7 Pesos. I think.

Trip Start Sep 12, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I woke up after sleeping for 12 hours straight. The curtains wide open to wake up to the beautiful golden sunshine on the palm trees outside of my window. I had turned my air conditioning off before I went to sleep. My room was radiating with heat and the sticky smell of tropical warmth had invaded again. It felt good to be so warm after being discontent with the temperature in the UK. I love the heat.

I turned the aircon on and got into my frustratingly slow running shower. My hair and skin were greasy with the humidity. I got dressed and read an email from mum. It was so nice to easily communicate with everyone at home. Before I had climbed out of bed I had decided on my initial plans for the day. I was feeling nervous about venturing outside of Bigfoots low walls, but armed with the words of the other interns about the area being safe in my head and a determination to concur any anxiety that still resides with my head, I was out of the door before I knew it!

I walked into the reception of the apartments and said hello to the security guard on duty. He asked my what my name was and I told him I was one of the new interns. I had found out the night before in the Spanish restaurant that the guards monitor where you go and write in all down in little notebooks. Not to ensure the knowledge of your whereabouts, but to keep track of how much you're working.

I walked into the main building and bought a bottle of water. I gave the Filipino guy a large note in order to obtain some coins, essensual for the cheap Jeepneys. I venture out past the security box at the main entrance and waited for the first brightly coloured Jeepney to come down the normally busy road. I hopped on the the first one that pulled up, not altogether confident it was the correct one, but they all looked the same.

We rushed past metal shacks just like the ones I had seen from the plane. Small children and dogs were running around. 'This place looks so poor', I said to myself. It really is beautiful though. All the palm trees and rustic structures. The simple way of living and the excitement of the place really was what I had wanted to be submerged into.

I pulled my wallet out and counted out 7 Pesos. I don't know how I had come to think that's how much the journey was, but I didn't have much else to go by. I handed the driver the coins and without taking his eyes off the road, he took them and counted them in front of his face. He didn't say a word, so I presumed all was well.

I started to get nervous that we had driven past our destination, the local shopping mall. It had seemed much closer the day before in a jet lagged daze with the other interns. But soon enough, we reached the section of road with the yellow dividers and I recognized where we were. I thanked the driver and hopped off the back into the chaos that is the Save Mart mall. Jeepneys line the roads trying to cram as many passengers into their converted rides. Pushing and squeezing in to get the best spot where the touts would direct pedestrians into the multicoloured funnels for a few coins.

I entered the mall and wondered around the super market. The smell of the place hits the back of the nostrils with a sickening atmosphere. I thought to myself, I wouldn't want to be here if I wasn't feeling well! Stomaching the smell, I walked around picking up things I thought would get me through the day. A huge 6 litre bottle of water for the mornings. Some apples and snacks. I found the drinks section and bought some cans of Coke and San Mig Lite for P35 Pesos each. 52 pence in normal money!

With my victory over the public transport, the local super market and my internal worries I left goods in hand. I knew it would take some time before I felt truly comfortable here, but it will happen soon enough.

Now, I looking forward to getting into the work. Just to occupy my days!
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