Return To Normalcy

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This blog entry about the events of Thursday, January 20, 2005 was originally posted on January 24, 2005.

DAY 460:  While island hopping with my Tito Mike and Tita Josie from beach resort to beach resort was nice, it wasn’t exactly my scene.  Don’t get me wrong, beach resorts are nice and all, but they are inherently resorts, relaxing places to get away from the challenges of normal life.  My days of resorts and island hopping in the Philippines were over and it was time for a return to normalcy.

Tita Josie and I left the sunrises and palms trees of Panglao’s Alona Beach and flew off to Manila’s domestic airport.  We landed by late morning and parted ways:  her with her driver and me with my Tito Mike who picked me up to bring me back to the house in Greenhills.  On the way across town, everything was becoming familiar to me:  the skyscrapers, the billboards, the highway traffic.  In a way, it was sort of refreshing; they were all a part of my normalcy.

“Do you have any plans tonight?” Tito Mike asked me.

“No.”

“My nephew David wants to take you out to dinner.”

“Okay.”  My last night in the Philippines would bring one more relative, my distant cousin David whom I had showed around New York during his visit to the States in 2003.


“HELLO!  DAVID,” I greeted as my cousin walked in the door that afternoon.  “How is everything?”

“Okay.  I quit my job.  I’m just studying now,” he answered.  “Where should we go?”

“I just need to get to an internet cafe at some point,” I told him.  “I’ve been trying to connect here for an hour and it’s been busy.”  Dial-up connections?  So not a part of my normalcy.


GROWING UP IN THE NEW JERSEY SUBURBS outside of New York City, the shopping mall has become a part of my state of normalcy, and it was at the mall that I spent my last day.  We took a bus — not a duck-filled jeepney (picture above) — to the granddaddy of them all, SM MegaMall, where I easily logged onto the internet at a high speed and uploaded some Blog entries.  High-speed internet was definitely a part of my normal life and I embraced it.

The rest of the afternoon was a pretty normal one, even for a person not going around the world; it was an afternoon of browsing music stores, electronics, eating sandwiches, and drinking shakes while wandering like a couple of mallrats. 

“You want to go to the spa?” David asked at the in-mall deli where we ate.  “So you can be rested before you go to Bangkok.”

“The spa?”

“It’s the only thing I can [think of to] do for you,” he said.  I had seen most of the noteworthy sites in Manila and had run out of nearby places to see.  “There’s not much in Manila; just shopping malls,” he said.  Mall shopping is definitely a favorite Filipino pastime.

Spas weren’t exactly a part of normalcy for me — they should be though — but we went off anyway to the fancy spa across the street to see what sort of massage therapy I could get.  There were no open spaces until much later in the evening and so, we reverted back to normalcy by just going to the movies.

Back at SM MegaMall, a huge crowd of Filipino teeny-boppers were lined up in the theater lobby, not for a movie premiere, but the live telecast of Starstruck, the Philippines’ version of American Idol, which not only judges on singing, but on acting and overall celebrity charisma.  From what I gathered, teeny-boppers had lined up and waited all day for a glimpse of the soon-to-be-famous, but we skipped all that and went to see already-famous celebrities Ben Stiller, Robert DeNiro, Barbra Streisand, and Dustin Hoffman in Meet the Fockers.  Laughing at a Hollywood comedy was definitely a part of my normalcy (especially every time the little kid utters his first words). 

The mall was closing by the time the movie let out, but we managed to get some Japanese fast food (another normal thing for me) at a place before it completely closed down.  David and I ate our tempura, sushi, and tonkatsu until we head back to Greenhills so that I could pack for my flight early the next morning.

That night, I could have logged onto the internet via dial-up, but I didn’t have feel like waiting around for a connection.  Once high-speed internet becomes a part of your normalcy, it’s almost impossible to revert back.

SAVE THE DATE; DAY 503 IS COMING.  MARCH 5, 2005, NYC.
DETAILS AND TRAILER COMING SOON…






Next entry: Blog and Reality

Previous entry: Not So Chocolate




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Comments for “Return To Normalcy”

  • There you go; that’s the end of The Philippines’ Episodes to tie you over for my upcoming 2-day NIZ period as I head into Cambodia with long-time Blogreader-turned-guest star on “The Trinidad Show” NOELLE, who met up with me here in Bangkok.

    MORE TO COME…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  02:14 AM


  • Erik,

    Have a great time in Cambodia.  There’s so much to see.  Some of the farther temples are pretty cool. You can probably fit seeing all the main ones in a day, otherwise you have to pay for a three day pass.  Which I think is 45 USD.  Most people are watted out by the second day.  And if you buy the pass the night before you can go watch the sunset the night before your pass starts.  I’d highly recommend the landmine museum not far from Angkor Wat, which is a private museum run by a local mine sweeper/deactivator .  He had some pretty amazing stories.  It’s in a small hut on the backroads.  The touts should know where it is. 
    If you’re going south at all, Bokor Hill Station is pretty cool.
    Have a great time, and remember to stay on the marked path…..  hey, are you still heading over to Vancouver?  It would be great to catch up.  I’m on Vancouver Island, but could head over to see you.  Denise would be up for it too.  Take care..

    Markyt:  I’ve heard that it’s really difficult to get any ESL jobs over in Europe without an EU passport.  If your friend is interested in teaching in Asia though, there’s an abundance of jobs.  And the money is pretty good.  I spent the last 3 years in Korea, and there’s no problem getting a job or getting private lessons.  I think it’s the same in Taiwan, and it’s starting more in China.  And for those jobs it is not required to have TOEFL.  To be legal you need a degree
    Italy would be nice though.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  06:30 AM


  • My normalcy - not only high speed, but wireless.  I get really frustrated when I can’t find a wireless hotspot in Tokyo.  I even have a wireless hub at home - surfing in bed is fun smile

    Posted by Liz  on  01/24  at  06:50 AM


  • ANGIE:  I aim to be in Vancouver the last weekend of February, one week before DAY 503…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  10:21 AM


  • Dude, I can’t believe all y’all didn’t tell Erik about Jen and Ben (I) breaking up and then JLo marrying Marc Anthony - he asked to know about things that are going on in the states…

    craziness. I just told him today.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  10:30 AM


  • I knew about Jenny and Brad though; that made CNN’s home page.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  10:35 AM


  • LIZ:  Wireless, yup.  That too.  There are much more in NYC than in Tokyu from what I’ve seen.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  10:38 AM


  • We’re going streaking through the quad and into the gymnasium!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  10:38 AM


  • We’re going streaking through the quad and into the gymnasium!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  10:38 AM


  • We’re going streaking through the quad and into the gymnasium!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  10:38 AM


  • We’re going streaking through the quad and into the gymnasium!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  10:38 AM


  • ANGIE/ROSE - Thanks for the TEFL/TOEFL info….I’ll pass on to my friend…..I think she might be ok….She has teaching experience, just graduated with a BA, and is probably going to take the course overseas in EU (Italy, Germany, Spain…)

    Jen and Ben - Who Cares!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  10:40 AM


  • MARKYT: I took a TESOL course with the Canadian Institute of English. It was great! They do classes all over. I think they come to Toronto twice a year or something like that.

    http://www.cie.ca

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  01:55 PM


  • Td0t:  So why are you still in Canada? Are you planning to teach abroad?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  09:55 PM


  • FWIW - i have a friend who recently went to russia to teach english.  he had zero training and was offered the job on the spot and says its awesome.  i hear the EU is damn near impossible unless you can manage obtaining an EU passport.  latin america, eastern europe (especially poland and russia) and asia are supposedly super easy to get EFL teaching jobs

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  11:08 PM


  • Janice: I have to stay in ‘9-5’world for a few more months. I’m Biding my time until I can move to Taiwan… But who knows, I might end up on the mainland… We could be neighbours!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  12:39 PM


  • I met sooo many people in Asia who were Americans and Canadians teaching english in Japan or Korea (on their holiday breaks).  None of them spoke any asian language.  It sounded like it was easy and they had a good life doing it.  In fact a few of them didn’t seem that bright to me so I’m sure if you WERE smart you could get a GREAT teaching job, in Asia anyway.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  01:46 PM


  • Hey, I am back on the blog bus. Have quit my job, well serving the dratted notice period and slogging it out as this is a “busy” period. just making travel plans - most of it in INdia itself. Plan to see more of Kerala. Have a nice time in cambodia.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  03:25 PM


  • w00t!

    i just finished all your PI entries! good stuff and after seeing Boracay, i think its time to visit my long lost family…i just need at least 3 weeks vac time. doh!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  06:37 PM


  • BTW ErikTGT: Spek Rescheduled Holiday party this Sunday at the shea’s. 1 pm EST. Just in case you’re available, i’ll bring my iSight and we may try to hook up via one-way-vidchat. hopefully.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  06:40 PM


  • Td0t:  Lots of teaching opportunities in China right now! We have 3 teachers from Ontario right now and 2 from Alberta.  Canadians rock!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  10:46 PM


  • DUSTY:  Congrats!  Are you headed off to Mumbai after (to live)?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/26  at  09:19 AM


  • LOVEPENNY:  re Spek… Dude, I’m in Siem Reap, just south of Angor Wat (Tomb Raider/Mortal Kombat temple), in a fancy swanky cafe that looks like it was designed by the Apple team… The iBook fits right in here, and there’s even free WiFi on an Airport Extreme mounted on the wall.  Amazing…

    I’ll try and log on!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/26  at  09:22 AM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
Blog and Reality

Previous entry:
Not So Chocolate




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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