The Philippines is my first stop on a journey to Asia that will consume the next four weeks, most of it in China, including Hong Kong.
Battling jetlag, 12 hours ahead of the Eastern U.S time zone, my first goal was a long walk in Manila’s business district, which also is home to gigantic indoor shopping malls that are packed to the gills on weekends.
Thanks to the concierge at the fashionable and well located Peninsula hotel, my Sunday walk yielded a terrific lunch spot, Tin Ho Wan, favored by locals and known for its baked buns with BBQ pork and steamed dumplings. Not fancy but very good, said the concierge — exactly what I was looking for, as a re-introduction to Asia. With iced tea, less than $8.
Next order of business is working away the jetlag, which always confuses my body clock when I fly to Asia. A world traveling businessman told me he just adopts whatever time it is, wherever he is, and wills his body to adapt. Lucky man, if he’s telling the truth. Time is especially difficult for me when I head east. Yes, one usually flies west from the U.S. to the Philippines and China, but the clock rolls like the Earth under the sun.
The Sun Also Sets
You can get confused if you look westward when you think of Asia's time zones. For instance, China is 12 hours ahead of Cleveland and New York, but 13 hours ahead of Chicago, 14 ahead of Denver, 15 ahead of LA -- the closer you are in the west, the greater the time difference, all because of the International Dateline in the Pacific Ocean, where one day begins as another ends.
So, for the next month, I will be at least 12 hours ahead of most of the United States as I research cruises (including Ovation of the Seas out of Hong Kong), cruise ports, and a highly anticipated tour with Abercrombie & Kent that will take me from Beijing to Shanghai, including a river voyage on China’s Yangtze.
As an added benefit, I will miss all of the political ads and campaign caterwauling of the next four weeks in the United States. But I will be home in time to vote.
David Molyneaux writes regularly about cruising news, tips and trends at TravelMavenBlog.com. His cruise trends column is published in U.S. newspapers, including the Miami Herald, Dallas Morning News, and on Internet sites, including AllThingsCruise. He is editor of TheTravelMavens.com .