Expat: Day 5

Thanks for everyone's input into the condo choices. Interestingly enough, most of my co-workers say they would opt for the last condo and to ensure that I get a yaya, or maid.

This is an interesting proposal. Most of the guys that are on my team have at least one yaya, and in some cases two. They live with them, prepare food, take care of kids, buy groceries, pay bills, etc. One co-worker said They will do things you didn't even know you needed to do. I'm still trying to figure out what that means. It's an interesting dilemma. I realize that life would be exponentially easier if I were to have a maid. Would it really be so bad? I mean, the Brady Bunch had Alice. That must have been cool. On the other hand, it's someone I don't know, living with me, taking care of my every need.

What I'm torn with is the wages that said yaya would receive. Typically, you pay PHP 3000-4500/month for this person to help. This also includes feeding them and housing them, but otherwise they're taking care of you and your needs. I'm not sure why, but I feel like I would be taking advantage of a person to care after me for such a small amount. After all, I am a royal pain in the ass. My wife can certainly attest to this. Someone would easily need double that just put up with me. :) It's an interesting debate on many levels, but at the end of the day there is not much I can do for a yaya for or against the situation. Regardless how I feel, it's a social issue that a single person cannot solve. Needless to say, the entire discussion with my team left me feeling very much like a foreigner.

I hurt. My body aches and pains. My coworkers here in Manila are asking why I'm moving around funny. To this, I say Thanks! to the Knowledge Workers Survival Guide (tm). So far, it has provided me an immense amount of life via pain throughout my entire body. However, not one to give up easily, the next step is to ease the pain. A massage should fix that, right?

For those of you I've shared this with already, there is a local place called The Spa that offers a fantastic massage for rather cheap (PHP 1100 for an hour massage - approx $25). This is my 'replacement' chiropractor while I'm here.

Okay, so I'm at The Spa, and I'm lined up for the Shiatsu massage. This is going to be great, I'm going to come out feeling like ₱1B. I eagerly head into the private room for my massage, and it begins.

Now, I've had some painful experiences in my life before. The apex of that have been times where I have had hot sauce take me down not on 1, but 2 separate occasions in 2 separate ways. This was hell. However, nothing prepared me for a Shiatsu massage on sore limbs.

It took every bit of my power not to scream. Let's face it, I'm a big wimp. However, in my not so uncommon show of manliness, I stuck it out. The massage therapist kept asking me if everything was okay. (She must have heard me holding in my tears). 59 painful minutes later, the massage was over, and I could barely stand. I am now in a human shaped puddle trying to figure out how to relax.

In other news, I am constantly surprised at the speed of the Internet here. I'm not a huge surfer/browser, but I must admit that when I do surf the Internet, I am an impatient person. Max speeds here are shared 2Mbps, and typically I get something like 512Kbps. I realize this is a whopping 10x from the old dial-up days, but the internet loads painfully slow. This is both at work and at my hotel.

I'm not sure why, but my favorite part of today was me doing laundry. As soon as I finished with work today, I got all of my laundry ready for cleaning. I found out in this process that the washer/dryer combination can hold 1/6 of what my washer/dryer in the US can hold. So after 5 days, I have roughly 4 loads of laundry to do. I've been told that there is a place I can take my clothes and pay PHP500 for them to do 10kg of clothing. 10kg! That's crazy.

What I can't get over still is how much of the society here is service based. It's not a bad thing, just different.

That's enough for today. Tomorrow is a day jam packed with work, and possibly the Salseto market! MMMM!