This week we went to Manila in the Philippines where I had my first overseas job in late 1999, supposedly for ten weeks but I ended up having a series of contracts there throughout 2000 and 2001.
That was just the beginning of our continuing international adventure, but regular readers will know that we get back Brisbane frequently. In fact my Mum once told me she sees me more now that I live overseas than when I lived in Australia.
My last visit to Manila was in late 2003 (by which time we were living in Singapore) so I was interested to see if anything had changed in five years. The verdict? Not much. The traffic still makes getting around a nightmare; the air is still very smoggy; the hot and humid weather was a useful reminder of why I love Steamboat’s cool, dry climate so much; and corrupt oligarchs (think Russia without the oil) are still trying to run the country into the ground.
But the good things – the wonderful optimism and joie de vivre of the Filipino people – haven’t changed either. Not to mention the world’s juiciest but least stringy mangoes available almost year round for a pittance.
I’m not sure I’d want to spend a whole lot of time there again (and Marie is sure that she wouldn’t, so that settles that), especially when there are still so many other places waiting to be experienced, but I was reminded of why I enjoyed the experience so much the first time round.