Travelchick

My adventures and mis-adventures as I travel here and there

Observations in the Philippines

Food:

In addition to strange dishes that I’ve never tasted before (like the seaweed on Sabbath), the different fruits are just overwhelming. So far we’ve had at least one or two new kinds of fruit at every meal. And most of these are fruits that I’ve never heard of before and most of us don’t know that names of. We’ve had Jack fruit and mangosteen, bananas and papaya, passion fruit and guava, pineapple and durian. Plus tons more new ones that I can’t name. I’ve tried every single new thing and I honestly have to say that there isn’t anything so far that I really don’t like. There are some that I couldn’t eat a lot of at one time, like the fruit that’s white and squishy like a banana, but is sweeter, filled with seeds, and encased by a knobby shell that comes off in small sections. My favorites so far are (in this order) passion fruit, mango, mangosteen, and Jack fruit. My sorrow is that I can’t bring everyone fruit as the perfect souvenir.

Being stared at:

We, especially I, look so different from the people here that we get stared at a lot wherever we go. When we went to the mall, I think the people we were with got a little weirded out by it, but I just kind of ignored it. I mean, I’d stare at someone strange, too! Besides, it’s a friendly stare. They just want to shake your hand and meet you. Tonight at the meeting two little boys, ages 9 and 10, developed a huge infatuation with me. They alternately dogged my footsteps and fought each other. That hasn’t happened since I was ten.

The kids:

Wow. They are so attentive here. And friendly. Sunday night when we did a little skit for them during the meeting, they sat in a perfect semi-circle and every little face was glued to ours in rapt attention. Some say it’s just because we are foreigners, but in Poland I was a foreigner and those kids were real brats sometimes!

They all look small for their age. Most of them are skinny and lots of them are dirty. They have crazy little names like Lin-Lin, Mi-Mi, and Ep-Ep, and then normal ones too like Julius and Carlos.

They all want us to write down all kinds of information about ourselves. They always ask our age and if we’re married. They’re all so happy. I guess that’s the biggest thing I notice about them. They have nothing and they’re so happy. They can play with sticks and have so much fun. People here work hard but they also really enjoy life.

No electricity:

Well, today I survived an 8-hour “brown out”. It was really hot and for awhile there was no breeze and I thought I was going to die. Until today I thought I was acclimating really well because in the meetings at night the guys think it’s hot and I’m almost chilly. I ended up taking a shower to cool down. The women here wash our clothes for us and they do it by hand, too. I decided today to do some of mine myself in the shower, just because I had the time and because it felt good to stay wet. That’s hard work. I saw how they do it and took a short video. I almost feel too guilty to let them wash my clothes like that, but I’m sure I’ll break sooner or later. I am a lazy American, after all.

Sabbath, August 18, 2007

I was so tired last night that I went to bed before 8. And that’s after forcing myself to stay up as long as possible. I slept a grateful sleep until being woken up around 5:30 this morning by a rooster crowing outside my window. I just went back to sleep.

Church:

It was a partially open-air affair. The doors are metal gates that they can lock. I guess they never have to close up because it doesn’t freeze or anything. The temperature was quite comfortable because they had ceiling fans going, whereas the benches were not. Hard wood and my rear do not get along. Thankfully I had an extra sarong in my purse that I used as a cushion, but it still hurt. The people were all super happy to see us and introduced us from up front with pride. At least three pieces of paper were passed to us during the service for us to write our names on. Two girls sat at the end of my pew and gazed at me, giggling whenever I looked over at them. I think my blond hair is super fascinating. After the service, while all the members went through a hot potluck line under a small shade, we were all ushered into an air conditioned room and presented with what can be described as nothing other than a feast. Two large tables were covered with about twenty dishes each of traditional Philippino dishes, some meat, some vegetarian. When I saw what they had done for us I felt extremely unworthy. That feeling was soon replaced with a feeling of incapability as we were expected to sit around the table and consume it all. That was physically impossible, but I ate as much as I could. I had seaweed, eggplant that tasted nothing like it, excellent gluten, something really bitter, and the most flavorful, colorful bananas I’ve ever dreamed of!

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August 20, 2007 - Posted by | Philippines | , , , , ,

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