I stayed at the Ramada in central Manila, I did not know at the time it was in Chinatown but was pleased when I saw the surroundings.

Getting there with the traffic was an adventure as I said before but well worth the cultural experience. Again the employees there were incredible and respectful and would race me to the door to open it for me when I went in or out. They would not let me carry my own bags and were knowledgeable of sites in the area.

When I checked in I had pre-paid for everything and they upgraded me to an executive suite on the 14th floor. It had a large set of windows facing Chinatown and it was an incredible view, especially at night with all the lights. Fortunately right next door was a 7-11 but nothing like we are used to here. I was not able to find any Diet Pepsi but finally found some coke zero which is sugar free.

Just about all drinks there, like iced tea, are sweetened to the max, I think because of the bad tasting water. And I seriously doubt there is a blood sugar or diabetes problem there. They are not soft and lazy like we are. Even the street people work hard to scratch out a few pesos every day.

The food at all the places I ate was incredible and I had to have the McDonalds experience of a big mac and it was better than I am used to here in the US. I also had Jollibee a big fast food place there. The prices sounded like a lot but when you converted to dollars it was incredibly cheap.

Spent some time walking around Chinatown and looking in some shops and I wonder how some of those merchants make it with being out of the way in basically back allies and literal hole in the wall shops.

I stuck out like a sore thumb of course but was always treated very well and welcomed everywhere I went. They do know where the money is and I am not rich or even close to it I am better off than most there.

Made a trip to the mall of Asia and it is an interesting place to people watch as much as anything and is surprising the products they have there and it made me wonder how much of those products were bought daily. Had lunch at the TGIFriday and again had some very good food there.

It must be noted that the Taxi rides took about an hour to get to the mall but were only about 10 miles away and cost about 260 pesos which comes out to about 6 dollars. Try getting that here in the U.S.

The day I checked out the hotel did try to add some extra charges and after a brief negotiation the were removed because it was an obvious attempt to gouge a dumb American, But there was no dumb American there that day, But all were extremely respectful during that process.

Next the culture shock in my own country…….