Lizzie and I had three days off this week--Wednesday through Friday (today).
On Wednesday, we toured the Laguna de Bae area with Beng and Lili. This was our first trip out of Manila.
We stopped, first, in Jose Rizal's birthplace and toured (a reproduction) of his house. Then we drove through Los Banos and saw another UP campus. We ate lunch at Exotic, a place with lots of stairs, pools, animals in cages (monkeys, massive boa constrictors). Then we visited Lili's hometown, Pila, and looked at the historic town square, as well as the old church. Finally, we saw a baroque church from the 1600s.
We also saw rice fields, squatters along the roadside, a neat sunset on the lake, beggars, mounds of trash (some of them on fire)... By the end of the day, I was quite dizzy with new (and familiar) sights. I can't say that I got exactly what I wanted from the trip outside of the city--I think I wanted to escape from this metro madness, but it's leaked so pervasively into the countryside that I suspect there's really NO escaping it.
I will probably appreciate the trip more in hindsight.
Yesterday, Lizzie and I went back to our favorite mall to see Up in 3D. It was sort of a strange day, because we did things we'd do back home: ate lunch at TGI Friday's, saw Up, got our hair cut, browsed in a bookstore, looked at shoes, bought shirts--but everything had a little twist to remind us that we weren't back home.
TGI Friday's: the waiters have to wear all the ridiculous flair, but they're definitely Filipino/a in style, with knee high Converse laced up with neon laces, or a flouncy black skirt paired with swiss cheese black tights and witchy black boots.
Up: the projectionist couldn't get the film aligned properly for the previews and short, so even with the special glasses on, everything tripled on us.
Hair cut: the woman washed our hair for, I kid you not, at least 5 minutes, scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing, bouncing the backs of our heads against the porcelain sink, rubbing her knuckles into our scalps until I wanted to jump up and scream.
Our hairdresser, Mr. Ben, who trained in Santa Monica, lectured Lizzie on using conditioner and me on how to use my vented brush to make my hair flip under. (I didn't have the heart to tell him that I'm beyond pro with the hair; it's just that I didn't blow dry, for a change--didn't plan on getting a trim, actually, because we were there only to get Lizzie bangs, which of course she didn't get, again [in this way the experience was exactly like visiting Gregg back in the States; it must say NO BANGS somewhere on Lizzie's invisible operator's manual]--and at the last minute scrunched some lame product into the ends of it, making it flip up a little, which is apparently a fashion no-no here...)
Mr. Ben told me all about the shape of my face (oblong) and why I need a brow skimming fringe, and how he was going to soften it near my eyes but not shorten it, and it wasn't until I visited the bathroom at the Pancake House, much later, and looked into the mirror, that I discovered that I looked a bit like Eddie from the Munster's.
Today, Lizzie and I got massages at the spa near the UP. My masseuse, Cathi, must have been one of the strongest women on staff. She had fingers of iron--and boy did she use them to get at the knots in my upper back and shoulders. At one point, though it felt good, I thought that perhaps one of the knots would explode, travel into my brain, and turn the rest of me to mush. Our massages included both back AND front, much to Lizzie's consternation. "I wish I'd had a little privacy," she said, as we dressed afterwards.
My massage was heavenly, though, and I'm nicely sore now. Tomorrow, I'll feel as if I've been beaten up, I'm sure. The price tag for this double dose of crunchy, knot eliminating muscle fun? 1100 pesos for the two of us, which translates to about 23 bucks. Can you believe it? Definitely A DEAL.