Squire and I are waiting in the Manila airport for our last leg home. We stayed overnight next to the Mall of Asia and can now say we were in the 3rd biggest mall in Asia. I don’t know what that quite means, but it was very big and full of places that were very American to us. All the name brands and probably the least amount of Asian food we’ve seen since we began our trip (lots of American fast food and French bistros as a matter of fact).
It was kind of neat having the opportunity to stay overnight in the Philippines. Thailand and the Philippines are very different in certain respects to what I consider normal being from Hawaii, technology and American brand names have been useful dividers of the two.
In the Philippines, I hardly see anyone with a phone, no one is checking in on their social media sites or taking pictures with them. If someone is snapping a picture it’s with a little camera and isn’t of food. And when we went to the mall, if people were waiting at tables, they were just waiting and not surfing the web.
Thailand was the exact opposite, they love branding and smart phones. My dad’s girlfriend had a radio in her car with a tv and was able to get a satellite connection for music videos. There are a lot of knock offs and piracy but when it comes to technology, they know their stuff and apple is the brand to have, just because of the prestige behind it, people can be dirt poor and still find money to own it. Although the top brands for pc (and the least affordable) are Sony and Toshiba. Most people have the Asus brand and HDMI is not big, although every hotel we went into had a Samsung tv. That being said, if you lose an apple product in Thailand and it’s been over ten minutes, you might as well not go back for it, it’s not going to be there or at lost and found.
Philippines felt way more American when you walked into the mall though. All the stores I saw there were the same ones that I would find in any shopping mall in Hawaii. Although in their favor, they also had a skating rink. So what they lack in technology they make up for in brand names and Thailand is the opposite.
One thing I found similar was the way both cultures dealt with traffic. Lanes are indeed arbitrary, in Thailand they honked the horn less and had more motorscooters making them seem like they were more laid back about the process. Also, U-turns are a normal way to get from point a to point b, when we were in Thailand at first, I thought we were hopelessly lost, but I came to find out that it was actually a must. There weren’t too many opportunities to make left turns or right turns, you just had to go past it and make a u-turn to get to your exit or turn.