Wednesday, February 13, 2008

for our family newsletter story

a day out in manila...

we landed early in the a.m. monica from cedar rapids via minneapolis and tokyo. me & sabin from copenhagen via frankfurt and that freakish stopover in guanzhou where they don't let you off the plane but make you take off your seatbelts while they refuel the plane (as if when it blows up they won't want to identify your BODY from the seat number).

the gorgeous limo from the manila pen picked us up (ms. broberg, welcome back...). i truly love these people. and that hotel. it's the best in the world (who CARES if those guys staged their coup attempt there 4 days after we left? i'll still stay there the next time i to go to manila).

we bathed and met in the lobby (ohh, that lobby, it's a nest, a cocoon, the most wonderful place on the planet--live classical music lofting overhead while they serve fresh mango juice and you basque in comfy chairs with exactly the right lighting..but i digress). we had the pretty green pen car take us over to rockwell powerplant mall, where we got the works manicures/pedicures (sabin included--her first--at age 6) at dashing divas. at one point, the jetlags got to us, so we asked the divas to run to starbucks for lattes and cocoa for the 6-year-old.

we departed for a quick power shop at our favorite purse store (tint) and bubble bath (lush). then it was time to work! during the workshop, while julie slaved away at the sofitel and monica slaved away at the maersk office, testing out the eLearning on live learners, sabin went shopping with the nanny (a lovely girl named che), coming back with no less than 6 pairs of shoes, countless bracelets and hair ornaments.

that evening, it was the amazing show, a totally astonishing drag show at a condemned theatre within walking distance of the sofitel. sabin, at 6, was quite shocked and still doesn't believe those girls were really boys (some had had a LOT of work done). we don't think she's damaged long-term tho', how bad can broadway songs be?

back at the hotel with the gang (from all over the world--denmark, ireland, scotland, england, the US, the philippines and south africa), we dominated the dessert bar and kept the lobby lounge singer on until all hours of the morning (jetlag after all). some of the party departed for the hobbit bar (wait staff is all little people (in unpolitically correct parlance--dwarves)), but not us.

when it was all over (several days later), we spent another day shopping and pampering ourselves. we ate the best tapas outside of barcelona at the tapas place on the top floor of greenbelt 3 (don't miss the garlic shrimp or the salpicao). we embibed a few mangojitos at café havana (sabin had a fresh watermelon juice) and in all, fell madly in love with manila and the wonderful friendliness of the philippine people.

it was sabin's 4th visit, but her first in economy class. she asked on the way there, "mom, why are we in monkey?" why indeed...

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