Posted by: neblinoso | September 28, 2009

Inaugural Team Meeting: Manila

IMG_3545On Friday, i hosted the first Manila team meeting in my spacious apartment at the Ascott. After work, Laura and i headed to the grocery to pick up some snack foods and alcohol.  Normally, i would have made jello shots for the occasion, but i was uncertain if i could even find jello.

We loaded up a cart with chips, salsa, candy and liquor.  Amazed at the low prices, we opted for several different brands of tequila, vodka and rum.  The total cost of all our alcohol was no more than $30.  Packing all of this into my backpack and two large bags, we made the short walk back to my room to drop off our purchases and check out the other grocery nearby for ice and beer.

IMG_3546Unable to decide which beer to get, we opted for three different varieties of the local san miguel brand.  I was a little disappointed they didn’t have bottled, as i prefer a bottled to canned beer.  No matter.  Beer is not sold in packs, either, so we placed cans in the cart one by one.  Once we made it through the check-out we hauled the rest of our treats back.  I don’t know that i’ve ever carried that much loose beer in a bag before.

Laura made a yummy cheese dip for the nachos while i set up the snacks.  Within a half hour i received a call from the front desk that there was a group of people waiting in the lobby.  I was also informed at this time of a hotel policy only allowing a maximum of four people in my room.  They asked me how many more were coming and i told them i was unaware of this policy and to expect 15 to 20 more.  They assured me it would be all right this time as long as we didn’t disturb the neighbors.

Little by little more and more people began to arrive.  I tried to get them to bypass the front desk, but in some cases this was unavoidable.  The floors are only accessible with your room key, a nice security feature, but that also meant people had to have the front desk call me to let me know they were here.  IMG_3563When Russell arrived he was told they couldn’t allow any more visitors up to my room as i was already exceeding mass capacity.  I was able to sneak him up, the elevator doors closing just as we heard a warning about our mission over the radio of a nearby security guard.

During my several reconnaissance missions, a group started playing poker, in which games lasted until 3AM.  I played one or two games, but was more interested in trying some of the local fruits a few ladies had brought.  They were all very good and reminded me of my Ukrainian neighbor back home who, every summer, brings me an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables from his garden.

IMG_3569Another food i tried was called Balut.  This is sort of like a hard-boiled egg, but with a semi-developed chicken inside.  Laura was first to sample the juice from the egg, which i don’t even want to begin to wonder what that was.  She didn’t find it so appealing and i was given the remainder.  It had a fishy flavor to it.  After peeling away more of the shell we sampled the egg, which was the same as a hard-boiled egg.  I was encouraged to eat the malformed chic, but i was more interested in dissecting it, sadden by it’s sort term life.  I’m okay with eating adult chickens, but baby fetuses, no thank you.

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