Expat: Day 4

Fun fact for the day: Did you know that no building in Manila has a 13th floor? It's true! (At least from my very expansive sample size of 5 buildings). I asked around, and sure enough - there is enough superstition in the culture to prevent buildings from having a 13th floor. The numbers jump from 12-14, and then continue on their merry way. Proof, you ask?

Fact of the matter - it's just not happening. People are really scared of this number, and this floor for that matter. I guess someone didn't think it thorough that renaming the floor to the next number doesn't actually change the actual number of the floor. Good thing my current room is on the 14th floor!

Today, I made a fantastic cultural faux pas. In the Philippines, it is tradition to wear a red colored shirt on your birthday. Neat, right? I didn't find this out until I went into the office in my red shirt today. The conversation started innocent enough.

Me: How are you doing today? Coworker: Good, what's with the red shirt? Me: What do you mean? Coworker: Well, it must be your birthday, because you're wearing a red shirt. Me: Of course, what was I thinking?

Now, I'm now halfway though the day, and I have no other shirt to change into... so in my typical James self, I throw caution into the wind and decide to go with it.

Coworker 2: Nice shirt! Me: Thanks, it's my birthday. Coworker 2: Cool, let's do lunch.

Here is where it gets interesting. What I learned next is that in the Philippines, it is tradition that a birthday is celebrated with a meal. Okay, sounds familiar. However, in typical M. Night Shyamalan style, the twist comes out. Also in the Philippines, the birthday boy pays for the meal. Super neato!

I've told everyone it's not my birthday, and I just happened to wear a red shirt, and I'm now connecting with them on a new level and whatnot, but I've started this ball rolling, and I can't stop. Next step - Lunch. Corral the team together and head out to the local burger joint for a meal - birthday boy's treat.

We head out to a place known as Army/Navy, and walk in. Army/Navy has a burger known as the Big Boy, which is a 3x 1/4 lb burger. Naturally, everyone on the team wants to get one of those suckers, so we load up on them. 7 Big Boys in all, 2 2x 1/4 burgers (two of the guys weren't that hungry), and a single patty burger for one of the ladies. In all, we ordered 26 burgers, and brought the place to a halt. While this was a fast food joint, they were not prepared for the onslaught of 26 burger orders in a single stint, and shuffled around a bit. Of course, we can't forget the fries and onion rings for all. Total take: PHP 2995. Happy birthday!

That burger was huge, and somewhat delicious.

Finally, today we went to look at condos. I went to see four different units at three different places. Two units were located at The Residences at Greenbelt, one at Legaspi, and finally one at Salseto. Instead of describing, I'll let the video tell the story. Tell me which place you would like me to stay at. I have my own opinion, but I'd like to hear yours.

Finally, for those of you keeping score... this appeared on my counter today without really any rhyme or reason.