Saturday, February 20, 2010

Greenhills and Sushi

In the afternoon Megan and I decided to go back shopping at Greenhills mall.  Greenhills is known for cheap everything, but especially pearls.  We took a cab this time and it was nice to get to see more of the city.  There is unbelievable disconnect between the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor.  There appears to be no middle class, although it's amazing what we're considering a "nice" neighborhood now.  The "bad" neighborhoods are slums, with corrugated tin houses stacked together, leaning every which way, with cats and trash all around and kids running in the streets, people selling this at stop lights.  The ride didn't take too long, and the taxi kept his meter on.
For sake of surprises, I won't tell you what we all purchases but we feel like we got some good deals.  We could have spent a lot more money.... lots of stuff and super cheap.  We of course fell in love with furniture and lamps, but no way to get those home :(  We did say hi to my friend Nadja, with whom I am now friends on Facebook. (Her idea!)  If anyone wants to order some pearls, I know a guy......
It was too early for dinner when we wanted to leave so we decided to kill some time and go to a different section of town for dinner.  I had heard about a good sushi restaurant in Makati, perhaps operated by some ties to the Japanese mafia.  This means the freshest seafood and the cheapest prices.  Well the cab that picked us up was a real surprise..... he was a Punjabi Indian who was born in Manila.  His family ran a number of businesses in the US, India and Manila, including his renting the taxi out.  He doesn't usually even drive the taxi - in fact, this was his FIRST TIME!!! AHHHH with the traffic in Manila Megan and I were a bit skeptical (and scared!).  He didn't know where we wanted to go so luckily I had my map with me and directed him most of the way there.  He kept stopping to ask people how to get to the place - some of them made fun of him and told him he shouldn't be driving - another crazy guy with no teeth jumped around and then demanded money for telling him where to turn!!!  Unbelievable, but we made it there.  (We also heard his life story, including his Filipina girlfriend who left him - taking his 2 kids, his mother who doesn't accept the girlfriend or the kids, his family in Sacramento, CA, his farm in Punjab - 80 acres, etc etc.)
We got out in a rather sketchy neighborhood.  Not 5 blocks away is the ritzy Greenbelt area (where Reuben and I ate) but this hole was something different.  We asked around and found the restaurant - Kikufugi.  We approached around 5 pm and the sign said it didn't open until 5.  We asked the doorman who said "For you, I open the store!"  We walked in and surprised the Japanese sushi chefs and the waitresses who were NOT prepared for two white girls to walk in before the restaurant was even open.  However, once we pulled out cameras they got very friendly and were even posing.  The seafood we were going to eat was laid out, or swimming in the tanks, and looked amazing.  We ordered edemame, then some sashimi samples, and decided to add some rolls on later.  The sushi was super good - very smooth.  The strangest thing we got was some fish roe with what we believe was a sperm sac on top, but even that was tasty.  We got our sushi fix and then enjoyed a nice cab ride home with.....wait for it......SEATBELTS!!!!  Megan and I almost didn't know what to do with those funny strap thingys, and it was the first time since the AIRPLANE that we'd had some on.
The girls were excited to see our purchases and had played it safer (or not, ask Carol tomorrow) with McDo - the nickname for McDonald's.  We ended the night with some more card games and are looking forward to sleeping in and then heading to the Ocean Park tomorrow.

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