[Diary] – Massage, Fever & Pretty Girls – Sept. 2012

Month of SEPTEMBER – 2012

Every so often I feel like sharing some short item I have on my mind but it’s not enough to write an entire article about.  So, I decided to create a ‘stream-of-thought’ online diary, one page per month.  I’ll toss in some photos & video links as needed for emphasis so.. no telling what you’ll encounter here.  

Oh, subscribe using the E-mail box along the right-side of the site to know when I update with a new entry.  My mind is always spinning so.. try not to take anything I write here ‘too’ seriously.  And if (when) I happen to post here while somewhat intoxicated.. pay even less attention.  — Henry V.



(in reverse chronological order.. that means, most recent stuff is here on top.)

[09/29/2012] —  Okay.. I seriously thought I’d be doing better by now.  Technically, I am.  All symptoms are gone except the coughing, which leads to the ongoing headache.  For four hours today I drifted in and out of sleep every 5 minutes due to coughing.  It was pouring rain, I was dead-tired, I lost my cool James-Bondish umbrella last week but I wanted some cough syrup and tea-bags.  Couldn’t do it until about an hour ago.  First took a quick shower, that woke me up.. then dragged my exhausted self to the Mall for what I needed.  Here, the over-the-counter stuff like cough medicine and vitamins you have to get from a separate part of the grocery store in the pharmacy section.  You don’t get to ‘browse’ the items.. you go to a desk and tell them what you want and they bring out whatever brands they have to choose from.  I guess otherwise people would be shop-lifting this stuff all day long.  (Times are tough.)  I chose the one brand of cough syrup they had and then went into the grocery store area for other stuff.  Some more Calamansi (limes) to make hot lime-aid and some green-tea bags.  No Lipton tea here.. all the teas here are straight from the East.  I went with one from Uji No Tsuyo just because it had the most Japanese writing on the box.  I like the tea, just had a cup right now.  It has a taste sort of like ‘wheat’.  A little raw sugar and.. pretty good tea.  Meanwhile the tea seems to be doing just as much good on my coughing as the cough syrup.  Time to double up the dose.  The local bakery makes these mini-loaves of Sesame Bread that is SO soft, fresh and delicious.  I cut some slices, add some sandwich spread, ham and cheese.. good stuff.  Well, time to catch up on some more ‘House‘ episodes until I’m ready to take some Metatonin and (hopefully) get some sleep tonight.  It would just be so cool if I can wake up feeling better tomorrow.

[09/28/2012] —  Despite going to bed at the unusually early hour of 11pm last night, it’s now 4:15am and I’ve been awake for an hour.  Not gonna toss and turn.  Meanwhile I’ve thrown in the towel on this Strep Throat.  Ten days of fever and sore throat with sinus issues is enough for me.  “No mas.”  My g/f brought me some anti-biotics, cooked up some chicken soup and gave me the first full-body massage I’ve ever had (in my life), with some kind of eucalyptus mineral oil and everything.  I’ve avoided massages all my life, never was all that comfortable with strangers touching me.  She says I should try getting a massage in town.  That’s a big thing here in the Philippines, massage.  There’s a nice little spa tucked away behind the local mall just a few blocks from here.  I’ve seen it since I got here but, as I said.. I’m very apprehensive about people I don’t know groping all over me.  Even if they are 90 pound, super-attractive Asian hotties.  The price is right though, only 250 to 400 Pesos massage for an entire hour.  That’s like, $6 to $10 depending on whether you get the ‘dry‘, ‘oil‘ or ‘completely buck-nekked‘ massage.  In the States it’s more like $65 plus a tip so, almost $75.  The place nearby said they also do “in home” massage and they’re open 24 hours.  Sounds interesting.  Maybe I should give it a try.. for research purposes.  Eventually.  This is one of those times when procrastination and irrational neurosis work in my favor.  I’ll think about the whole massage thing “manana“.

So, instead.. I’m waiting for these meds to kick in.  I have some heated Calamansi with sugar to ease the pain in my throat as well as some ‘mint water’ my g/f’s Mom sent to me.  I also have the complete, final season of “House” that I happened to ‘find’ on DVD the other day.  I also got a full season of ‘Dexter‘ while I was at it.  To help me pass the time with this sickness of course.  Even hospitals charge money for television in a patient’s room.  A few DVDs is along those lines.  The entire last ten days has literally passed by like a blur.  A few of those days I was awake until dawn, slept all day.. and then reversed again so.. I don’t know, I think I lost a few days while in limbo somehow.  Time for some more ‘House’ and then the sun will be up in another 90 minutes.. then it’ll be time for some corned beef, rice and eggs for breakfast.  Maybe some chicken soup on the side with some sesame bread if I’m still hungry.  I’ve hardly eaten more than a meal a day since getting sick, starting to get my appetite back.  🙂

[09/25/2012] —  Well.. this waking up at 5:30am nonsense meant my siesta went from 3p-6p.  Now I’m all wired-up until dawn.  I had plans to visit the piggy-farm tomorrow but won’t be able to arrange transportation for another week.  It’s about a 2-hour drive up the coast of Cebu to get there.  Two of the Momma-Pigs had litters so I wanna go check it out.  But right now, still shaking the cobwebs from my head.. drinking some freshly-squeezed, hot lime-aid with brown sugar for my cough.  Ahh.. feels so much better.  I call these things ‘mini-lime‘s but actually they’re called ‘Calamansi‘ fruit.  (tomato – tomahto, whatever)   Anytime I get grilled skewers they provide a few on the side for chicken or fish.  They look just like a lime but are about the size of a thumb-tip.  Meanwhile the Christmas decorations are up at the mall already and even the carols are on the intercom.  At the center of the mall they’ve been constructing a Christmas tree about two-stories tall for the last week.  My girlfriend says the holiday season here starts end of September.  Today I noticed that the cashier girls have started wearing little Santa caps as well.  With Mariah Carrey’sAll I Want For Christmas Is You” playing overhead.. looks like the holiday season will be here for quite a while.  And then, in January is the annual Sinulog Festival that goes for an entire week traveling from Cebu to Mactan.  I’m looking forward to that to celebrate my 50th birthday.  🙂

Meanwhile the new maid, ‘Bebe‘ or ‘B‘ for short, did a fantastic job cleaning up the place today.. my studio is sparkling clean again.  She’s very thorough.  I ran into her while stopping for some chicken skewers, a small business she runs.  After meeting most of her family and some of her friends there at the skewer place I decided to hire her on two weeks ago and so far she’s been doing a great job.  Less work for me and at 300 Pesos per visit (about $7.20 USD) it’s a deal for me.  In about an hour she does the dishes, sweeps and mops.  She then takes my laundry and has it ready within 48 hours.  I only have her come in about every 2 weeks, when the laundry pile tells me I haven’t any more clean shirts left.  So now, with the place all clean again, I’m thinking of getting a new, larger table just for computer-stuff tomorrow.  I’ve been using a small table for PC and eating and it’s been getting really cluttered doing it this way so.. time to get another table.  I keep thinking, “Just one more day..” with this head-cold/sinus thing.  Still haven’t gotten over it since last week.  I stopped by the pharmacy for more OTC meds tonight so I’m doing okay with that.  Well, time to make some fresh pineapple juice in the blender, toss in a few bananas and mangos and see what else I can get done tonight.

[09/25/2012] — Wow.  I’ve been awake for 3 hours and it’s only 8:35am.  I guess my body finally crashed last night as I dragged myself to sleep around midnight.  That’s pretty early for me to be going to sleep.  Without an alarm next thing I knew I was wide awake at 5:30am so I’ve been up since.  I’ve been kinda scattered in some ways since I got here.  I have my living situation all figured out but my ‘task list’ kinda went by the wayside.  As I drifted off to sleep last night I came to the conclusion I need to re-focus and get back to something that resembles a productive routine.  I have lots of ideas to pursue, a novel to write, websites to update, marketing to do and places to see so.. having some kind of schedule that includes daylight hours would be a good place to begin.  Although I gotta say, most of the weirdness occurs late at night.

My $75 power-down transformer died on me about 2 weeks ago.  I replaced the fuse, twice, but to no avail.  What it does is lowers the 220volt power from the wall socket down to 110volt so I can use my American chargers for my toothbrush, iPod player and electric shaver.  I picked up an iPod cable from the mall for $2 and have been playing my music through external speakers via the laptop and iTunes.  No need for the player now.  Meanwhile I can’t see spending another $75 just to charge my shaver and toothbrush so.. might be time to go old-school again.   Meanwhile the new maid, ‘Baby’ or.. ‘B’ for short is supposed to be coming by in about an hour.  She does a damn good job cleaning the place.  She’s one of those ‘gotta clean it right‘ sort of people.  I’m more of a ‘shove it under the bed‘ kinda tidy-up person.  I’m all outta clean shirts too so, she also does the laundry.. without stretching everything all to hell in the process.  Plus she has a good attitude so, I’m thinking I’ll keep her on so long as things continue as they have.

I had some left-over soup that I put out on the patio this morning.  It’s kinda got me worried that several of the street dogs and even the starving cat have checked it out and they all passed on it.  Hmm.. what do they know that I don’t?  I’m hoping all this bright and early nonsense doesn’t leave me drained in the middle of the afternoon.  If I fall for a siesta around 4pm and don’t wake up until 9pm.. I’m all set for an all-nighter and back to my old schedule again.  Gotta manage to stay awake today, some Complex-B vitamins ought to help with that.  Meanwhile it’s a beautiful day, lush, green trees outside my window and even a cool breeze.  Time to make some breakfast and see what I can get done today.

[09/23/2012] —  It’s after 4pm and I just woke up an hour ago.  Needless to say my sleep schedule has ‘drifted’ a bit over the last 48 hours.  I was up pretty late Friday night, shooting video at Chicago Joe’s Dance Club for an article I’ll being doing soon.  Last night I was all set to get some sleep at 11pm, but at the last minute decided to watch Van Damme’s movie, “6 Bullets“.  A good movie, glad to see him back.  Also saw him in “The Expendables 2“, another great movie.. he made a good ‘bad guy’.  My kids and I grew up watching his early films and for a while after I was worried he was ‘done’.  But looks like he’s getting it together again.  Good for him.  It’s not easy fighting demons, not everybody pulls outta that funk so, kudos to you Jean Claude.

After that I began editing through the hour’s worth of video from the dance-club, trying to whittle it down to perhaps 6 or 8 minutes.  Small issue with the audio.  Finally around 6am I saved my work, gave my g/f a wake-up call and stretched out on my bamboo bed for some sleep.  Now, I’m wide awake to repeat it all again unless I knock myself out around 11pm.  As if that were likely.  Meanwhile, been having lots of dreams from back when my kids were little.. around under 10 years old.  New adventures, same characters.  Memories are precious.  Damn.. they really do grow up fast.  Seems like just three years ago we were spending our days either swimming, cooking dinner together or off on some adventure at the beach.  Hard to imagine that now they are going to college, having their own kids, running their own business.  It’s the way of things though.  New chapters for them.  New chapters for me.

Yesterday my g/f and her best friend picked me up so we could go out to lunch together.  I’d “met” her friend on Skype but this was the first time meeting in person.  Wonderful woman, very well grounded but a fun sense of humor.  She’s a good person to keep my g/f company, unlike some of the snakes that were bothering her before.  We weeded those people out though, life is better.  The place we went to eat was absolutely the coolest restaurant I’ve ever been to.. EVER.  It’s all outdoors in the thickest, live jungle and the tables are under bamboo huts along natural trails.  It is so green everywhere and there is a two story tree-house structure to eat in as well.  Each table is tucked into it’s own area of jungle and a bell is used to call the waitress.  I absolutely have to return and do a photo shoot there for the site.  I had squid-rings for the first time, and I like them.  Normally squid or octopus is not my thing, but these were good.  I’m still a bit sick so she ordered some really good beef stew, hot lime-aid, grilled chicken and rice.  I’m reheating the beef stew with some fresh onion right now that I brought home.  Smells so good.  In fact, on that note.. I’m gonna go eat.  Still so much to do today.  It’s Sunday, I might take my weekly stroll through the marketplace in Lapu Lapu.. weekends are very relaxing there for me despite the big crowds of locals.  I enjoy getting lost in the crowd.

[09/21/2012] — (9:16pm)  Same day.. got some sleep during the afternoon.  As I walked into town for some dinner (still haven’t gone grocery shopping) I decided I’ve been cooped up in the studio too long and need to stretch my legs doing something.  It’s Friday night and the big hot-spot on the island is definitely Chicago Bob’s.  I don’t really feel up to a night of drinking/dancing but I’ve been curious to see the rest of the compound there, aside from the dance bar.  Word has it there’s a swimming pool, a new diner with a very good selection of American, Italian and even some Mexican food.  In addition it supposedly has beach-access as well as a scuba-diving school.  So I’ve decided to go there more as a ‘journalist’ than as a crazy person, although the former does not necessarily exclude the latter.   I’ve charged up my video-cam, wiped the memory free so I have plenty of storage space as well.  I don’t mind giving a good shout-out to good businesses I enjoy.  I’m a hard-core believer in the entrepreneurial spirit no matter what continent I’m on.

My one hope is that I can go about my project tonight without any human drama.  As I mentioned, here on Mactan, Chicago Joe’s Bump & Grind Disco Dance Club is THE happening place to be on the weekends and if ever I’ll run into some people I’ve been trying to avoid hassles with, it will be there.  Rebuffing a woman’s advances for a relationship never seems to end well and you just never know how they will decide to lash out.  I’ll just have to keep a cool head and call for Joe’s security if things get escalated.  I saw Joe himself toss out some trouble-maker a while back.. he’s a stout, big enough guy that he ran the dude out on his ear with little resistance.     After I shoot all my video perhaps I’ll just lounge out on the outdoor patio, away from the craziness and take in the warm evening with a drink.  There are music videos projected onto the wall so between that and people-watching it’s a cool scene.  I’ve been awake all night lately with this head-cold so I’d rather be at the club patio than confined to my studio, given the choice.  If all turns out well, I’ll have some video for you soon.  If not.. well, I prefer to not think about that.

[09/21/2012] — (4:30am)  Still dealing with this head-cold/sinus thing.  I went to the pharmacy about four blocks away and got some over the counter meds this afternoon.  I fell asleep around 6pm and woke up feeling better around 2am so, now I’m wide awake.  I cooked up some rice and bacon, they go together very well.  Need to go grocery shopping in the morning/afternoon later.  Meanwhile, had some visitors today.. a very sweet Filipina and her French boyfriend as we brain-stormed on website ideas for his business.  She is related to some other people I know here on the island and I’d met her boyfriend a while back at a dance club.  Like I said, it seems everyone is connected to everyone somehow around here.  Cool people though, I’m hoping things go well for them.

Meanwhile, I watched ‘The Bourne Legacy‘ yesterday and I was pleased to see that the second half of the film was shot out here in Manila, Philippines.  The jeepneys, tricycles and lots of Filipinos in the background looked very familiar now that I’ve been here a bit.  Good movie, too.

I’m itching like crazy to start my novel.  I have about 70% of it worked out in my head, the rest I’ll make up as I go along.  I know when I start tapping away on it I’ll lose sight of everything else.. food, sleep, going outdoors, etc.  I get extremely focused when writing and can go a full day without eating just writing and writing through the night until sun-up.  Iced tea and dry snacks keep me alive.  I’ve tried cooking something simple while writing and it always ends up burning.  Even with the smoke filling the room it just doesn’t catch my attention until it’s way too late and the food is all burnt.  Even boiling some noodles, the water is all gone and the noodles die a horrible death.  Same with boiling eggs, but smells a lot worse.  But I can’t put it off much longer, too much of it keeps showing itself to me when I lay down to sleep at night to keep delaying.  I had another title originally but wasn’t satisfied with it.  After a few weeks of thought I finally decided a more fitting title will be; “The Death of Reekay“.  I’m planning to make the first chapter available for free, and then sell the subsequent chapters at a low price, maybe $2-$3 each as I write them.  Edgar Allen Poe did something similar, selling his stories to a gazette and then the full stories were published in parts each week.  No ravens, gambling issues or opium here so, I’m hoping things go better for me than they did for Poe.  I admire his work greatly, but mostly I wish I could have known him personally.

It’s getting near 5am now and the roosters are waking up.  They crow all day anyway.  There’s  a rooster about 20 feet from my door, leashed by his foot to a tree where the owner feeds him.  I call him ‘Brewster” and see him every day as I walk into town.  Maybe I’ll see him at the cock-fights one Sunday.  If so, I’ll not bet on him.. it seems my placing a bet on a rooster is the kiss-of-death, literally.  Two out of three birds I ever bet on end up leaving the arena feet first.  Time for some iced-tea and then ponder whether to sleep (like I should) or start a short project.  Yep.. I can see the blue sky lighting up over the trees through the window already.  Good thing I’m a deep sleeper or else Brewster and I would have some issues.

[09/17/2012] — It’s Monday evening and I’m just a bit sick.  Sinus and sore throat with some body aches.  I know how I got it and.. it was worth it.  Meanwhile the darkness is quiet tonight, no rain or lightning.  Just some music by Jagger from the ‘Alfie’ soundtrack playing on my iPod player.  So glad I brought that thing with me.  I’ve boiled some water with oil and garlic, cooking up some bow-tie pasta right now for dinner.  I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store to ‘doctor’ up the sauce so, I’ll take it as it is.  Absolutely not feeling like doing any walking right now, maybe later around midnight when it’s cooler.   Yesterday I picked up three DVDs at the marketplace for 100 pesos.  That’s about 65 cents each in US currency.  It’s hit or miss here, sometimes the DVDs are ripped straight from DVD and look great.. other times it’s the handi-cam nonsense.  One of them the sound kept creeping up until it was super-loud so I’d lower it.. then, of course, it went to normal and I couldn’t hear a thing.  I cycled like that every ten minutes through the whole movie.  Well, you get what you pay for.  It’s cheap entertainment for the rare night like tonight when I have nothing going on and don’t feel like getting ‘out’.  85% of the time, the DVD quality is kinda-sorta decent enough.  Oh well, it was worth it to see the smile on that girl’s face when she made the sale.  Some extra fish for dinner at her house is the way I see it.

Meanwhile a woman who is a friend of the maid kept texting me all afternoon, wanting to come over and give me a massage so I “feel better”.  Yah, like I need that kind of drama piled on top of a sinus headache.  The issue here in the Philippines is NOT how to meet women.  It’s how to AVOID women.  Most women mind their own business, go about their job and will not bother you at all.  They are receptive if you want to talk or ask them out, much more receptive than women in the States that’s for sure.  So just about any single guy, foreigner, can meet women here like falling off a log.  But it’s the women who have too much time on their hands that are the problem.  They latch on and want to get either married or into a full-time relationship within hours or days of meeting them.  These are usually the women who are not busy in some way with work, kids or schooling so they have ALL day to focus on YOU.  Not a good thing.  If anything turns a man off in a heartbeat it’s a woman who is either jealous, possessive or both.  I’d rather wake up to a pillow smothering me to death.. that I can deal with.

But this socio-emotional smothering is just nuts.  It’s a delicate matter to keep them at a distance.. without pissing them off.  In their mind you are already “theirs” and your attempts to keep some distance “as friends” will be taken as rejection.  Things move fast here, no doubt about it.  You gotta keep your eyes and ears open because the wheels in a Filipina’s mind are always spinning.  One option is to get a new sim-card to change your cell-phone number.  But if they know anyone who knows anyone who knows where you live.. they just might show up on your doorstep if they can’t reach you by text.  My maid was telling me that she suspected her boyfriend had a girl in his apartment, but he wouldn’t open the door.  So.. she waited outside his door and even slept on the doormat overnight until the next morning.  I’ve dealt with jealous women in the States.. but this takes it to a whole other level here in the Philippines.  Like I said, the working women or those going to school, the ones with something going on in their lives.. they aren’t like this.  But the ones with time to kill.. be on your guard.  They stick and bind like duct-tape.

Pasta is ready. Time to drain and add in sauce.  I never rinse my pasta, that’s just me.  I like it sticky and full of garlic with just a dab of oil as I boil it.  Hmm.. perhaps I should hang some garlic outside my door tonight.. just to be safe.

[09/15/2012] —  Geez.. now that I’ve been walking the streets for about two months it seems like people are just popping out of the woodwork at every turn who say they see me, know me or know someone who knows me.  People I haven’t even met.  And mostly women.  They come up and say, “Oh.. you are Enrique.  I am cousin to lady in mall, she knows you from co-worker when you eat there.”  Now, it’s flattering to have so many people kinda treat you like a celebrity from some old t.v. show or something.  But, so much for anonymity.  And texting.  I think “chisme” (gossip) is truly the National Sport here.  If it were an Olympic event they’d take home the gold.  If I so much as have a conversation with a woman on the sidewalk, it seems some other person a day later says to me, “Oh.. I see you with your wife yesterday outside the mall.”  Wife?  That’s news to me.  But according to the growing legend here it seems I have at least five or six wives.

I was having (more) chicken skewers two days ago when I noticed the woman had bought a very nice glass case to display the food (and keep the flies off).  She said she bought it used and had to clean it up a bit.  So then I go home and the following day.. there’s the cook-lady talking to my neighbor.  It turns out she bought the glass case from my neighbor and had stopped by to make another payment on it.  Now, this might not seem so extraordinary.. all these chance instances of serendipity, if there were only a dozen homes and everyone lived on the same block.  But I’m talking about a regular sized town spread out over about a hundred square miles.  This is really taking some getting used to.  I’m accustomed to going into my home areas of Riverside or Temecula, California, for the millionth time and not seeing anyone I know except by chance a few times a year.  Here.. everybody knows everybody and texting is the gossip-network that keeps everyone informed on who spoke to who, when and where.  It’s nuts.

And, I’ve learned (the hard way).. once one person knows where you live.. expect just about anyone to show up at any time.  It hasn’t been too bad this week.  But people practically insist they get your number so they can text with you.  Now, I don’t mind a text asking, “How you doing?“.. that’s fine.  But when, “Did you eat yet?” starts turning into “Meet me and my friends we can eat together.  We wait for you.”  The translation is:  They want you to buy everybody lunch.  Or they will say, “I stop by, almost there.” that’s when you know things have really spun outta control.  I often have to either text back that I’m on my way out.. or actually leave the house to avoid visitors.  As a single guy with no girlfriend.. all this would mean is that you’ll never be lonely and meet lots of women with zero effort.  However, when you have a girlfriend.. having a bunch of women texting and wanting to meet at random times is not a good thing.   Remember hearing celebrities say in interviews how the thing they miss most is their privacy?  Now I know what they mean.  It’s flattering, and sometimes it’s fun to just have someone to text with.  But here in the Philippines, especially if you are a foreigner, it can exponentially get out of hand really fast.

[09/10/2012] —  It’s been more than 10 days since I last visited the big malls around here and I STILL cannot get over what a big deal Kentucky Fried Chicken is here in the Philippines.  I mean, the KFC at the SM Mall in Cebu has a dining center (very nice, btw) that is bigger than most steak houses I’ve been in.  It’s HUGE.  This picture here only shows the order desk.. to the Left AND to the right are two large dining areas, each able to seat about 70 people.  Back in my home town the KFC is just a tiny little place that seats maybe 15 people and has been that size for over 35 years.  I also noticed a really big Kenny Rogers Roaster here as well as a Gilligan’s.  (Yes, themed after Gilligan’s Isle.)  Meanwhile, I don’t care what country I’m in.. I refuse to eat at McDonald’s.

Today all my meals were skewers from alongside the road as I walked about.  I like the chicken, but I always pass on the grilled feet (called ‘Adidas‘), necks, chicken-tripe (called Isaw or ‘IUD‘ since it looks like one), fried chicken-head (called ‘Helmet‘),  bbq pig’s ears (called ‘Walkman‘) and blocks of chicken blood (called ‘Beta Max‘, the cubes are about that size).  Around here most people just point at what they want, the names seem to be just nicknames used when not around the actual food.  As for me.. just gimme good ole chicken meat, light or dark.. don’t matter.  I do like the chicken-skin skewers though.. damn, those are the next best thing to bacon!  Very fattening so I’ve only had two of them since getting here.. but so, so juicy and good.  Likewise I had one each of the Chorizo and Longiniza.. also fattening, but very tasty.  Mmm.  The pork skewers with pineapple and jalapenos are really good too, but I only get those from one particular place since I know they cook them thoroughly.

Been a long day.  As I walked about, first I happened to notice this one young lady that was dressed very nicely going into the local Catholic church.  Later, I went to a karaoke bar which turned out to be closed.  But in taking a look around I walked into an open door and I was suddenly in a room filled with about 30 young women and one older woman.  Not sure what they were doing, if they were holding a class or what.  A bunch of them giggled and smiled as the ‘old one’ came to tell me business hours were on Fri/Sat only and it was Sunday.  So I left there, walked around some more and, after passing by this tiny skewer bbq stand along the road, I turned back and sat down for some more chicken skewers.  It was basically a stand made of welded re-bar, a metal rain-gutter used as a cooking grill and a table.  Not exactly elegant dining, but the food was freshly cooked and it was only ten feet away from where I happened to be standing at the moment.  Now, here’s where it gets interesting.  As I’m sitting there eating, the same nicely dressed young woman I’d seen earlier near the church stops by.  It turns out she’s the niece of the woman who is cooking my food, so I was introduced to her.  Then, as I continued eating.. ALL of the 30 young women from the karaoke place came down the street like an army of cuteness and decided to eat at the skewer place I was sitting at.  I kept to myself though as they were all busy ordering their food and speaking in Tagalog, Visayan or both.. I couldn’t tell.  I noticed that about three of them were pregnant.. maybe the room I saw them in earlier was a Lamaze class or something, I don’t know.  The one older woman wasn’t scowling at me anymore, she seemed in a better mood.

Meanwhile, the Mother of the lady cooking my food stops by and now she wants to meet me.  I eventually met the cook’s sister, Uncle and best friend as well who happened to be walking by.. all this while just sitting there eating my chicken skewers.  For some reason they all wanted to meet me so I was standing and shaking hands every five minutes like I was on the campaign trail or something.  As for the Mother, she was a nice elderly woman who didn’t speak a word of English but she just kept smiling at me as if I were some celebrity from America.  The lady cooking my food said that I was good luck, that she’d not had so many customers in days until I showed up.  Nice to know there’s still a little luck left in me.. thought I’d used it all up a long time ago.

After that, another walk around town to get some exercise before going back to my studio. I didn’t get the photos I’d hoped to get at the carnival since I left the house at 5:30pm and it gets dark here around 6pm.  I’ll  have to wait for Friday or Saturday when it’s crowded again this coming weekend.

[09/07/2012] —  It’s early Friday night and I just walked home in the rain.  I’m wet, but it feels good.  I’ve never been a ‘rain’ sort of person because back home rain meant cold weather.. and I prefer hot weather.  Here I get the best of both.. warm rain.  Now, rain is a pure joy, I love it.  Prior to my walk home I was sitting atop the large balcony that overlooks the SouthWest corner of Mactan Isle.  From up there I have a fantastic view of the lightning, no obstructions for miles.  I even saw some of the bats as the lightning scared them out of whatever slumber they were in.  Flying, falling, flying like the winged mice that they are.  After doing a bit of reading I finally decided there was no point waiting for the storm to end.  It might go on for hours into the night.  And, of course, I’d forgotten my umbrella back at the studio.

I was enjoying the walk home when I came upon it.. my cement ‘stump’.  It’s the stump where I usually end my walks in the evening, across from the cat-house so I can observe people and traffic as they pass by before going home.  But now.. what do I see?  This stump has been sitting there, silently and unobtrusively for perhaps 30 years or more prior to my arrival in the Philippines.  And now.. some jackass thought it would be a good idea to take a rod of iron and destroy this 3 foot cubic cement of my solace and break it down to a pile of rubble.  That had to have taken hours and a lot of effort.  I looked about and it had to have just been done sometime this afternoon since I saw it intact just yesterday evening.  “Quaff!  Oh, quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost..”, block of cement.  But I have no nepenthe.. fresh out.  Figures.  Well, this just sucks.  Now I’ll have to find a new perch whereby I can sit in the shadows and do my evening observances.

Meanwhile, some minor drama in town.  Had to lay down some boundaries for someone that was getting something of a crush on me.  In it’s best context, ‘crush’ is the kindest way to put it.  I still have my suspicions it is not more than simply a person having to now deal with being put at a distance from their meal-ticket.  As they say, “no good deed goes unpunished.”  But it worked out fine.  For me anyway.  I’m just trying to live my life in a simple manner.  I have no need for drama or the noise it brings.  I came to the Philippines to write and enjoy life.. not to be financially relied upon by acquaintances.

It’s Friday night.  It’s raining.  Flashes of lightning hit my patio window like a strobe every so often.  I love this.

[09/05/2012] — WOW!!  This is THE heaviest storm I’ve seen since I got here.  It’s like non-stop swimming pools are being dumped overhead here, beyond description.  The lightning is multiple hits only 5-6 miles from my place.  Insanity.  The rain pounding down is as loud as having a static channel turned up to full volume, and then some.  I’m expecting the power to go out any minute.  Guess I’ll be going to bed early after sitting on the porch awhile to watch the lightning show.  Wow.. this is intense!  🙂  Gotta log off now to prevent damage to laptop.   Craziness.

[09/01/2012] —  It’s Saturday.  The morning started out overcast and the afternoon.. it’s been pounding rain for hours.  I love it though.  Lots of lightning, thunder and the sound of heavy rain continually coming down.  Right now, during the ‘typhoon season’, yah.. it’ll rain midday, that’s no big deal.  But today.. today it’s just coming down to the point where it’s flooding a bit right outside my front porch.  And that’s not so common.  As I may have mentioned before the rain here is warm, and I just love it.  I have the door open with just the screen door so I can see and hear it coming down.  Windows open and the temp in the house is very nice.  Sultry.. yet cool.  And there’s only one thing that could make an afternoon like this even better.  Yep, after a very nice two and a half hour interlude, she just went home about an hour ago.  I’ll be sore tomorrow.  But today.. this warm rain just makes it all perfect.


Author: Reekay

After 49 years living in Southern California, USA, I decided to move to the Philippines despite never having been here before. In July, 2012, I took a leap of faith and transplanted myself to the amazing Philippines. I am a single man taking an honest look at all that the islands here have to offer, one day at a time. I hope you find my LBTSea site informative, entertaining and hopefully a bit of each. 🙂 Be sure to visit the Forum and other parts of what the site has to offer. Browse around and be sure to sign up for updates via email. Enjoy!
— Reekay

6 comments

    1. Yah, they have powdered Nestea here, but no Lipton tea bags at the grocery in the Mall. Unless they’re just out of stock right now. The Japanese one I picked seems to be doing the job though. 🙂

    1. The only way to go. Too much sugar in the powdered stuff. Besides, tea bags are good for hot or ‘Sun Tea’ to chill later. My g/f brought me a box of Lipton the other day, turns out the Japanese stuff I got earlier was really nasty but I had such a bad head-cold I couldn’t taste it until recently. ha!

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