Wet Sunday

Sunday the remains of the latest cyclone hovered around Manila. It was a day to stay indoors and take care of other assignments, read and take naps. I decided to take a late breakfast but that was a mistake; everyone and their brother, and especially little overweight brothers, milled around the various self-service stations in random movements. The description of the breakfast arrangement is priceless: a showcase of a live interactive kitchen and the intent to “make your gastronomic adventure more festive.” Today I am going to try breakfast at 6 and visit station 7, the kimchi and other fermented foods station.

During a few dry spells I took a walk in the neighborhood of the hotel. It was Sunday and therefore quiet for a change. We are near the UN and the University of the Philippines faculty of allied health services and the university hospital. The buildings hint at past grandeur but it is gone now. The Radium and X-Ray Therapy Institute had known better times, its function chiseled into its grand façade.

When the mall opened I checked out eyeglasses but found little reason to purchase an extra set here. The prices were only slightly lower than in the US. This is true for many of the brand name offerings at the mall which clearly caters to the well-heeled citizens of Manila. Only the nail and spa places are a bargain for us. After the pedicure a facial and massage is still on the program.

Two women who had just flown in from the US joined us for dinner. One is from Johns Hopkins University who will share the findings of a research study about wheelchairs. The other is from the US Cerebral Palsy Foundation and arranged her last minute flight, this event being too good an opportunity for her program to meet with key stakeholders to miss. We went out to the Seafood Market restaurant, recommended to us by both the concierge and the reception staff, a short walk from our hotel.

The restaurant turned out to be quite a dining experience. When entering the restaurant one receives a supermarket shopping cart and then helps oneself to fresh fish, displayed on ice, vegetables and fruits. When done the cart is wheeled into the kitchen and a short while later the contents of the cart return to the table transformed into a most wonderful meal.  For about 20 dollars each we had sweet and sour fish, scallops, jumbo prawns and a mountain of stir fried greens. For dessert we had picked mangoes and watermelons which were delivered to our table prepped for easy eating. What a concept!

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