Safe with Murphy's Law in FULL EFFECT

Trip Start May 11, 2006
Trip End May 05, 2006

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Saturday, May 13, 2006

HELLO!!! I'm sorry for any typos as this keyboard is slightly different than home.

Well, our group have all finally arrived safely to Manila after a personal total travel time of 36 hours! I was beat and greasy upon arrival! Our group came with may mishaps, missing persons, missing baggage (me, of course!); among other things. Manila reminds me of Guatemala City. It is a very Asian city, but has strong Spanish and English influences. Our hotel is pretty nice, with a thumping club across the street and a Starbucks right outside! It sounds a lot nicer than it is. A typhoon passed through just before we arrived, so it has been rainy ever since = muddy, smelly streets. There are beggars left and right, mingled with both nice restaurants and plentiful clubs of all types. Prostitution is rampant here, so you see many a character at every turn. We have a wonderful group dynamic with 5 men, 6 women, and 1 professor from JMU. I am one of the oldest, along with the Teacher's asst. Everyone else are Undergrads currently at JMU. This will be a fun journey, but hopefully Murphy's Law will give us a break.
My luggage has not yet arrived, so I am surviving off 3 shirts, a few under-garments and minimal toiletries. I have all of my money and the bare essentials. Unfortunately, my research gear (underwater survey forms and transect tape) were in my checked bags, so I may be winging my research! DOH!
We are departing Manila in a few hours to head south to Laguna Province for a festival tomorrow. The next time I'll be in Manila is in 16 days! Let's hope I can adapt to having next-to-nothing!
The food so far has been very good, but we have also stuck to more expensive restaurants. I paid US$6 for mango crepes, a plain omelete and syrup-like hot cocoa for breakfast. That's a BIG MEAL and considered pricey for this country.
Until next time! I hope to have pictures available by then and I hope to get online more often. Thanks for reading and I'll see you soon!
Amanda :)
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