Kuala Lumpur!

Ironic that i’m writing my first blog post on my trip to Malaysia only hours before i head off to Jakarta, Indonesia for a couple weeks. Better late than never i guess!

As the countries tourism board boasts very clearly, Malaysia is truly asia. I’ve had an amazing time over here, and gone on quite a few adventures in my brief time in the country.

So many things have happened since i’ve gotten here, that i’ll use pictures to try and describe my couple week in KL, and then have a few more posts about the adventures to the elephant sanctuary and Taman Negara soon!

Kuala Lumpur!

After my long day of travel, i headed off to work at the outback steakhouse in Bukit Bintang. Bukit Bintang is basically the heart of the city, and the happening, touristy downtown area which made my stay in the country that much more interesting. The outback restaurant i was mainly working at was located in a touristy plaza called BB Park

Outback steakhouses all over the world haha

Me with my temporary boss and managing partner of the Malaysian Outbacks..Mr. Rajiv Bharatiya. I spent most of my time over here in Malaysia with Rajiv, and it was very interesting hanging out with him and getting to know about his life and the way he views the world. Although his management style and mine differ in some respects, it was a learning experience watching him lead his team and go about his daily business. He was a great host, and helped make sure i felt very comfortable from day 1 in the city.

They have random cultural events in BB plaza such as performing traditional malaysian dances, or on some occasions belting out unique versions of Bruno Mars’ “Just the way you are” haha

Picked up a local sim card over here so could still use my smartphone which is nice. Interestingly enough, it’s significantly cheaper for me to make phone calls to the US than locally which didn’t make too much sense to me

I only live a couple streets away from the restaurant i’m based out of, and so as a result i walk to work everyday. One of the streets i walk through is Jalan Alor, which is this crazy street filled with all of the hawker stalls selling good cheap food. I had been craving thai so naturally had to go grab some!

Also, chang beer is delicious!

They were using toilet paper for napkins haha

While at dinner i met a great German couple, and ended up talking to them for a couple hours!

The world famous KL petronas towers!

I met up with the “windgy” british girl (Just kidding!) that i met on the plane. Also, i’ve started learning and using all sorts of ridiculous british and australian terms that i’ve never even heard of before. It’s really funny interacting with brits, and aussies as we’ll be having conversations and there will always be a few times where we just look at one anothe rdumbfounded, wondering what the hell the other one just said haha.

Kate’s bud wes, who is traveling with her was with us as well, and we had an absolutely ridiculous night at the biggest nightclub in Kuala Lumpur. It’s far too ridiculous to describe on a public blog, but in summary: free drinks at the club from the dj upstairs, got into vip where world famous dj Marco V was playing, met a russian model, met a crazy turkish duke hater and umd basketball fan, and had an interesting exchange with a taxi driver…all in all a great, expensive night!

DJ Marco V playing in Zouk’s night club!

There happened to be a huge riot taking place in the city the next day. Was very strange situation, as there was one party protesting for more rights and freedoms, etc. (the bersih’s and people who were wearing yellow) and then there was the group i nthe pictures below who are actually governent supporters who were doing a counter protest (Red people)

They actually blocked off all the entrances to the city, and many of the major roads so that most of the protestors who were coming in from outside the city weren’t actually allowed to enter KL. They ended up tear gassing this entire street, and believe something like 700 people were arrested, but fortunately i don’t believe that there was too much violence which took place. For the record, this has been the 3rd riot that i was a part of haha..

Made some awesome new australian friends at the elephant sanctuary (Full story to come soon) and met up with them later on in the week. We had a pretty wild night, bouncing form bar to bar on the busy street packed with pubs right down the road from me and from what i remember it was an awesome night!

I’ve developed this really strange habit/ability to meet people and then have them ask me if i would like to join them for dinner in about 5-10 minutes. A nice new skill to have as i would otherwise be eating alone haha. I met some really cool girls from toronto one night, and grabbed dinner at a hawker stall. Despite popular american belief, the Canadians were actually very cool haha

The next night, i went to get dinner at an indian place down the road and ended up sitting down with a couple british girls who were traveling around. They were just about to start uni, and was pretty entertaining hearing their thoughts on the world. One girl hated angelina jolie, and went off on this rather amusing tangent about it

Yummy indian meal…I’m gonna miss malaysian food so much

After dinner with those randoms, i headed down to chukit bintang or something like that, and walked past this bar which had the coolest concept…free books and beer! They had a place where you could drop off, or pick up books for free. They had some really interesting looking books, and i managed to find one called “In the time of madness” which is all about indonesia and how the UN kinda fucked around with the country. Can’t wait to start reading it as soon as i get there!

Books and beer, brilliant!

After i picked up my book at that place, i stopped at the bar across the street from my hotel as there were pool tables and i figured it could be fun to play a game or two. I ended up meeting this awesome indian guy from wales, and we hit it off immediately. Turns out he’s a doctor that just finished his schooling, and when all was said and done we had spent nearly 3 hours just talking about all sorts of random and interesting things. There are few things i enjoy more than solid, deep conversations with strangers. Really refreshing, and puts lots of things in perspective and i was very happy to have met him.
Pool bar

The next day, i went off to this epic mall called Pavillion to do a “competitive menu analysis” at Chili’s restaurant, which meant that i was able to eat a delicious chili’s meal while analyzing the menu haha. The mall was gigantic, and 6 floors. It seems that asia has a strange obsession with building ridiculously large, high-end malls for tourists to shop in, and for local to soak up the AC

Giant jersey inside pavillion mall.

Harry Potter Day!

On July 13th, a day i had been waiting for finally arrived. IT was the day that i was able to go and see the final harry potter movie! Making things even better was the fact that the movie was scheduled to release in the US on the 15th, and due to the 12 hour time difference i was actually able to watch the movie 36 hours before everyone back home haha.

I walked up and down the Jalan Alor hawker stalls and food market that afternoon during my off from work, and took a bunch of pictures of all the cool fruits i had never seen before. I also went to the bargaining market down the street, and haggled for a knock-off north face backpack, and some fresh looking fake paul smith shoes!

This is the famous durian fruit, which is one of the smelliest fruits in the world. It actually just smells foul, and it’s so bad that if caught with it in my hotel, there is actually a 200 rinngit (Rinngit is the local currency here, and the exchange rate is about 3 rinngit per 1 usd) fine haha. I decided to try some on the bus to the elephant sanctuary, and it was actually one of the sttrangest things i’ve ever tasted, and not in a good way. It tasted like a combination of peanut butter and mango, and took me a good while to get the flavor out of my mouth, and even longer to get the smell out of our bus haha

Durian fruit – try at your own risk!

That night, after work i decided to grab some Tom Yum noodle soup before the movie. Deliciousness.

Met some awesome swiss girls at the table next to mine, and talked to them for a super long time. I had actually met a really cool girl from Switzerland and an awesome guy from england the night before. The english dude actually studied abroad in Boston, and said he got with the local news4 anchor while there haha. We went out to the bars together, and had a pretty crazy time the evening before. It’s been so cool meeting people from all over the world, and hearing about their lives, countries, cultures, and travels!

On the other hand, hasn’t been great to hear global opinions on americans. Very interesting to hear other peoples takes on our culture and people, and it seems that people from other countries travel abroad significantly more than americans…but that’s a whole nother’ blog post

With new swiss friends!

After a lovely meal with the swiss girls, i headed off to see the movie. Movies abroad are soo cheap, and a 3d movie ticket was about 6usd! I saw the 11:20 showing at the KLCC towers, and lovedd the movie!

End of Harry potter, and potentially my childhood.

Amazing towers once more

After i got back, i ended up running into my welsh indian doctor bud Ravi at the pool place, and afterwards we headed to the local sk restaurant where i’ve been a regular patron and had a great meal for dinner #3 of the night. The restaurant’s open til 5am or so, and meals are super cheap so been heading there a bunch.
Ravi was a great guy, and thoroughly enjoyed his company. Unfortunately, i forgot to take down his contact information so have no clue how to get in contact with him, and he’s off traveling around different parts of malaysia. Wonder if i’ll ever see him again!

This post is turning out to be much longer than i planned, so i’m gonna split it up a bit and write another post in a bit about my second week in malaysia.

As excited as i am to get to Jakarta and explore a new city, i am just as excited to head back home to the US and see all my friends and family again!

Cheers mates!

Sahil

Long day of travel

This post’s nearly 2 weeks overdue, and i actually wrote it a while back but for whatever reason got lazy and never quite finished it. Regardless, It’s a semi-long, relatively unimportant post about my super long day of travel as i finally made it over to my current residence over here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Awful Asian Airports

To be quite honest, i’m rather sick of discount airlines and their ridiculous policies when it comes to baggage. I’m also pretty over Asian airports in general, aside from the Singapore one which is world class.

I hopped in a cab around 7am for the airport, and said goodbye to my hotel room that had served as my temporary home during the past couple weeks. Once i got to the airport, as i had expected I unfortunately couldn’t check my second bag in. My second, smaller bag was about 13kg, and needed to be 7kg. As a result, i had to stuff an extra 6 kg’s of shit into my already huge suitcase. This resulted in my big suitcase being 30 kg…good thing the limit was 20kg’s!…
Even better was that it was 15 USD per kg over, soo was quickly adding up. I managed to convince them to only charge me for 5kg’s over, and figured i was done with it. As i’ve quickly learned in asian airports, you’re never done with anything.

As it was nearly a 75 dollar bill that i had to pay for the extra baggage weight, i naturally handed her my credit card. It was 3750 in Pesos, and i never carried close to that amount around with me, as it is just not a prudent decision with so many pickpockets, etc in the area. As my luck has been in Asian airports, turns out that they don’t accept credit cards!

I was extremely frustrated at this point, and was about to flip out but being that i was in the Philippines by myself i thought better of it. I walked around lugging my ridiculously heavy backpack around while searching for an ATM and finally found one, which was a huge sigh of relief. If i hadn’t found it, i wouldn’t have been able to bring one of my bags with me on the flight! …Therefore, it was a great thing the only atm on the floor was broken…

A Jetstar (Airline i was flying) employee noticing my frustration and the situation led me downstairs to another set of atms. I tried one more and it didn’t work, and i was on the verge of giving up momentarily. I tried the next atm, with little expectation of it actually working, but miraculously it accepted my card and i was able to finally check in my bag.

I only took out 4000 pesos to pay for the bags, as i didn’t want lots of excess money in pesos. This turned around to bite me in the ass, as the airport has some mystery service fee of 750 pesos you must pay to enter security which was absolutely ridiculous. As a result, i was thrown into disarray once more and had to go digging through my bag to find some singapore dollars, which i converted to pesos and finally was able to get through security with my bag checked in and on their way to Singapore. To say i was happy to be through security and sit down at the gate would be an understatement haha.

In what had proved to be a rare occurrence in Manila, the sun was shining as the flight was taking off, and i was happy to be headed to Singapore!

Singapore for a second: again

My flight landed in Singapore, and i had about 5 hours to kill before i boarded my next flight to my final destination of kuala lumpur. As mentioned earlier, i carried on my troublesome bag, and so decided that i would be done with it during my travels. I was going to go to the Outback in Singapore, and leave it there till I came back here Aug. 3rd – 8th and pick it up again.

I needed to grab a cab to get to the outback, and for some reason there was a 10 minute quene to get a cab. I grabbed some food, and it worked out great as i ended up with an executive limo cab, which was a really nice mercedes sedan.
My executive limo taxi

Huge ferris wheel joant joant in Singapore

After dropping off my bags, i met up with my bosses at the companies headquarters and got updated instructions on my tasks for Malaysia and then headed back to the airport.

Went to the Hugo Boss store to kill some time and tried on some clothes that cost the same as my 2 month stipend haha…one day.

While waiting for my plane at the gate, I made friends with an awesome British girl who was around my age and heading to KL as well. We hit it off right away, and ended up sitting next to each other on the plane and had a great time. The ride flew by (Pun intended) and was lost in conversation the whole time.
It was pretty entertaining making fun of one another’s accents and cultures, and despite the fact that we were both speaking english it was funny how many times we had to ask each other to repeat words and sentences. Was great to see that despite the fact we are both from different countries and backgrounds, we had so much in common and were able to connect right away.

Also, i’m a sucker for british accents…too bad she has a boyfriend haha. The good news was that i had made a friend who would be in KL before i had even landed there, so we met up later on in the week!

Met up with kate and her bud Wes in KL!

Anyhow our plane finally landed in KL, and after aimlessly wandering around the airport with kate for a while and waiting at the wrong baggage claim, we finally made it out of the airport.

First sign i saw outside the airport, they weren’t kidding. KL has truly provided me a flavorful taste of asia!

I actually had no idea what i was supposed to do after getting off the plane, beyond being told to go to central station and someone will be waiting for you there (with a picture of the guy attached). Finally figured out where the bus to central station was, and turned out it was an hour+ ride. Finally got there, and saw a man with searching eyes matching my own who turned out to be my ride and the managing partner of Outback Malaysia.

The parking machine was broken, so took him 20 minutes to figure out how to get out of the garage but we finally headed off to my hotel.

The name of the neighborhood i’m living in is Bukit Bintang. It is pretty much the most happening spot in KL, and has a very active nightlife on the weekends. I’m really glad to be living here as there are tons of tourists out and about who i’ve been able to meet and spend time with.

Bukit Bintang!

I’m staying in a small colorful hotel called YY38. Strange name, i know. So strange, that i felt inclined to ask, and the reasoningwas pretty profound. The owner of the hotel owns a company called YY, and the lot number was 38, and so the YY38 hotel was born haha.

Naturally, had to put my tapestry and NO8DO flag up to make my temporary residence feel like home!

They both fell down, and may have ripped off some wall paint…

Other side of the room. Have a great tv that gets an incredible 6 channels

I’m on the fourth floor and so this is the view from my room.

Despite the relatively uncomfortable bed, and occasional ant or two that seem to enjoy crawling on aforementioned bed, i’ve really enjoyed staying here and the staff has been great.

Malaysia has been an awesome, awesome trip so far and i will be sure to put up a few posts in the next couple days about all the unusual things i’ve been doing over here.

Missing everyone back home, and hope you’re all doing well. Get on skype so i can see your faces!

Cheers!

-Sahil

Holaa amigos

Hey everyone,

Sorry i got a bit lazy for a while and haven’t posted anything since i’ve gotten to Kuala Lumpur! Malaysia has been awesome, and i’ve been meeting all sorts of really interesting, cool people in the city.

I’m gonna sit down and try to recap what’s happened in the craazy past 10 days or so in the next few hours, so hopefully there will be a few more posts coming soon!

The other day, my good friend Lilly Prince who i met while Studying abroad in Sevilla made an absolutely amazing video about our program and time together in Spain. If you have any questions about whether to study abroad or want to find out how my time in spain was WATCH THIS!

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150244859762935&oid=146570968748617&comments

Just 23 short days till i’m back in the US, crazy how fast my time in Malaysia and Asia is going by!

Cheers!

-Sahil

Mamu in Manila & Adios Filipinos!

Hola amigos!

Finally made it to Malaysia after a super long day of travel last night. I’m living in the Bukit Bintang neighborhood which is this awesome, happening downtown neighborhood in KL,Malaysia and have a feeling this is going to be a super awesome 2 weeks, Full post to come soon!

Mamu in Manila & Adios Filipinos!

On monday night, my Mamu (Mom’s brother) just happened to be coming into Manila for the next week. His company sets up VPOs (Call outsourcing centers) and Makati has quickly become one of the world’s biggest hubs for call centers only behind India, as most of the population speaks relatively good English. The crazy thing is, people are jumping to snatch up the call center jobs, and they are considered to be very high paying. Imagine hundreds of Americans excited to get jobs at call centers…just another reminder of how good we really have it.

Anyways, to say our meeting in the Philippines was a coincidence or random just doesn’t seem to do the situation justice. My uncle and I haven’t seen each other in over a year, as he lives in Texas and we’re in Maryland. The fact that after so long, we were actually meeting up halfway across the world was so ridiculous and exciting haha. Really is becoming a global world..

I took a cab over to his hotel which was only a few minutes away, and we finally met up. It was so great to see him, and we headed down to the bar to grab a drink and catch up one one another’s lives.

There was a live band performing at the bar that night. The band was playing Shakira’s world cup song “Waka-Waka” as we walked in, further reinforce the fact it has become the theme song of my travels abroad along with “Barbara Streisand” by Duck Sauce.

The next day, before i headed to work to say goodbye to my filipino friends and co-workers i swung by a store called Kultura Filipino in the mall to pick up some souvenirs for friends and family.

Naturally, i had to get a funky filipino shirt..

As i was walking to work, i finally managed to take a picture of just another one of the funny events that take place in the malls around here. They have these animal shaped car things that parents and kids sit on and ride around the open area lol

When i got to work, i made my rounds and performed a task that i’ve become all too accustomed with…saying goodbye. It was weird that i was leaving now, as i had finally begun to feel very comfortable with everyone at the staff and considered them all to be friends. I believe i learned a great deal from each and every one of them, and they provided with an experience i will never forget.

Gonna miss you guys!

As i was saying goodbye to everyone downstairs, one of the regulars (Mike, the guy to my right) offered to buy me a beer so i grabbed a pint and a pitcher with the gentleman who always kept things interesting for me while i was bartending.

Before i left, my bar trainer IVY made me hang around for a bit, and gave a HUGE envelope.

As you can see, this is huge!!!

They are all the sweetest people ever, and bought me a card and all signed it with personal notes! I had mentioned that i really wanted to get a Filipino flag before i left but hadn’t been able to find one…they bought me one and put it in the envelope as well!

Really put a huge smile on my face, and will be sure to bring the card and flag back home with me.

That evening, after saying my final goodbyes to the staff and beginning to pack a bit, i met up again with Mamu. We were searching around for a spot to eat for a bit, and then saw a malaysian place. Neither of us had ever had Malaysian, and it seemed only fitting that we try some as i would be heading off for the country the next morning.

Aside from some minor issues we had with our waiter, and a fish mix-up we had a great meal.

Was truly wonderful getting to see and spend time with mamu after so long. Was one of the first times that we’ve actually spent time together one and one, and really enjoyed talking about one another’s lives and whatnot.

Only picture of me and mamu in Manila haha

Overall, my trip to the Philippines was a very successful trip. Although i was only there for a couple weeks, it really felt like i was there for a couple months as i was so immersed into the culture. I was temporarily a chef in the Philippines, in an Outback Steakhouse of all places, which was an experience i never dreamt i would ever have, and loved every second of it. I learned so much about Filipino culture, people, human interaction and the world while i was over here. I met some absolutely fascinating people, who had the most interesting life stories to share that i will be able to carry with me for the rest of my life.

More important than anything though, was i believe i really got to know myself really well in the past couple weeks. I’ve never really lived on my own before, let alone another country. When living alone, you have lots of time to think about life and put things in perspective. As i’m sure those who care enough to reads this know, I’m an extremely social creature, and love interacting with others and being around people constantly. As a result, the first week was pretty strange for me and was definitely an adjustment period. After that, i finally became very comfortable with myself, and becoming at peace with relaxing for once and spending time alone. Got a book on the Dalai Lama’s essential teachings a couple days ago, and have found it be pretty valuable info so far.
I also finally started getting out of my bedroom which was the most important thing. It was a bit weird going out solo at first, but am quickly realizing how much fun and liberating going out by yourself and meeting new people can be. Definitely provides a confidence booster, and if you’ve never done so i would recommend trying it sometime!

Next, I’m off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and can’t wait to see what else this adventure has in store for me!

My Filipino Family!

Cheeers mates,

Sahil

Last week in the Philippines!

Hola! Apologies for not updating this more frequently. Unlike most other circumstances, i actually do have a little more free time now, i’ve just been rather lazy. People had been complaining about difficulties with reading the blog, and some issues with the background so decided to change it to a hopefully more easy to read format. Also, figured out how to put the twitter feed on the blog so has a bunch of my random thoughts going on in the right hand side. If you’re still having any issues just let me know!

The last week has flown by and i can’t believe that i only have two more days in the Philippines! We’re 12 hours ahead over here, so wanted to wish everyone a very happy 4th of July! Last summer, Katie and I went to Ollie’s grandma’s annual beach party in Bethany beach and had an absolutely amazing time, and really wish i could be able to attend the last 4th party there this year! This is the first 4th i can think of that i won’t be in the US, and although it is kinda weird i will be sure to rep America over here in the Philippines.

Even stranger is to think of all the remarkable things that i have been able to see and do form the last 4th of July, to today. In the short span of one year, so much has happened and changed in my life. I can’t wait to see where i’m at one year from now on the next 4th of july.

My Uncle happens to be coming to Manila for business tomorrow, and so we will be able to spend a day together over here and i can’t wait to see him! Such a crazy coincidence that we will be running into each other on the other side of the world, especially since we haven’t seen each other in nearly a year!

I’m heading off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in a couple days on July 6th. Looking forward to my last couple days here, and then getting to explore a new country and culture!

The last week

After an interesting week, filled with long hours and tons of learning in the kitchen, i finally got an off day last sunday. After lazing around, i forced myself to get out and do something.

Walking around my Greenbelt neighborhood!

As i have been eating Outback steahouse food twice a day (Which is great) i was more than ready to try a different cuisine. Naturally, I had to try some thai food! Got some delicious Tom yum soup and basil chicken as per usual.

This is the meal where i met the two fascinating gentleman i wrote about in my last blog post. They actually came and visited me at work the other day, and believe i will actually be going out to dinner with them tomorrow night!

Little did i know that they would just be the start of the fascinating people who i’ve been meeting in the last few days.

Tom yum was yummy

Following my last day working in the kitchen as kitchen manager on monday, i moved on to the front of the house! I’ve been working in the front of the house for pretty much the last 4 years at my dads restaurant in some capacity from host to server to psuedo manager at times at the restaurant. As a result, i feel extremely comfortable on the floor, and so this past week has been far easier for me, and afforded me a good bit more free time.

After shadowing around a server on tuesday, a rather strange experience being that i had been serving for 3 years longer than her but she is super nice and helpful, the manager and i agreed i could move on to another area in the restaurant. That day, while working on the floor a really tall guy (must have been 6′ 6 plus) sat down and he was clearly american so i went over to talk to him. Turns out that he was a former Mississippi State Basketball player named Jason Forte, who was playing ball over here in the Phillipines Basketball Association. He’s traveled all over, and played with former Maryland star Juan Dixon overseas last year! He was an incredibly friendly guy, and was happy to have met him and exchanged contact info and stories about life overseas.

I was scheduled to start bartending on wednesday, and since i had never bartended before we decided that it would be in my best interests to spend more time at the bar!

With one of my lovely trainers, Ivy, at the bar!

As i had mentioned earlier, i had never worked at a bar before, but as i would have expected i’ve really enjoyed it! People mainly order beers and margaritas here, so not too many difficulties on the actual making of drinks and just talk to new people all day (one of my favorite things to do!)

Since outback steakhouse is an internationally recognized restaurant brand, the company draws all sorts of visitors from around the world. I would say that it is 50% Filipinos, 50% ex-pats. As much as i have enjoyed meeting new Filipino people, i have quickly learned that almost all of the ex-pats over here in Makati City are truly fascinating people.

Fascinating People

Going to run through some brief descriptions of the people i’ve been fortunate enough to meet over the past few days:

Mark – worked for a missile/bomb detection company that creates ridiculous tracking products that are used by the military and in airports around the world

Met a couple gentleman (Filipino who owns a shopping center in Dubai, and an Australian guy) at the bar who were foreign currency traders, and they literally set up shop at the bar for the evening. They brought their laptop, and set it up at the bar and got hammered while watching how their hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the market were doing for the day…talk about your traditional dayjob haha.

Met a super interesting regular named Andrew, an elder English or Scottish fellow (can’t remember but there’s tons of both here) who works for Japan Tobacco International, which is apparently the 3rd largest tobacco company in the world. He sets up factories around the world, and told me all about the ridiculous industry over the last few days and provided me with some very interesting insights on the tobacco trade.

A random guy named mike who used to work for Microsoft over here, but now randomly runs a resort in a beach town.

Met an 18 year old girl named Alison whose dad owns a large VOIP company, and used to be neighbors and go to church with good old George Bush in texas when she lived in the states

Two of the most interesting people i met had to be these two British secret service agents. Ok, i lied. They’re not exactly secret service agents, but they were so cool and suave they might as well have been. They work for the british child protection services, and hunt down child predators around the world. They were in Manila, as apparently they were doing strategic work because the city is where many of these creeps hideout and take refuge. The gentleman, from England, used to be a detective and the woman was from New Zealand. I talked extensively with these two for about an hour, and learned a great deal about the world and their fascinating, and troublesome line of work.

San miguel is the local beer here, and so they sent 3 girls to promote the new San Miguel beers that they just rolled out…Me with the San Miguel girls!

On thursday night after work, Transformers 3 had just come out so i decided to go check it out. I Loved it, and thought it was awesome. Action packed, 3d was ridiculous, and the new transformers girl is super hot. Not really a blonde guy, and a HUGE megan fox fan, but honestly i didn’t miss her because i found the new girl to be that attractive. The movie theatre was really nice, with comfortable seats and for a 3d ticket it was 300 pesos (Which was considered to be expensive by the Filipinos, but is around 6 bucks USD). It was the strangest experience when the movie ended, because i hadn’t gone to see a movie in nearly 6 months, and had been so engrossed in the nearly 3 hour film i had forgotten that i was in the Philippines. I’ve pretty much only watched movies in 2 main movie theatres throughout my life (Rio and the Kentlands) and so based on that just figured i was in one of those.
When the lights turned on, and the chatter in Tagalo resumed as the credits rolled it was a quick wake up call that i was living in a foreign country haha.

The movie ended very late, around 2am or so and i started walking back home. As i was nearing my hotel, i heard some great, funky music being blasted from nearby speakers. I couldn’t see the place where the music was coming from, but just decided to follow it wherever it took me. I hadn’t yet gone out really in Makati at all, as I had generally just been chillin in my room and been too lazy to go out (And i had never gone out by myself before either) so figured this would be a good opportunity to at least check something out.

The music led me to an awesome bar, called the Museum Cafe, which was right outside the Ayala Museum located in Greenbelt. It had a youngish, affluent ex-pat community consisting of people from all over the world and met some really interesting people. Started talking to a guy from Denver named Justin and he introduced me to his Australian friends and a couple who lived in Spain. LOVED talking to them about Feria in Sevilla, and Carnaval in Cadiz, and it’s great to see that my international experience living in Europe already opening the international doors of friendship so quickly after my experience there.

I had a great time at the M cafe, and was so happy that i had decided to venture out of my hotel room and got a small taste of the Filipino night life.

With some new friends at M Cafe!

The gentleman to the far right in the picture above, Ene, was an interesting guy i met at the bar. We started talking, and he told me that he works for Cirque de Soleil and that they had a performance in Manila for the next few weeks. We talked for a but longer, and after expressing my interest in watching a show and the fact that i’d never been before, he generously offered to provide me a free ticket to the show on saturday!

The next night, after a failed attempt to meet up with a couple friendly girls i met while at work that night, i met up with some of my new friends from the night before and headed to a Filipino nightclub in Makati.
I thought Spaniards stayed out late, but Filipinos take it to a whole nother level. They may not go as hard, but they definitely stay out just as late if not later. I left the pyrotechnic filled nightclub around 5:30am, which i thought was really late, and everyone kept telling me i was lame for leaving so early haha. Was rather strange going from the darkness of the club, into the sun rising in the morning haha

The next day, i saw the hilarious event below taking place below. In the mall, they’ve been doing these ridiculous live dance party demonstrations that i can’t get enough. Today, it was a group of about 10 filipino girls and some dude doing a dance to some terrible lady GaGa song, and all the while they were doing these synchronized moves as they followed the footsteps that the DDR like video game told them to do. Hard to describe in words, but one of the funnier things i’ve seen since i got over here haha.

Also, the little girl who posed for the pic and threw up the peace sign in the bottom is absolutely adorable!

Saturday morning, i was pleasantly surprised to see that i had an email in my inbox from my new friend Ene who worked at Cirque du Soleil. Ene is the box office supervisor, and managed to get me free tickets to the 7:30 primetime show of the Varekai performace of Cirque du soleil!

My boss reccomended that i take a trusted driver with me, so i hopped in the toyota camry and headed off into Manila to find the Quirino Grandstand, in Rizal Park where the event was taking place.

My drivers name was Dennis, and he was a very nice fellow from Manila who had some difficulties speaking english, making it hard to communicate. It was somewhat frustrating, as we could sense that we were both good people, interested in learning more about one another, however the language barrier was such that we both were unable to express our ideas or opinions in the others native tongue.

On my way to the show!

Traffic wasn’t as bad as expected, so i had some time to check out Rizal Park a bit before the show! In front of the Rizal park memorial statue or something like that

They had a pretty cool fountain light show that was going on in the park so decided to check it out.

In front of the light show!

I was starving, and so despite my reservations about Filipino food i decided to try some street food. It turned out to be delicious, and extremely cheap (The whole meal was under 1USD!). Glad i gave it a seocond chance, and definitely have a much more open mind in regards to Filipino food now!

Cool dude at the food stall, got the chicken curry, rice and noodles!

Finally made it to the Cirque du Soleil tent, and met up with my buddy Ene who was working the box office and gave me my tickets. Not only did he get me free tickets, but he gave me amazing seats in the premium section!

Ene and I outside of the Cirque du Soleil tents!

The version of the show that i was watching was called Varekai, and it was absolutely incredible!

Foto i managed to sneak in before being kindly reminded that no cameras were allowed before the show. Don’t think i’ve ever seen anything that cool in my life before. Erased many of my assumptions about human capabilities, and made me really feel like i need to start going to the gym and working out as the performers made me feel a teensy bit out of shape, and adventurous at the same time.

Sun Life Financial had a picture taking booth set up, so in line with my recent habit of awkwardly awkward pictures by myself i had to get one at the stand.

Me at Cirque du Soleil!

The last week has been awesome, and although i would have liked to be in the US to celebrate the 4th of July with good friends and family, i’m loving life over here in the Philippines.

I’ll be going to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in a couple days, so looking forward to getting over there. At the same time, excited to enjoy my last couple days here in Makati, and spend time with my mamu who will be here tomorrow night!

Hope everyone is doing well. If you haven’t already, hit me up on skype as it is always lovely to see and talk to a familiar face!

Cheers,

Sahil