Day 198 of retirement

Hi All

Sunday 22nd August:

Today is Guy’s Mahjong day and my day with the expats at the Barbarosa (German restaurant) in Gasan. Guy had a small loss today and is still getting used to the different way they play here. Waiting for the big win…….

The expat group today was made up of 2 Pommies, 1 German, 1 Swiss, 1 Yank and 1 Aussie (me). Out of this group there are only two drinkers of alcohol and one smoker. So all in all we are a pretty healthy bunch (for a bunch of old cronies).

For lunch I treated myself to Goulash with mash potato and it was pretty dam good. My one western treat for the week.

Made it back to the cottage before the afternoon storm hit so all good. Bought some sweet corn from a roadside vendor (6 cobs for P20 ($0.50 AUS)) on the way and cooked up 3 of them for dinner. Very sweet and different to ones I’m used to in Aus. Much nicer tasting.

Monday 23rd August:

Off to Buenavista to meet the local Mayor. It is important when moving into a Barangay to meet your local Mayor and Captain (deputy Mayor). If you have any issues these are the people you go to for help as they know everybody and who’s doing what. Had a good chat to the Mayor and we discovered he owns a house right next door to us (doesn’t live there at present but soon) so we are neighbors, so to speak.

Still to meet the Barangay Captain but will do that over the next few days.

Then we went and had a look at two existing houses for sale. They are just the other side of Gasan and one of them is of interest. It belongs to one of Guy’s Mahjong pals. They are looking at going to America to live so have their house on the market. We shall consider this one some more as it is in our price range and is a very nice largish house about 100m from the beach.

Stocked up on food from our local “fast food” lady on the way home. Got enough for 2 days (for the sum of P80 ($2.00 AUS) so all good.

But did get caught in a tropical down pour before we made it back. The trusty cheap poncho’s kept us dry though so all good.

And to top it off we now have a brownout (1:30pm). Currently happening about every two days and they range from a couple of hours to 6-8 hours. Used to it now. We have a gas stove so cooking isn’t an issue. Just need to keep the Nintendo DSi XL and MacBook charged all the time so we can amuse ourselves during these times.

Finished the day with a nice leisurely long walk up the beach and took a few pics.

Tuesday 24th August:

Had a great day today. Meet up with John and Jeff (the pommies) at John’s house, which is at the end of an interesting dirt road (3km long) off the main road. From there we did a hike through the rice paddies to the end of the valley, then up the side to the top, along the ridge and back down a creek to the paddies and home to John’s.

Was all through the jungle and was hot, humid, muddy and dam slippery all the way. We had Nilo (one of John’s workers) come along with his Bolo (machete) as the path up was over grown so he cleared the way.

Was very nice to reach the ridgeline as we then had a breeze and were out of the very humid jungle.

Then back into the jungle as we followed a creek back down. As there was no track we were in the creek with Nilo chopping a path through. We finally emerged in the rice paddies very sweaty, hot, wet and muddy. We were hiking for 2 hours, which was enough as it was starting to heat up by the time we got back to John’s. Finished off by a nice cup of tea on his balcony on the hillside overlooking the bright green rice paddies.

But man it was fun. Thoroughly enjoyed it and ready for more.

Now apparently there is this epic walk that goes across the island (about 30km) through the jungle. A group of expats (including John) trained up to do it a few years ago but only one person (a German guy) ever managed to complete it. It took him 3 days.

So might have to investigate this one a little further. A possible adventure looming…….

And all this time Guy was playing Mahjong in Gasan so a very pleasant day for us both.

Had to pick Guy up at 5:00pm ish so went in Barbarosa (Wi-Fi) early and got myself on Facebook at long last. So now I can see what you all are up to.

And wouldn’t you know it. Home to a brownout and a brilliant lightning show………

Wednesday 25th August:

Uuuggghhhhhh…Brownouts. Power went off at 5:00pm last night and not back on till 5:00am this morning. Then off at 10:00am this morning till 5:00pm this afternoon.

But anyway we survived with fully charged laptop and Nintendo and Petzl head torches. Gas stove cooking and hot water for a tea was in order so all good.

Rest day today. Cherry (washer lady) came and did all the washing even with the brown out. Used water from our emergency barrels and rinsed at the local well pump only 50m away. Just got to get it dry now, as it doesn’t dry too well in the humidity.

Quick trip to the “Supermarket” for some fresh food. We had to feed Cherry and us today so lashed out and spent P80 ($2.00 AUS). Still got some food left for tomorrow. Today we had sweet corn, banana que’s (afternoon tea), assorted veggies cooked in coconut milk and taro leaves and fruit cooked in coconut milk with rice. All very yummy.

Afternoon siesta was then in order before I washed the Thunder Monster. She goes into Gasan for her first service (500km) tomorrow so has to look her best.

Guy enjoyed the afternoon in the Nipa Hut playing her Sudoku. Bit windy here at present and the sea is quite rough. But the upside is that it is a bit cooler and not so humid.

Oohh and now we have screens on all the windows and doors thanks to Norman (the carpenter). So no more bugs (well about 90% less) with everything open to let the breeze flow through. And he has built a second wardrobe for the spare room. All done without any power tools (all hand tools). So now you have room to hang your spare tee shirt when you visit us……

Thursday 26th August:

Into Gasan and dropped the bike off for it’s first service. Then caught a Jeepney into Boac. Had to do some banking stuff and Guy then had a pedicure while I went to the local free Wi-Fi for one of my twice-weekly catch-ups.

Some purchases at the local market of fresh produce and back to Gasan (5 hours later) to pick up the bike.

Well the bike was ready, as nothing had been done to it. You see the mechanic who was supposed to be there was sent off on another job even though mine was booked in. Just the way it is.

Anyway have “booked” in my service on Saturday now. We will text the shop before we go in this time just to be sure the mechanic is going to be there.

Quick trip to the block to check out the Nipa Hut and it’s almost done. Just the netting to go on the roof to hold it together in the wind, clean up the site and it’s ready to “move in”…….

Later lunch of left over’s from yesterday and some Lansones. Man I love these things. We actually bought 2 kilo’s this time round (you can’t always get them) so might last a day if we’re lucky.

Rang Jordan (Guy’s 15 year old son) and wished him a happy birthday. He arrives here in 4 weeks time for a 2-week visit (school holidays in AUS) so Guy is getting excited at seeing him.

Nice 1-hour leisurely stroll up the beach to finish the day followed by some local sweet corn on the cob.

Friday 27th August:

Woke to another brownout. Starting to wonder what’s going on as they are now daily and off for long periods.

On our walk to the “supermarket” this morning for our freshly cooked lunch, all was revealed. The boys are trimming the trees along the power lines just down the road from us so they turn off the power while trimming is in operation (8:00am to 5:00pm). The trimming consists of guys with two bamboo poles tied together with a curved blade on the end. They just basically slice through the branches and letting them fall to the ground. They are cutting through some pretty thick branches with these things so they are very efficient. No chainsaws or cherry pickers here.

Quiet day at home and we finished it off with a walk back into the mountains behind us. The dirt track goes in for about 2km to the last house and then turns into a hiking track that heads up the mountain. Definitely will require some further exploration with a pack, compass, water and rations on another day.

Saturday 28th August:

Have discovered a very weird phenomenon during the brownouts. I can connect to the SMART broadband via GPRS from the cottage and it is okay (dial up speed). Then when the power returns, broadband returns to an EDGE connection which just doesn’t work and times out. The wonders of modern technology on Marinduque.

The Habagat (very strong southerly wind and king tide) is back. Bit of a wild and wooly night last night. Big crash this morning but nothing on our block Was next door and don’t know what it was yet. The up side is that it cools things down a bit. Might have to put a singlet on if this keeps up.

Well the Thunder Monster was booked in for its service at 9:00am. Quick text and the mechanic won’t be in till 1:00pm (he comes from Boac 15km up the road). So at 1:00pm we went in to Gasan anyway as we had some supplies to get.

When we arrived no mechanic. He was “stuck” in Boac. So now booked in for Tuesday morning at 9:00am. Milton (the boss) assures us that it will happen on Tuesday. We shall see…. To all the Sydney Ducati folk. And you thought you had problems with Fraser’s……..

Back home and made our first batch of homemade Buko (coconut) juice drink. Yolanda and the boys are harvesting the coconuts at the cottage so we grabbed a few.

To make the Buko Juice you:

  • Cut into the coconut eye, through the husk, and drain the juice of 2 coconuts into a jug.
  • Split the coconuts open and you cut out the soft white flesh with a special little tool that shreds the flesh into stringy bits and add to the juice.
  • Add one small can (168ml) of condensed milk to the mix and stir.
  • Chill and drink / eat the mixture of juice and stringy flesh.
  • Really really really dam good in the hot humid conditions.

Walk down the windy beach to finish off the day with some fresh sweet corn for dinner.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

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