4 September 2003 – So Friday we took the plunge and went out, just the two of us, in the evening. It wasn’t that much of a plunge, but we asked the housekeeper to come in later so that she would be here from 4-10.
We fed the kids and put them to bed and she was a live body in the house. Our barangay had arranged for the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra to play in the neighborhood park. They were excellent. I wasn’t quite sure how formal it would be and was pleased to see the musicians in black pants with black t-shirts and the audience was a mix of old and young dressed in all levels of comfort. The music was excellent, and the musicians seemed to truly enjoy their work. We did feel bad for the tuba though. During the first segment he played in a single piece.
On the invitation it didn’t say how long the performance would be so we’d planned to listen then get some dinner. Well, upon arriving we realized that the entire performance would last until 10. Hmm, we’d been lucky enough to be offered seats in the 2nd row even though the place was packed before we arrived. Would people notice if our seats were suddenly vacant? Probably, but only so far as to try to get the chairs for themselves. Some other Embassy folks were there as well with their children and bailed at intermission as we did, so we didn’t feel too badly. After all, we were allowing others to sit and enjoy as we had. So we went to the Fort, an eclectic mix of restaurants and expensive (even for American prices) stores in oddly designed buildings, named after Fort Bonifacio which is somewhere nearby. It’s an island in the midst of a bunch of nothing, though the nothing has great plans to be built up into a state of the art economic zone. After all, the street lights, park benches and works of art are already in place. It’s a strange place to drive through as you expect people to be around and yet, there are no buildings. It does already have a name, but I’m blanking on what it is at the moment. Anyhow, we walked around the entire Fort to see what was there. Ian had heard that Le Souffle was good but when we meandered by it was all decked out for a wedding reception in progress. So we settled on an Italian place called Trios, with outside balcony seating. You never know what you’re going to get. We had a plate of pumpkin blossoms. In the States that would be a cute name for an appetizer. Here, it’s literally pumpkin blossoms, as in flowers off the vine that haven’t opened yet, stuffed with a very mild almost tasteless smooth cheese and then deep fried. Interesting, not bad, but once is enough. Ian ordered an Australian New York strip and he seemed to enjoy it. I ordered grilled prawns with risotto. While the prawns were generally good, the risotto was not. At first, I couldn’t pinpoint the problem as the first bite seemed to promise good things. Then I realized that after eating some, my throat hurt. And there was a lingering aftertaste that was wholly unpleasant. Of course I said “Ian there’s something wrong with this, you taste it.” And we agreed there was something very wrong with the rice. Actually, it was tough to figure out if this was the way it was supposed to be, or if they’d really messed up. How best to describe the experience. You know how after you throw up your throat burns and you have that half-digested acidic taste that lingers? Yup, that about sums it up.
We decided to skip dessert.
Arriving home, the housekeeper tells us of her evening. It would seem that Nicholas had woken up and was angry we weren’t home. He was shouting through the house for us, crying, woke up his brother, and refused to be calmed or go back to bed. He sat in next to a cabinet by the front door, apparently insistent that he was going to stay awake and wait for us to return. Jonathon just wanted to sleep. He sat with the housekeeper for a bit then dozed off and she put him back to bed. But Nicholas would have none of it. When we walked in the door, he had moved to the couch and was conked out. For anyone wondering, this is extremely unusual for him. If he does wake up upset it’s almost always that he has to go potty but is confused from being half asleep. We neglected to tell the housekeeper this as he hasn’t woken up at night in a long time. And it’s not like I didn’t prepare him. Several times throughout the day I reminded him that we were going out in the evening but he would be asleep and the housekeeper would be here. He was a little sad, but OK with it. And to think I had been worried about Jonathon.
It didn’t go very well as a trial run though, did it?