Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I'm not really enjoying myself in Manila.

Why not? I think it has to do with noticing how my taxi driver from the airport was trying to rip me off, or how one guy (Luis, he says his name is) was trying to sell me fake Rolex watches and wouldn't take no for an answer. These things are not so bad, really. It's just that it has generated a feeling of mistrust with me. For the first time since my first travel experiences alone, I feel the need to wear a money belt, to worry about what I leave out in the hotel room for the hotel staff to find, to constantly be aware of my wallet and passport. I hadn't felt this way in poor areas of Mexico or in Honduras. I think it has to do with the fact that the experiences I mentioned were situations where the other person was trying to see what they could get out of me. I feel that I'm in a game, and my opponents are watching, ready for me to slip up so that they can steal my stuff. Now paranoia can be a useful thing when travelling to a new city, but it can be tiring.

As it turns out, I haven't heard from my friend in Manila, so he's probably not here. And a friend in Taiwan will be there, so I just booked another ticket back to Taipei and from Taipei to Hong Kong. I got a reasonable price for the deal, so I don't mind giving up on the flight from Manila to Hong Kong. And the irony is that I bought this ticket in Manila, which changes my view of the place favorably.

I'll check out a few sights in Manila today, then leave for Taipei tomorrow.


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