Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Philippines

If you have been wondering where I have been (judging from the grand total of one e-mail I got over the past week, you haven't). We took a nice little vacation- a vacation of errors, but it still managed to come out fun.

Day One- We left our house at noonish and drove to Narita Airport, where we met out traveling companion. My Mother-in-law. Need I say more? Anyhow, she and our daughter were traveling on JAL (MIL had enough miles for two tickets) and we (wife, sons and I) flew Delta (where we had the miles). I forgot to get my re-entry permit to Japan, and had to get an emergency one. That sucked. And gave me a huge panic attack when the officer first looked at my passport and said- "Where is your permit?" The daughter and M.I.L. arrived earlier and went to our hotel first, and we followed about an hour later. However, we were freaking out about the Manila airport, but for no real reason. All the tourist reports were that it was the most dangerous, conman filled airport in the world. It wasn't that bad. We finally got to our hotel at about 1:00AM.

Day Two- Woke up at sixish to catch the airport shuttle for our flight to Cebu. We had the world's slowest clerk check our bags and process us, then we got on the big bird for the flight. The big, HOT bird. They never came out and said what was wrong with the plane, but after sitting there sweltering at the gate for an hour past our takeoff time, they had us deplane while they fixed something. When we got back on another hour later, the AC was working. Anyone want to guess what was broken? After that, an uneventful flight to Cebu, where the hotel bus met us and whisked us to The Plantation Bay Resort. Wow. Luxury.

Lapu Lapu city scene. Mactan Island, Cebu
Day Three- Snorkeling! All Day! Our guide How was so great! He helped my son get over his fear of the water and discover how much fun snorkeling is. If you go to Cebu, use S2 Club and ask for How. You won't regret it. And give him a good tip. I was in the restroom when the wife and M.I.L. tried to calculate a tip and ended up low by a decimal place. Sorry How! Next time I'll do the tipping.
At night, dinner at Bondai Grill and Seafood, next to the resort. Very good food, very good price (good as in local prices, not resort prices)
Going snorkeling with S2 club
Day Four- Shopping! Unfortunately not at the locals shops, but instead at Gaisano Grand Mall Mactan (wife's choice). Which was pretty cool too. Got mangoes, bananas, and bread. Man, I love mangoes! And so cheap!

Snorkeling Sweet Spot.

Apparently S&M is big in Manila...
Day Five- Back to Manila. Not the most exciting day, we got back to Manila and sent the daughter and Mother in law home to Japan. That was sad and worrisome, but they made it OK. The boys, wife and I went to the Mabuhay Manor. A nice place. They had a good pool, nice rooms, and an excellent buffet! You can choose all sorts of seafood, chicken, or pork, and they will grill it up for you. The catfish was so good! Once we checked in and dumped our bags, we took a taxi to the Mall of Asia. Kind of like the Mall of America, but in Asia.
Ummm.... Buffet.....

Day Six- Back to Japan. Our wakeup call was at 3:30, with a 4:30 shuttle to the airport. Even at 4:30AM Manila streets are full of Jeepneys, taxis, and buses. A very uneventful trip home. That is how I like trips home. Uneventful.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Too Much Good Living

Doesn't look like much, does it? Gout

Ouch. Ever had gout? It will change your life. Some things good, others not so. Well, I guess I will never taste beer again. Or eat most of the foods that I presently like. But that is what got me into this predicament. And it is some real incentive to diet! That is a good thing, right?

And now I get to try hundreds of new healthy foods that I might not have ever eaten had I not gotten a pain like ground glass in the joints of my big toe. That is good too, right?

Anything to avoid a repeat performance of what I went through today.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

24 Hour Hay

I made some hay from yesterday. Man it was easy. Just cut the weeds, spread them on the hot driveway, and load it up 24 hours later.
Of course, this is not a way to make hay for a lot of stock, but if you just want some snacks for your two goats...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Summer's End is Near

Passiflora incarnata, a.k.a. Maypop

Well, it was a great summer. Dry but great. 45 days dry to be more exact. But finally a typhoon hooked over Japan from the sea of Japan side and brought some blessed relief- 24 hours of light drizzle, and the temperature dropped from the high 30s (Celsius of course) to the middle 20s. Whew!

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Sports Day!

Our Daughter's school held it's annual "Sports Day" on Sept. 5th.
What a great day! It was a bit hot, a bit bright, but so much fun!
Relays, tug-o-wars, and just a lot of crazy fun stuff as well that the kids designed. Like the parent's "Love Love Partners" race, where we got to switch husbands and wives, hold their hand, and run around with a balloon between our cheeks. I guess I should have shaved a bit closer, that was a mighty loud pop when the balloon hit my cheek.

Go Team White Hat!

The traditional unicycle show. Every year they do a bunch of stunts. All the students in the school are shown in that picture by the way....

Holy cow, look at that boy run! What form! Too bad the "race" was only 10 meters! It was the "Cute Guests" fun run for the new students for the next few years. Of course, he is going to be the only student entering the first grade next year, where he will study in the same classroom as "The Second Grader." (Note the definitive article- she was the only first grader this year!)

He came back complaining- It was so short, I didn't even feel like I ran!"
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