Another low-key day
Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
20Trip End Feb 02, 2010
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After lunch, we caught a jeepney to the other big mall in the area, SM. This was my first experience with a ubiquitous but seemingly insane form of public transportation. The fare is exceedingly cheap -- about 15 cents in US currency. These vehicles are minibuses with an open back, when you see one heading to where you want to go, you just climb in (sometimes negotiating traffic to get to it). There is a variety of sizes, the vehicle we took going to the mall had a capacity of maybe 14 adults, the one we had on the return was larger and could hold 20 or more.
At the mall, I got the rest of my US (and Canadian) currency exchanged. I was advised to only change a small amount at the airport and seek better rates in the city, a tactic that has paid off in the past. The Marriott Hotel, however, was a full 2 pesos / dollar LESS than the rate I got at the airport. At the mall, the rate was similar to what I got at the airport (in other words, not enough of a difference to warrant waiting); and still slightly less than international market rates according to XE.com.
We had planned to take the Super Cat ferry to Leyte on Wednesday, and thought that tickets could be reserved online, so we opted not to visit their office at the mall
After stopping at a coffee shop for an afternoon snack consisting of a not-too-sweet chocolate cake and coffee (Zel had mocha), we headed back to the hotel. We discovered we could only reserve the Supercat tickets online, and a 48 hour advance notice was required, so that trip was put off until Thursday. As of now (Wednesday morning) the request is still listed as "pending" and we need to pick up the tickets today, so we'll see if that trip comes off as planned. Instead, we decided today we will find a beach
For dinner, Zel had a taste for Italian food and we went to Don Henricos at the mall. To put it in perspective, this place would have to aspire to become as good as Sbarro. Yes, it was that bad (and we should have known since it was pretty much empty). A mixed seafood pasta had a grayish hue; but at least it tasted better than it looked. The pizza was pretty dreadful (not that I expected Pizzeria Uno). Zel mentioned her favorite restaurant in Manila is Italian and much better, and that they have a good pizza place there as well; we will try both near the end of the trip.
We walked around the second level of the mall to look at some of the other restaurant options. Neither of us expected Don Henricos would have decent dessert after what we had, so we kept an eye out for someplace to stop, but nothing caught our fancy. I thought it was a lovely night out (low-70's, low humidity and the breezy wind from earlier had died down). But it was too cold for Zel, so we came back to the hotel and watched a movie.