July 10

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Arrived!

After clearing customs with my many bags of liquids and a number of quizzical looks I arrived in the Philippines in one piece after a 16 hour flight. This included 5 HOURS of turbulence. I relied heavily on the resilience training, chanting ” this is out of my circle of control and influence”. I eventually made friends with the lady sitting next to me.

As we landed, I took some pictures – although it was overcast and raining, I was amazed by this country I was visiting for the first time. I felt excited about arriving, but already couldn’t believe the overcrowded living conditions….and floods that were on their way.

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The photos here don’t really do it justice. Driving from the airport to my apartment was not long but the difference between the two parts of the city was palpable – two extremes. Coming out of the airport you could see the slums and poverty…at a glance. I imagine it’s even more jaw dropping further in, but I could not see from where I was sitting. Driving through the city was a bit crazy but I felt completely at ease and safe in the car – the driver knew what he was doing – it reminded me a bit of the chaos of London driving…just get on with it and be bold!

Our apartment is in Makati – financial hub and a city like many others – large malls/coffee shops etc. It feels pretty safe – there is security on every door in most buildings and bag scanning at the entrances to the malls.  There seems to be everything you need here.

The apartment itself is very spacious and clean. I felt comfortable immediately and had unpacked everything within an hour or two. I slept well, although there were strange siren like noises – I did wonder if these might be ‘typhoon warnings’, but I woke up with the roof still intact and not afloat in my bed, so no, it wasn’t that.

The next day, after a glass of water and a bowl of cheerios, I went into town to explore and orientate myself…and get a few bits I needed. I found the biggest flip flop shop in the world, became disorientated and came home with an iron. Tomorrow I will buy food and a SIM card.

Next stop…My first day/week at Save. Speak soon, Alli 🙂

P.S. Toby, the umbrella is a godsend…thank you!