I lived in three countries now and for every city, I did different ways to unwind after work.
I have been working in three countries now so I decided to list down some ways that I did after work.
In Manila, particularly in the business district in Makati, after office hours could be challenging. Most of the time, my only goal was to go home because I live two hours away outside of the city. Going home was a struggle because of the legendary Manila traffic as well as the commute. I don’t drive, and even if I do, the traffic was a nightmare especially on rainy season. But if I’m not going home yet, there were some things that I love to do, mostly with my friends, after work.
- Dinner! Eating is one of my favorite activities, so any opportunity to dine out was always something I look forward to. The best places to go to in Makati CBD are those hole-in-the-wall food joints or restaurants in the streets of Salcedo and Legaspi villages. The restaurants in Ayala Triangle are good, too, but they tend to be overcrowded during the Christmas season. I love the ones in the Greenbelt area, but it’s better to call for reservations ahead of time because eating at the end of a busy day is also a comforting thing to do for most people working in the CBD.
- Movies. There are apps and online reservations now which could provide the best access to my favorite seats in the cinema. I love going to the movies, especially on Friday nights.
- Coffee meet-ups. I love how there are many cafes around the Makati CBD, and most of them have enough quiet space where you can chill and relax while having that Frappuccino after a busy day. My favorite go-to would always be CBTL.
- Roaming around the mall is another favorite thing of mine. As a girl living in the south, I mostly go to the Mall of Asia. While everyone gets lost in this huge box of a mall, I know where to go if I need something. Sometimes, just to let the rush hour pass by, I would pass off the time by walking around here and would end up getting another book or buying a few at the huge hypermarket.
- If I’m not out and about, and got home just in time for the evening primetime shows on TV (hahaha), I am most likely found inside my room reading a book. Nothing beats a good book to relax to at the end of a busy day.
In Bangkok, it was usually the same thing. I only live at the street near the office and it’s at the central part of the city. Malls, restaurants, and cafes are just nearby. Life here was different. In Manila, if I’m not out with friends, my priority was mostly to get home before midnight (yes, traffic really sucks there). In Bangkok, I might have done anything in my area even before midnight.
- Gym. I usually go to the gym every Monday since there’s a free Zumba class. The company I worked for here provided free access to the nearby hotel’s gym and my workout always involved dancing. It releases happy hormones. After the gym, sometimes I would stay around for the sauna.
- Dinner! Like I’ve said, eating is one of my favorite activities and the city of Bangkok also has a wide selection of restaurants to choose from. Usually, there would be happy hours before 7pm, and I was usually found in the nearby Mexican restaurant. There are several cafes in Bangkok, too, and most of them are found in quiet little areas where you get to enjoy the famous Thai tea or simply an espresso, and one of those delicious cakes to enjoy. My favorite is the Coffee Club along Wireless Road. But dinner is not only confined inside a restaurant. Bangkok is famous for street food, and it’s always a good idea. Just be careful and check the cleanliness first. My favorite places are Soi Polo Chicken in Pathumwan, near the Lumpini Park, and the food stalls at the night market.
- Bars are everywhere, too. I did not spend a lot of time going to these places because it was not my thing, but when I got invited by friends, I go once in a while. It’s the same thing in Manila. My favorite spot is the Havana Club because I love swinging my hips like that. 🙂
- A walk in the park in Lumpini is something that most people do after work. If I’m not in the gym, either I walk or jog here, or just around the area.
- Malling. Who wouldn’t be? The city is full of malls, and you can do everything in one place. Usually, I only go to the mall to buy essentials when I have to.
- Movies. The best cinemas for me would be either in Siam Paragon or at the Emquartier. It’s spacious and clean, and the showtimes could extend until after midnight.
- Night markets. I already mentioned above that this is also the best place to eat delicious Thai food, albeit expensive for some. But when I have guests coming to the city, I would take them to these markets for some shopping and food experience.
- Relax at home. Of course, this would always be a part of the list. While I put everything in the previous list about what to do outside, I preferred to stay at home most of the time. I would either bake something or just lie down on my bed and read another book.
Now, in my third country, living in France is different. Things, let’s say particularly in the area where I live right now, is a bit tame.
- Dinner! Yes, eating again! Haha. I love the relaxed ambiance of the restaurants here. When you eat, it is a special event where you take time to partake the bounties on the table with friends, talking about anything and everything, and especially forgetting about looking at the mobile phone. Since living here, I have become more engaged in eating and my companions that I forget about the rest of the world for a while and just enjoy the meal.
- Fitness. Most of the people are active with their fitness. While there were gyms around the area, most of us are found roaming around the town and the beach side, running or walking or doing yoga or zumba.
- Grocery. There is something satisfying about just going through the grocery aisles even if you don’t need anything. Sometimes, I would just walk around and take note where to find next time this beef stock that was part of a recipe that I wanted to try.
- Aperitif. This might not be the first in my list, but it’s still here nonetheless. When meeting with friends after work, it was fun and relaxing to find a restaurant that is opened early for this or you can do it yourself at home with friends. Have some light wine, fruit juice or cocktail or beer, whatever you prefer. Get some of those cheese, crackers, fruits, charcuterie or salty bites like olives or anything light you can think of and assemble it on a platter. Don’t forget the bread! Don’t stress with the preparations as the intent is meant to relax and enjoy another round of interesting conversation. Next thing you’ll know, it’s dinner time. 🙂
- Movies. There is only one cinema in the town of Antibes. As a foreigner who does not speak French well yet, I go for the English-spoken movies and the showtimes were always in the evening during Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Just lounging. It was easy to get home from work. Since there was nothing much to do outside, especially when shops and places of interest close at 5 or 6pm, I am mostly found at home, just lounging in front of the TV to watch Netflix or yes, read another book. I also write on the side if I get inspired.
What about you? Can you share the things you do after work?