August 27, 2006

Philippines lessons

As I said a couple of posts (and over a month) back, we took a trip to the Philippines for two weeks around the end of July/beginning of August. We travelled with my sister-in-law (Becky's brother's wife) who was born there and lived there until she was 12. We stayed with family and were thoroughly spoiled. We flew from San Francisco to Manila, stayed in Capas in the province of Tarlac, took a brief trip to the island of Boracay by way of Panay, and took a road trip to Pagudpud.

The attentive will have noticed that I got some pictures from the trip up on flickr a couple days ago. It's easiest to look at them from this album which has them in somewhat chronological order. There's some commentary there too.

I wrote a journal during the trip, but I don't think it'd be very interesting to just transcribe it here, so instead, here are 46 things we learned or had affirmed by our foray to the tropics. I could probably write a whole post about any one of these, so if any of them particularly pique your interest, drop me some email (commenting is still down, sorry) and I'll expand. Items are listed roughly in the order they occurred to me while I was reviewing my trip journal.

Your regularly scheduled gloves and cats will return soon.

  1. My new Fisher Space Pen makes me happy
  2. I can survive two weeks without computers
  3. Computers and their attendant systems are ridiculously complicated to use and maintain
  4. My five-year-old niece can be entertained for 10-40 minutes by a Willy Wonka "go fish" card game
  5. Probably would have been better to leave our camera clocks set to Pacific time
  6. Becky is really good at conversing with strangers
  7. Bathroom attendants are more annoying than helpful
  8. Toilet seats are optional
  9. Customs and Immigration aren't worried about us
  10. Having a professional driver to cart you around the Philippines is good
  11. Transportation primarily by car is not universal or optimal
  12. Freight movement primarily by truck is not universal or optimal
  13. Three wheels is good
  14. Chow King is good
  15. Just because you don't see slums doesn't mean there aren't any
  16. Just because someone lives in a slum doesn't mean they don't have clean clothes, a job, electricity, and happiness
  17. Torn plastic bags are the least reclaimable, most insidious component of the waste stream
  18. Rice is still farmed by people with wet feet
  19. The broom is an excellent piece of technology
  20. If your camera's battery charger is electrically omnivorous (like mine is), you don't need to schlep a heavy power transformer halfway around the world to power it (like I did)
  21. Proper plug adapters are good
  22. A fork and a table spoon are sufficient eating cutlery
  23. Covered outdoor living space is good
  24. A sufficient supply of known-safe drinking water makes me happy and should not be taken for granted
  25. Getting up early suits life in the tropics
  26. Jet lag allows night owls to fake being morning people
  27. Ocean beaches with water temperatures above 80 degrees F make me happy
  28. If you're already soaking wet it doesn't matter that it's raining
  29. Having the beach to yourself because it's the off season is good
  30. Having to say "no, thank you" every 20 feet as you walk down the beach because you're the only tourist on the beach to be solicited for boat rides and jewelry and fresh fruit and other things kind of sucks
  31. Sunscreen is good
  32. Unrefrigerated food isn't as deadly as you're led to believe
  33. Never underestimate the drive of a family to feed their guests in grand style
  34. Animals have parts you'd never suspect from eating mainstream American meat
  35. Videoke is kind of cool
  36. A 95% Catholic country can still support lots of other kinds of churches
  37. The US attitude toward pets is not universal
  38. The good electric fans are in the tropics
  39. Humans are fractally diverse
  40. People pictures don't really happen if I'm behind the camera
  41. Car travel is not conducive to photography
  42. In the city, it's easier to forget you're in a "foreign" country
  43. Six-foot-two-inch white guys with long hair and beards have no hope of blending in
  44. Six-foot-two-inch white guys with long hair and beards are sometimes mistaken for Jesus Christ
  45. Also John Lennon
  46. The thing about the sunscreen? Not kidding.
Posted by jeffy at 09:42 PM in Travelogue | Comments (0)