bit. We went to a handicraft store that Brandie recommended - three stories of all kinds of stuff made here. Lots of acacia wood, bamboo, coconut shell and mother-of-pearl items...and everything massively cheap. When we were done there, we stepped out into the pouring rain (hot rain, bleah) and made our way to another store that's kind of a really big department store, but has the prices (on clothing and purses, anyway) of a Wal-Mart. Found lots of things I intend to buy, but I want to see if there's even cheaper deals elsewhere first. I also really can't wait to find a grocery store.

Surreal moment of the day: Standing in a department store in the Philippines, listening to Snoop Dogg. The song after that was Fergilicious. It's hot, hot.

It's definitely been interesting, even in only having been here for less than 24 hours. It's strange being in the minority and not being able to understand people 99% of the time. Most everyone here speaks English, but they aren't speaking it until you do. So all you hear around you is Filipino and you're wondering what the hell might be going on. Even on the flights (and even at SeaTac) - everything was said in Korean first, then repeated in English second. Most of the people around us would understand that it was time to board about five minutes before we would. We've noticed, too, that everyone stares at us a lot. I think, like I told Bosslady, it's because we're clearly American. Brandie said that she and Chera were getting stared at as well.

We start the training class tonight - a car picks us up from the hotel at 10:30, so Bosslady and I will meet for dinner in the hotel around 9. Right now, I'm tired. I think I am going to drink my last can of Coca-Cola Light I'll have the gals at the office tell me where I can find somewhere to buy more where it's not 175 pesos a can - that's approximately $3.50 USD.

Okay, I'm off. I leave you with more pictures from Manila. view from the hotel... )
strryeyedgrrl: (Default)
Well, hey there.


Eeyore's ready for the trip, but am I? now, post later... )

A quick bulleted post about the last 24 hours.

* Ran around like a chicken with its head cut off on Saturday morning - got errands done and back to the apartment before 10:30 to meet up with Dad.

* Checked in for my flight, found that my checked bag was overweight. Damn it! It was only over by 1.5kg, but they still made me re-appropriate things. Thankfully, I had an empty duffel inside my suitcase. I pulled that out and tossed a few things in from my suitcase.

* Went through security, acted all novice-like and tried to walk through the metal detectors with my carry-on bag instead of putting in through the scanner.

* The flight from Seattle to Seoul was 11 hours long. We were delayed and ended up leaving nearly at 3pm.

* Watched a ton of movies on the flight. Watched all the way through: An Inconvenient Truth, Valkyrie and Marley & Me. Cried my little eyes out over Marley & Me. Watched the ends of: Bride Wars, Taken, Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I already saw Taken, in the theaters. Didn't care much about the other two and after seeing the endings, I'm glad that I didn't watch the whole things. Oh yeah, I saw the ending of Slumdog Millionaire. I need to watch the whole thing of that one.

* The service on Asiana was great. There was no one in the middle seat between the aisle seat passenger and me, so we got a lot more room. On the way to Manila from Seoul, I sat next to a jerky lady that ended up blocking me into the seats so I couldn't get out to get my bag from the overhead. Whatevs.

* Had three meals on the way there. Crazy!

* Was medically screened in both South Korea and the Philippines. Kind of creepy. There are tons of people here wearing surgical masks.

* It's hot and moist here. I've got the A/C up full blast in my room because this sticky heat just seems to permeate everywhere.

That's all I can think of for now. We have to acclimate ourselves to working graveyards, so we're trying not to sleep for awhile, but I'm kind of tired and think I'm going to take a nap for a few hours.

As it is, I'm pretty awake. I slept most of the flight here from Seoul, plus another two hours of sleep that I got after Al Gore's voice lulled me into a trance on the flight from Seattle.

All right, though. I'm off. I'm sure I'll be back later!
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