My trip to Manila started Tuesday morning, December 8. I left via Korean Air from Dulles Airport. It was a 14-hour flight to Seoul, Korea. I thought I was prepared for the long flight. I downloaded three movies from Itunes to watch on my ipod. First it was Inside Man for the second time, then Mr. and Mrs. Smith for the first time and finally Harlem Nights for the umpteenth time. I then had a four-hour layover until my flight to Manila. From Seoul it was another four hours to the Philippines. We were greeted with 79-degree weather at 11:30 pm Wednesday night. My total trip took 24 hours. It felt like it too.
There were other Global Peace Conference attendees on the flight. After clearing customs, we were met by Thomas and Mark Anthony, who guided us to our transportation. I arrived at the famous Manila Hotel at 1:00 am and checked in.
Hours later after trying to recovering from jet lag, I looked out my window at the Manila Bay. I read that this is the same hotel that General McArthur stayed in while he commanded the US Army during World War II.
It is a very beautiful hotel. I spent most of my first day getting acclimated to my surroundings. The internet is free, my room is huge, the bathroom has a tub, a shower, a bidet and a TV. They have 24 hour room service, my meals are free also and the plugs use my universal electric converter. Yeah!
The conference opened with a banquet. It was a welcome not only to Manila but also to the Global Peace Convention. Attendees are here representing 28 nations and various faith traditions. The people are warm and friendly. The women like everywhere are dressed to impress. They even have Halal selections at every meal. Halal is an Arabic word that means permissible. Muslims eat a certain diet that where possible should be prepared by Halal means. I’m eating halal everyday.
The group from the US includes (from right to left) Alan Inman, a consultant from New Rochelle, Dr. Jefferey Johnson, president of the National Partnership on Community Leadership in DC, Dr. Linda Malone-Colon, chair of the psychology department at Hampton University, me and John Breyer from Brazil. His organization is called Service for Peace and he arranges exchanges for students to do service projects in Brazil.
The program ended with the Phillipine dance troupe. Day One is done and I’m headed to my room. More to come.