Monday, September 1, 2014

Manila: First Impressions

Today is my first of several days in Manila (Makati, to be exact). I'm here to basically do a trial run of early retirement here. So far, here's what I've done: I got here late last evening and took a yellow taxi to my AirBnb apartment. My plan early this morning (around 7:30ish) was to go grocery shopping, but nothing here except for Starbucks opens until 10. I didn't have any food in the apartment, so a 115 php Starbucks sandwich was breakfast.

My first impression of Manila is that it reminded me of Bangkok. Take away the signs in English, and tell me I'm in Bangkok, and I'd believe you. As expected, the Filipinos think I'm Filipino. But the interesting thing is that the level of English penetration isn't as deep as advertised. It's definitely better than Bangkok, don't get me wrong, where English is more or less useless, but you will run into Filipinos who don't speak English. Obviously it's a bit early in my trip to say how often that will be, but if I did retire here, I'd definitely try to learn Tagalog, especially since I look Filipino.

As for the girls, also obviously a bit early to say anything about them, but my first impression about them is mixed. Purely from a looks perspective, I can't say I've seen any stunners, but most of them are in good shape. Filipinos in general are shorter than I expected; I feel they're generally shorter than Thais, but maybe my reference point is still Atlanta, with its generally tall (but sometimes surprisingly short) black guys. It may also be that it's in our DNA to be attracted to looks that are different from ours; I'll find out when I visit Eastern Europe, and to a lesser extent, South America.

From an early retirement perspective, part of me is worried about what the heck I'll do with my time. That's the first thing I thought of this morning. But maybe that's because I'm used to work taking the bulk of my time, with errands coming in second, and hobbies coming in last (which usually was daygame). I can't remember the last time I played the two musical instruments I own, or went for a cycling joyride (instead of daygaming). I'm going to see if I can take surfing lessons at the wave pool here, so maybe I'll like that. Surfing looked fun in the movie Point Break, anyway.

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