Sunday, October 21, 2012

shopping mode

More rice science and GRiSP in the future. But first, I'm back to writing more about personal stuff...

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On one slow evening after I'd gone back to my suite in Torrance, I took to surfing the internet about the shopping malls I've gone into, particularly inspired by my visit to the Del Amo Shopping Center. I realized, as I was reading about them, that I've been to some of the biggest shopping malls in my travels!

The floor areas are from Wikipedia. Naturally, most of the malls that I've gone to are in the Philippines. I was surprised that the local malls dwarf the one's I've seen overseas! I guess this indicates that Filipinos are mall rats, huh?

Here's a rundown:

SM North EDSA (504,900 m²)
In reality, I haven't been able to go around this huge mall just yet. The last time I went there, I was with friends for lunch and snacks. This shopping mall is different, compared to other malls, because the roof area was converted to al fresco dining spots and a waterfall was put in place too. A sky dome has been put in place to allow the sunlight to enter the mall. This mall is accessible from the south via EDSA both by car and by train (MRT-3).
SM Mall of Asia (390,193 m²)
Now this one is a bit closer to home. Easily accessible via the Southern Luzon Expressway or via Sucat Road and Macapagal Highway, this shopping center is more accessible for people driving their own cars than to people who take public transportation (or I just don't know how to go there by bus?). You'd know you're there because you'd be welcomed by the giant globe right at the roundabout. While the mall is huge, especially with the recent addition of the sports arena (the venue of the Manila run of Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco), the floor area dedicated to shopping space isn't as big as that of SM North EDSA.
SM Megamall (348,056 m²)
This used to be the biggest mall that I had been to. I've been there just this week and it still feels huge! To walk from one end of the mall to the other (which is in the other building) takes what feels like ages! Take note, there are a lot of people in the mall whether there's a weekend discount or not. I normally take the train when I go to the Megamall because it's the fastest way to go... traffic in this area of the metro is bad.
SM City Cebu (268,611 m²)
Another big mall. It's so big that I didn't have enough time to actually see what's inside it. The funny thing, though, was that I flew all the way from Manila to end up in SM City Cebu. Because the stores in this mall are mostly the same ones that are in Manila, I didn't feel like I traveled at all... well, except for the language. The people in SM City Cebu spoke in Cebuano but would answer in Filipino when I asked them (because I'm a Tagalog).
Greenbelt (250,000 m²)
Whenever I'm in this mall, I don't know if I feel empowered because I could walk here and window shop or feel sad because I couldn't afford, or refuse to buy (because I feel they're overly expensive), many of the beautiful things being sold there. This mall is home to some of the world's more expensive brands and caters to the shopping tastes of both the upwardly mobile middle class and the truly rich. I don't go here to shop most of the time though. This is the place to eat (for me and my sister) because it has a lot of different cuisines in one location. 
SM Southmall (205,120 m²)
It was big before it was renovated; now, it's huge! I haven't been to this mall for many years because the traffic going to and from is heavy most of the time; I couldn't stand waiting in traffic. When my sister used to figure skate in this mall, the skating rink looked really big. But after seeing the ice at the Mall of Asia, I think that the present rink in Southmall either looks really small; either its size shrunk during renovation, or I've just seen a bigger one to compare it with.
Ala Moana Shopping Center (200,000 m²)
I visited this mall with fellow graduate school students back in 2008 when we were all attending the AACC International annual meeting in Hawaii. I don't remember much about the department stores since it's been a long while, but I do remember enjoying walking in it because the corridors inside the mall were lit naturally by the sun. The outdoor mall was also a good place to walk in. The only experience that I didn't enjoy so much was eating the poi at the food court. I heard that it's what people traditionally eat. For someone who's used to eating rice, the texture of the poi is something I need to get used to.
Del Amo Fashion Center (200,000 m²)
This is the closest tourist spot to the hotel I stayed at in Torrance CA... for someone who has no car. The sheer size of it requires someone to allot one day to explore it or chop the trip there into shorter doses over several days. I chose the latter because I found the interior of the mall to be a bit too dark for me. It reminded me of the Quad in Makati back in the 1980s, before it was renovated and is now known as the Glorietta. The outdoor shopping area is another story. It reminded me so much of Ala Moana, actually. It's sunny outside (conducive for shopping?) and is where some of my favorite clothing brands are located... plus my go-to southern California afternoon snack bar for the week I was there: Jamba Juice.
Sunvalley Mall (130,000 m²)
Another one of the dark malls in California. Even in daytime, I felt like it's late in the afternoon inside. I haven't explored the whole mall yet. But my trips going to this mall has always been pleasant because I'd go there with my family. I didn't mind the rather dark interiors too much. (The malls in the Philippines are so well lit inside that I lose track of time inside... I even feel surprised if it's dark outside!)
Lakeside Shopping Center (89,800 m²)
I guess that when you've been into one shopping mall everything else looks similar. Still, I was expecting something quite different from this New Orleans shopping center. Maybe because the Louisiana cuisine is unique or because the state is known for its musical roots, or maybe because I've always associated New Orleans with voodoo and Halloween is approaching. I did see some stained glass decorations and tiny figurines about New Orleans in the gift shop but I didn't feel so much of the festive atmosphere New Orleans is famous for. 
Broadmarsh Shopping Center (45,000 m²)
My first encounter with this mall was when I was searching for the bus that I could ride to get to the University of Nottingham. It was an interesting walk: I was pulling my luggage on cobblestone roads, still not believing that I landed in England in winter clad in summer clothes! I was looking for road signs but there were none; so it took me about half an hour to locate the bus station in the biting cold. But that didn't dampen my mood; nor did the gloomy weather. I was in England, after all; what student attending a conference would not take on such an adventure? My next trip to the mall was when I had intended to see Robin Hood's statue near the Nottingham Castle. Since the sun set too early for my afternoon walk, I settled on visiting the mall instead. The  architectural style in the surrounding area made me feel like I traveled to the past but the mall's interior reminded me that I was indeed still in the present.
Have I had enough of shopping malls? There are times when I feel that I have. During these times, I stick to grocery stores and supermarkets and then prepare home-cooked meals. But groceries and supermarkets are another story altogether.