Ive booked myself a few nights in Makati where google reliably informs me the Thai embassy is located in Manilla but first off we have to get there.
My "Fly The Bus" has cost me 800 PHP from Angeles City to Manilla and then I need to take a taxi to makati itself but first off lets get this bus eh? Ok first of all the bus is delayed by around an hour and my fellow PAX are getting annoyed and frustrated, personally I can't see the point in that kind of attitude since this is Asia after all and you pretty much have to expect delays with buses and trains etc. I've booked this particular bus following advice from the thorn tree forum at LP website. regular buses are really vans and I'm told are hot sweaty and uncomfortable for the 2 hour duration of the journey. For the sake of 12 GBP I'm prepared to take a more comfortable ride, only it turns out the delay is because the bus has actually broken down and the company have provided.....yes 4 vans as an alternative. Anyone familiar with this mode of travel knows that the seats aren't great but that you need to try and avoid at all costs the "retard" seat. This is the little seat that folds out on the side of the regular seats and didn't quite make it all the way to full seat hood. There especially uncomfortable and its the seat I end up with of course. At least the van had air con. 2 ass numbing hours later we arrive in Manilla and I'm told a taxi to Makati is a further 800 peso. Im not having that and I barter the guy down to 400 which locals had told me was probably about the best price I could expect to get as a tourist (300 would of been a bargain 400 is about right). Its around a 30 minute ride to my hotel and the taxi driver is a nice guy pointing our interesting sights along the way (this is the cemetery! he enthuses) cool guy really but lacking in tour leader skills perhaps. So what of Manilla? well its pretty similar to Bangkok in look and traffic, it doesn't have BKK's awesome BTS system sadly perhaps because this city is really a whole bunch of cities that have grown into each other. Its hot, humid, chaotic with snarling traffic, beeping taxi drivers and of course a bazzillion guys on scooters and motorbikes. Many of the buildings Im driving past have seen better days, on some of the back roads people are happy to drive the wrong way up the street! Market stalls and street vendors everywhere much like anywhere else in SE Asia. Despite being hot its not actually sunny its overcast and stays that way for the duration of my time here. i don't know if its cloud or smog? but Ive yet to see the sun break through here. Anyway I'm just relieved when we arrive and I can dump my bags, hit the up the internet to try and get orientated. Google maps is pretty fucking useless outside of the western world since a bug? In the software ensures it always displays in local language. No good if you can't read Tagalog! Takes me a little while to actually find a useable map and then from there I figure out my route to the embassy. Im hoping I can at least get the forms this afternoon and confirm exactly what they want from me. As it turns out I'm a little late to actually make it to the embassy before closing so I decide to take a rest in my room for an hour, shower etc and then head out to look around. At 6 PM its already dark and as I leave my hotel room I'm shocked to realise I appear to be centrally located in the middle of yet another strip of fucking go go bars.......oddly enough though these ones have guys on the door? Seems a strange way to attract punters to me I really can't be assed with paying over the odds for beers again so I write it off, head back to my room and text my friend to meet up for the evening. We decide to head out for a pizza but I can see my friend is pretty sick, she has lost her voice and has a bit of a fever so after pizza its a good idea to call it a night and let her rest up, we going to be heading to the island of Boracay in a few days so better she takes a bit of time to rest and get better.
Still can't quite believe I've managed to book myself in the middle of the girly bar area again really.
Following day I head to the embassy collect all my forms and print off the prerequisite evidence I need to apply for my visa. Fill everything out, print everything off and collect it all up ready for submission but Im told they will only accept applications between 9.30 and 12 Am. That kind of sucks since I'm leaving Manilla tomorrow at 13.30 and now I need to stress about and rush back to the Embassy in the morning. Spent the afternoon checking out the green belt area of manilla. Basically a large shopping area with restaurants etc. Its air conditioned though which is a great thing as its pretty humid here and I'm sweaty already from my 40 minute walk looking for the embassy. I head back to my room around 6 PM and head out to find a regular bar. I end up in a semi decent bar with a pool table which has a happy hour on! Happy hour always makes me happy and this one lasts until 10 PM A little bit merry but by no means drunk I headed back to my room at around 10.30
I get up early, grab breakfast and dash back to the embassy in time for opening at 09.30. Given traffic and check in times I need to leave for the Airport no later than 11. There is a Q of people already at the embassy when I arrive at 09.15. This don't look good.....the first in the Q is a real pain in the ass, she wants visas for her entire family and has not prepared anything. It takes a full 40 minutes to process this chick and I'm starting to sweat a little bit as the clock is ticking here. I know It will take me about 15 minutes to get back to my hotel (i know the way now). There are a further 6 applicants ahead of me and at 10.55 I submit my application and leg it back to my room to grab my bags and hit the airport. Luckily no real traffic so i make the airport easily by 11.45 and have plenty of time to check in, turns out I'm ahead of my friend anyway and she has the tickets printed off for our travel so i can't go anywhere yet! smooth check in process and only a minimal flight delay of about an hour and its off to Boracay we go! Im just glad no one asked to see my passport since I left it with the lovely thai people back in Makati!