Serendipitous Moments

We arrived safely in Manila this morning at 4:30 a.m. Friday. I know it is Thursday at home but we are 15 hours ahead . We took a taxi to our hotel which was in an alley lined with vendor booths and people sleeping on them with their children. I nearly stepped on a large dead rat which caused  me some concern of course.After storing our luggage we took off for an adventure since we could not check in until 2:00. There is a mall called  Mall of Asia we walked down to (nothing was open of course) but it was fun to see what shops they have and it was also next to the ocean. A number of large ships were docked off in the distance but the thing that intrigued me was a little old man on a small banana shaped boat. He was throwing out his net for a catch and pulling it in, throwing it out again and in again. This was repeated over and over ..  I wondered if this would be his days work .Joggers and bikers were out in numbers at the early morning hour, The sun was  blazing down and  the air was hot and steamy.  I truly felt like I was in a foreign tropical land.

What captured my heart most was seeing the people with their children curled up on their booths and in their pedi – cabs. I wanted to take a picture for the sake of memories but also didn’t want to intrude on their privacy. I was surprised how many of them were sleeping and wondered where they eat and clean up.When we came back to hour hotel this afternoon  the police were tearing down the vendor booths that served as homes earlier in the day. I was saddened to think where will they sleep tonight.

Manilla is similar to China in the traffic, dirt, garbage, noise, and smells. It is definitely tropical climate with lush greenery . But the people are different. They seem to be more loving kind and courteous., they smile a lot, and seem interested in us. I even heard excuse me today and I’m sorry. These are not commonly used words in China..The women have the sweet smile and giggle when they are acknowledged which always endears me to them

We were able to walk through the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. It was sobering to see row after row of marble crosses in memory of the fallen and missing in action soldiers.  The grounds of 152 acres 17,097 headstones and 16,933 Latin crosses were immaculate with grass cut perfectly and huge trees hovering over the memorials like an umbrella.It gave me a sense of pride knowing this was most likely taken care of by the U.S. and it looked pristine and beautiful.

We walked and walked and walked until our feet were swollen achy and throbbing. Every chance we could get to walk into an air conditioned place and sit we did. It was early and not many places were open. We took a taxi to see the LDS Temple.While walking around people wanted to have conversation with us or my daughter because she could speak their language. The day was wearing on us and we needed some food but could not find a place that suited our taste-buds. As we walked into a little grocery store I saw an American woman. I thought she can speak to me. As I approached her and asked if she was American and where she would suggest we eat she immediately responded with “come to my house..” She was from Gilbert about 2 miles from my home. My daughter knew her daughter and we became immediate friends. We went to her home which was lovely and she made us homemade pasta and cheese.She has been here for 4 years with her husband on assignment for work. Not only did we enjoy our lunch  but we were able to put our feet up in an air conditioned home and  appreciate how no accidents brought us together. I now have a dear friend in Manila who lifted me up when needed. I hope to return the favor someday.