30 September, 2009

Note from Manila

Yes, I'm in Manila. I made it through all the hurdles of international travel: luggage, connections, passports, immigration, customs, transfer at the other end, currency exchange etc. I tell you, the bed at the hotel at the end of Monday was a most welcome thing. Travel is tougher with kids, but it is no walk in the park without them. Sitting in a juddering metal tube, surrounded on all sides by obstacles to stretching and changing position and limited as to when you can do practically anything - tiring and one that takes a lot of the romanticism out of travel. However I am glad to be here. It is a small conference, about a dozen people from almost as many countries. Magazine Training International is the organisation that has put this conference on; to equip and train editors and staff of Christian magazines in countries other than the US, and especially in non-Western settings. We have people here from a magazine devoted to Korean uni students and their quiet times, a lady who edits a magazine for Mums in the Philippines, a campus worker from India and myself and Gary Bauman from Japan Harvest, focused on missionaries in Japan. This is just some of the diversity. A fun week! I am thankful for my experiences in Asia and within OMF International as they've somewhat prepared me for the cross-cultural nature of this event. Yesterday, before it all started, my travel companion (and roommate) and I went shopping. We hoofed it to a big shopping centre. The journey there was a cultural experience. It is a fairly rich area of Manila (near the US Embassy), yet there were beggars and people sleeping on the street. Hawkers and public transport-type people trying to vie for our attention. The security at the shopping centre was interesting - they used a sensor device on bags and persons as people entered. Also there were so many attendants in shops. Us Aussies just want to be left alone, but these attendants followed us around in the shops! A bit uncomfortable. Getting used to a new money system was interesting too. At least everyone we met spoke some English. Apparently everyone studies English in school, more so than Japanese. Pollution was an issue, smoking, cars everywhere. My lungs were tight by the time we returned to the hotel. The floods that were reported in international media did truly happen, but I haven't seen it personally. Apparently even the airport lost power for a good part of Saturday and the hotel we're in had water through the lower floor. One of the local ladies who was going to be at the conference has had water through her entire house, and is unsure whether they'll be able to salvage it at all. Needless to say, she's not attending the conference this week. My lunch break is almost over, but I'm glad I was able to give you a small window into the latest weird thing that Wendy is up to!

1 comment:

venzy said...

Thanks for the update! Reading avidly ;)