Monday, April 25, 2016

Philippines Vacation - Day 8 – Monday in Greenhills, Xavier, & Rockwell

Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor
Larry was still working for a couple of days before his schools' summer vacation began and he usually leaves home at about 4:30 a.m. to beat the traffic. I joined him Monday morning while he drove to Xavier High School in Greenhills. He showed me what building his office was in then drove me to Greenhills Shopping Center where I was going to spend my day before walking back to Xavier High School to meet up with him. I had to keep my eye on what streets I was on and where to turn to get back to Xavier from the shopping center.

Before dropping me off, Larry drove around the perimeter of the shopping center where a bunch of people came out every day to exercise. Then he left to go to work. I did some stretching then started a slow jog counter clockwise around the shopping center. To my right was a covered parking structure where music was playing and a couple of Zumba classes were going on. As I circled the area, I saw other runners, walkers, and run/walkers mostly going in the same direction as I was. After a couple of laps (which was approximately 1 kilometer in distance per lap or about 2/3 of a mile) I began to notice that despite of my slowness, I was proceeding at a steadier clip than most people and began to negative split each lap. I encouraged some kids who were running then slowing to a walk to go more slowly so they can run longer. I smiled at other exercisers and was enjoying the moment of being able to run on an even sidewalk and not have to dodge cars along the way.

I noticed a gentleman running at a steady pace which appeared to be the same as mine but he was running clockwise. So the next time I encountered him, I turned around, introduced myself and asked if I could run with him. He agreed and while we ran together I asked him if he was a marathoner because he appeared to have a very economical stride suited for long distance running. He replied that he used to do that in the past but not anymore. He then asked me how old I was and upon hearing that I was almost 59 years old, he looked surprised that I was still able to run the way I did and matched him stride for stride. But he was probably not more than 10 years younger than I am. So we ran and talked for a few more laps until on the last one, he did a sprint on a short straightaway that I didn’t match for fear of injuring myself. I increased my stride slightly until I caught up with him during his recovery jog. After his cool down jog, he had to go and I thanked him for letting me join him. I ran a few more laps until I reached 45 minutes (my goal for that day was just 30 minutes but because of the company, I was able to extend it), then walked for 15 more minutes.

While walking, I saw this pretty woman running but I had filled my running quota for the day and if I had done any more, I would have risked injuring my fragile ankles and legs. I bumped into that woman again later when she was done and as she walked back to her car with breakfast in hand, I asked her how many laps she did. She said “just 4”. I said that was better than most people, and it was then that I noticed her green eyes. I bid her a good day and went on my way. The green eyes? Well, they were probably contact lenses. It was fun interacting with other exercisers again. It what I mostly miss about not being able to run the way I used to.

Having started my workout at 6 a.m. and finishing at 7 a.m., it was another 3 hours before the shopping center opened. While I walked around, I saw a lot of security personnel in the area and they were conducting a hostage situation drill inside the still closed mall. Some pretended to be hostages hunched on the floor, others acted like they were injured, while others were rescuers carrying either another human being or a dummy from inside the mall to a triage area in the parking lot. In spite of the drill, the Zumba exercisers kept on dancing, the walkers kept on walking, and the joggers kept on jogging.
Greenhills Shopping Center swap meet
My legs got tired from exploring so I sat in one of the chairs in the taxi waiting area. Later on, I sent a text message to a real estate agent I had been in touch with for several months, to arrange for a meeting to look at some condos I was interested in. We agreed to meet on Wednesday in Cubao.
Before the mall opened, I noticed a badminton club on the third floor so I went up to check it out.  I used to play that sport competitively in my youth. There were a couple of middle aged guys and a couple of young guys playing, as well as a beginner’s class with about 5 students. I observed for a few minutes, then went back downstairs. Pretty soon the mall opened and was I glad to be finally indoors in the air conditioned building. The first floor had all sorts of merchandise and it reminded me of an indoor swap meet we have in Long Beach. In addition to jewelry, there were a lot of brand name merchandise like Under Armour, Nike, Birkenstocks, etc. When I did my calculation from pesos to dollars, they were remarkably cheap! Until I realized they were most likely fake. The second floor which Larry described to me earlier, was full of technical stuff like cell phones, cell phone accessories, tablets, etc. After experiencing the harrowing boat ride a few days before and almost getting my cell phone drenched in sea water, I bought myself a transparent waterproof case which cost about $6. I explored all the floors of the mall then went to a Smart phone store to have my cell phone checked out since I couldn’t get the 4G data to work. After a slight delay, the technician copied the Android settings from her own phone and my data plan started to work. I thanked the lady and gave her a fist bump before leaving.

I was getting peckish so I went around looking for a place to eat. There were plenty of course but I was looking for a congee place. Having found none, I found lomi (a type of thick noodle soup) in of all places, an eatery called Sizzler’s. Now, I don’t think it had any connections with the Sizzler’s in the U.S. but they also served steaks. So I ordered the noodles and while I was eating, Ninette texted me asking how my day was going and informing me that there was a bomb threat in her school – Ateneo De Manila. She was working from home of course. Anyway, there were not too many details yet since the situation was ongoing. She asked me to buy some bread floss from a shop called Bread Talk. Bread floss? She explained that Bread Talk was in a another building. When I paid for lunch, the waiter brought me my money back and informed me that a couple of my 20 peso bills were no longer in circulation. Those were the bills I got from the cashier at Solaire the day before! I paid with the proper bills then headed off to another building to look for the bakery that sold bread floss. It was in the building where the movie theaters were. That reminded me that I once took an ex girlfriend on a date in the old Greenhills Shopping center when the theaters were still located in a different area. Anyway, I went up to the third floor where the theaters were and found some benches to sit on while waiting for the time for me to walk to Xavier High School to meet my brother. When that time came, I went to the bread floss place and made my purchase. I thought it was a meat filled piece of bread but I later learned that the meat was actually the shavings of floss-like substance on top of the bread itself. That shows you how ignorant I am about these supposedly gourmet things.

So I walked back to Xavier on the usual irregular sidewalks with parked cars and having arrived a few minutes early, texted Larry that I’ll be waiting in the student drop off and pick up zone. He called security who escorted me to his work area. The faculty had an end of the school year party where they complimented each other, said goodbye to departing teachers, sang karaoke, and of course had some food which they invited me to partake. I respectfully declined since I felt I still had a bellyful of lomi. We excused ourselves shortly and Larry gave me a brief tour of the school. He would be transferring from the New Technology department back to his previous position of Athletic Director next school year.
Power Plant Mall in Rockwell Center
We left Xavier and headed to Ateneo Law School in the Rockwell area of Makati to pick up Robynne. While waiting for her, we walked around Power Plant Mall. Apparently this area was the location of a former power plant which I no longer remember. My goodness, I used to take jeepney rides there with another ex girlfriend whose family lived in that area in 1979! As I was to learn a few days later, my ex girlfriend’s mother still lives just one street away from the Power Plant Mall. When Robynne arrived, we went to an office supplies store where she had to buy some school stuff while I found myself buying 4 tri-color pens for about 16 cents each. Then it was time to hit traffic again on the way home. It was a full day for me. As you can see, it took 2 and a half pages to write about it.

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