Sunday morning we all kinda lounged around until 8:30. We then headed out for Manila Ocean Park. Along the way we noticed a few things: the streets were really empty, they smelled like urine, and we saw a kid POOPING in the gutter. He just climbed atop a concrete block, dropped the shorts and started straining......unbelievable. Erica pointed out that where else DO you poop if you're homeless? But we all agreed that it was a little unsettling. We continued our walk to the Manila Baywalk which is HOPPING on Sunday mornings. There were about 20 people swimming in the bay (eew) and hundreds along the streets. We walked passed the US Embassy which was devoid of street vendors and loiterers, and we were told we couldn't use our cameras in the vicinity. Just before we got to the Ocean Park, we literally had to step over a boy about 4-5 years old, who was just conked out on the sidewalk. Sad.
The Ocean Park was pretty nice, newly built. We got in line for tickets and then waited for the Mermaid Show which started at 10:30. This was rather disappointing, with females in mermaid suits swimming around to ACOUSTIC Beyonce and other rap songs, but we stayed for the show because there were all sorts of cool fish there too. When it was over we started through the Ocean Park. There were tons of fish, all nicely labeled, and some you could touch too. The highlight for us though was the Doctor Fish. These little guys are all in a pool, and for 120P ($3) you can stick your feet in for 20 minutes. The fish will then EAT your dead skin and give you a pedicure. It was weird, and took a while to get used to. There was one pool with little fish, and another with bigger fish. The bigger fish were really creepy.....but we all walked away with slightly prettier feet.
After we finished it was time for lunch so we ate at Gerry's Bar and Grill. There were some interesting items on the menu...... I ate my Sisig again (enjoying it while I can) with a San Miguel. Heather and Shannon had some crispy noodles with vegetables, Megan had an inedible dish (that I had almost ordered!) that tasted like bacon but the noodles were really rubbery and gross. Erica and Carol played it "safe" - or so they thought. Carol had some spicy chicken that tasted just like Buffalo wings. Erica ordered the Club Sandwich. Now, this club is like no other club I've ever heard of: bread, layer of tuna salad, bread, mayonnaise, scrambled egg, cheese, bread, more cheese. Can you say "heart attack"? A little strange - and when she asked for ketchup for her fries she got sweet-n-sour sauce. Nice.
After lunch we continued walking north to Fort Santiago inside Intramuros. Along the way we saw a lot more homeless people. Our lunch leftovers went to a little girl sleeping on a piece of cardboard on the side of the sidewalk. There were whole families living just off the sidewalk, along a fence that kept them nicely separated from the prestigious golf course inside Intramuros. What a comparison!
Fort Santiago was built by the Spanish in the 1500's. It has been used by the Spanish, Filipinos, Americans and Japanese. The Filipino here, Dr. Jose Rizal, was kept in a cell there before his execution in the 1890's. Under Japanese control the fort served as prison camp for Americans and Filipinos. The horrible condition of the dungeons killed many with pneumonia and disease. As if that wasn't enough, the dungeons are below sea level so when the tides would rise the prisoners had to literally 'sink or swim', and there was nowhere to swim. The bodies of over 600 prisoners were found after the Battle of Manila in 1945 - killed when the Japanese knew they were losing. It was a sobering place, lots to see and think about.
We enjoyed the Manzanan Handicrafts store, and also the Intramuros Cathedral before returning home. Erica and Carol decided to try the "Traycicle", a guy peddling a bike with a 2 seat attachment. We were a little worried for their safety, and opted to take a cab for the rest of us. The tricycle beat us all home, but they did pay a bit more.
Dinner was spaghetti with sauce, Parmesean cheese and frozen veggies. Oh yeah, and wine. And beer. Then at 7:30 we all traipsed up to the roof to watch the Brits compete against the Chinese in a battle of fireworks. The Brits won, in our opinion, because their fireworks were higher in the air and we could see them above the building that blocked our way. Come on China, you guys INVENTED fireworks!
Only 46 hours till Bry lands in Manila! Getting excited!
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