This city is incredible. It assaults all of our senses.
The noise: honks, beeps, whistles, birds, roosters, screeching brakes, vehicles, vendors ringing bells or yelling out to get your attention. "Hey, Joe!" they yell out to any "Americano" male- a title that harkens back to World War II.The tastes: juicy, ripe mangos (delicious and not anything like what you can buy back at home), wonderful Western guest house food, eating at the malls for a pittance compared to Western prices ($8 feeds our family at Sbarros, McDonald's or Wendy's), interesting foods that we haven't been brave enough to try yet.
The smells: piles of garbage, open markets, smog, exhaust fumes, beautiful flowering trees, the stench of the meat section in most grocery stores, food, baby powder, perfumes and lotions. There is a great emphasis on personal hygiene and very little emphasis on public sanitation.
The feelings: the weight of the heat at noon, the filthy cloud of diesel smoke that speckles our face and rolls over our heads as a bus rumbles by, the endless stickiness that is only appeased by a shower and spreading baby powder over our arms, the breeze while sitting in front of a fan, sweat trickling down my cheek, and the best part of the day- 6:30pm when we go outside and the relief from the sun and the soft evening breeze makes me love it here.
The sights: the trickle of discolored liquid pooling into a hole in the pavement, a man scooping up polluted street water from a puddle into his water bottle, people going through garbage at the end of our lane, the cutest little dark eyed babies you've ever seen, immaculately dressed people riding colorful jeepneys, lush greenery in wealthier areas of town, colorful and busy market areas littered with garbage, roaming diseased dogs, and full of precious people who are crammed in the smallest of spaces.