We have done some more shopping this past week. We have ordered our mattress for the bed - it's coming next Wednesday. We ordered a frame for the bed. And we also looked for living room furniture (new and used).
One Way of Buying Groceries - An Open Market
So I have some things to write about the shopping here. Returns are almost impossible, although they will exchange an item under certain circumstances. The grocery stores are also interesting. Many of the ones we have been in have many American/western foods. I think the biggest difference is the meat department. Most of the meat is not individually wrapped or kept behind glass (although some of it is in some of the stores), so it is sitting out in the open. One handy thing with the meat is that you can buy it chopped up into pieces for stir fry or other types of dishes. The grocery stores are as big as in the states and many are like a Walmart with other items for sale as well.
Rice Being Dried on the Road
The malls are huge. One we've been in is called Mega Mall (it's the 3rd largest in Manila), and it has six floors and is absolutely massive. I think Rivertown would fit inside it maybe 10 times over.
An Idea of What the Large Malls Look Like
The malls don't have very many sitting places, so no place to rest your legs weary from walking those huge halls. :-) They are often arranged by type of store - one floor or wing is all the department stores or clothing, another all furniture, another everything to do with cell phones. It is very convenient when you are looking for a specific item. In Mega Mall, we were impressed with the parking ramp. They have a sensor over every parking spot. If the spot is empty there is a green light. If it's full, there's a red one. So you can see at a glance if there are any open parking spaces on any particular level. Another thing: there are men in the parking ramps that will wash and wax your car for a very reasonable price while you are doing your shopping. You pay them before you go in and you come out to a sparkling car. Very handy. One other thing is that in the malls, buildings and the city in general, there are very few trash cans around. So maybe that is why there is so much trash in the streets.
Many of the restaurants are the same as you would find in the states - Pizza Hut, McDonalds (is there anywhere in the world where there aren't McDonalds??), Burger King, TGI Fridays, and Outback. But then there are also a lot that are Asian. Like we have said before, Manila is a curious mix of Philippine and western culture.
Yes, KFC too!
At each mall, store, bank, etc there is a security guard or two equipped with a pretty serious gun. At first I thought they didn't do much more than let people in and out of the store, but I've learned differently. Going into the malls they do a brief search of your person and bags (a woman one for the women and a man for the men). At the single store establishments they keep a pretty sharp eye on the parking lot and remember who has parked what vehicle, and they may ask you to move yours if someone needs to get in or out. They will also help you back out of a parking lot into a busy street. And we've had it where they have signed our receipt before we go out the door of the shop.
Daniel has had the vehicle serviced. He brought it in to Antipolo and took a tricycle back. The mechanic shop texted him (the main means of communication here) when it was finished and he had to take a trike back again to pick it up. There are a whole bunch of trikes parked at the gate of the subdivision waiting for passengers, so he walked there and caught one of those. They did a good job on the car - at least it is running better - and it was cheap.
In our shopping I had one very cultural experience. From the National Bookstore I bought a Philippine cook book and a Philippine bird book. :-) We have made one of the recipes from the cookbook - Pork Adobo.
We had an interesting morning on Monday. The Bastion of Truth men came here to meet with Rev. Smit and Daniel. We thought there would be three or four of them, but there were 7, so 9 altogether. That gave us a challenge as far as chairs go. We had the six dining ones, and Daniel’s office chair. I was just about to go to Tricia’s to get some of theirs when I spotted our park bench outside. We carried that in and that did it.
Meeting with the Bastion of Truth Pastors
I ended up sitting and lying on the bed in the bedroom while they were meeting, but that worked fine. I did my email and worked on the blog, so I had enough to keep me busy. They stayed for about 2 hours and had a good meeting.