Sunday 31st October:
Usual Sunday activities for us. Man, we actually have a “routine” for Sunday’s. Going to have to watch that we don’t get set in our ways.
Washed and waxed the Thunder Monster before heading into Gasan. Guy off to Mahjong and me back to the Barbarossa to catch-up with the expats for the day.
Usual crowd of expats and usual problems of the world solved. I introduced Eric and Ron to Vegemite. Gave them a little hotel sashay of it as they were interested. Told them to use it sparingly and not like peanut butter. We see how they going to like eating it.
Monday 1st November:
“All Saints Day” public holiday today so all schools, banks and government offices are closed.
We decided to head for Joseph’s Mini-Mart in by Boac for lunch and some Wi-Fi. While Guy was catching up on email I headed into Boac to get a Prepaid Broadband load. And of course the cemetery just happens to be on the way (where everybody goes on All Saints Day to honor the dead). Man it was packed on the road with the police having to direct traffic, well at least they tried to. But made it in and out again.
Back home for a nice cup of tea before heading into the Gasan cemetery at 4:30pm to have a look at the festivities of All Saints Day.
It was quite amazing to see all the people there with their tables, chairs, marquees, candles, flowers and picnic hampers set up in various positions round the cemetery in amongst all the “above ground” plots. They spend the day there with their relatives sharing a meal with them and honoring the dead.
Later in the day the kids go round collecting all the melted candle wax from all the gravesites. They then sell this back to the candle makers for a few Peso’s.
As the sun set all the candles glowing in the night made for a really beautiful setting. Was really hard to capture this in a photograph but I tried.
Tuesday 2nd November:
Off to have a look a two rental properties today just to give us an idea on what is available and what the prices are. Had a look at one in Gasan, which was quite good and another north of Gasan on the main road, which wasn’t for us.
Our cottage is certainly the pick of the bunch so far.
Gasan market day today so stopped in for some supplies. Picked up some Tuna steaks, Chicken and some veggies to get us through the next few days. Had a full load on the Thunder Monster coming home. Surprising how much you can carry on a bike with a backpack and a couple of shoulder bags.
Wednesday 3rd November:
Busy day today. Cherry here for the washing and cleaning day. And John dropped in with a nice freshly cooked, warm loaf of Rye bread that he had just cooked. Some cream cheese (well sort of) with Vegemite and man it slid down very nicely. This is our first loaf of bread since arriving here back on May 4th.
Bread is not a big thing here at all. You can get it at the bakery some times but they usually only have a few loaves. Haven’t tried it and haven’t missed it to be honest.
I headed to the block in the morning, as the weather has cleared, and slashed the jungle re-growth round the whole boundary line and the track in. All in all about 500m of slashing the jungle back to keep those tracks clear. I’m not really winning but I’m not really losing either keeping these tracks open. I’m just managing to keep the jungle back for now.
Then home for lunch and a very lovely one-hour siesta before heading back to continue burning up the piles of debris (vines with thorns), timber, coconut palms, bamboo, etc.) from when the block was first cleared by the boys. Some of this stuff has been chopped for two months and it is still full of water when you squeeze it, which makes it very hard to burn.
I make one big fire in a central location and drag all the smaller piles to the big one. Hard work in the heat and humidity but a great work out and cleans the pores with all the sweat you lose. And of course there is all the mosquitoes, ants, bugs, vines, thorns, caterpillars and other plants that bite, sting, grab & scratch and make you itchy. Getting a little more used to them now. Standing in the smoke of the fire helps to ward off the bugs at least.
I reckon two more days of burning after today and it will all be done, all the piles of debris will be gone. Then time to get the boys back and cut back the re-growth. It will be a lot easier this time round.
And nothing beats coming home to nice long cool shower followed by an even colder Coke on ice to watch the sunset. Then to finish off the day a really good, fresh, home cooked healthy meal of local corn and local Tuna.
Dam this retirement thing is gooooooood.
Thursday 4th November:
Guy is off playing Mahjong at midday with Vicki so Ron and I are off exploring. We headed for Boac first as Ron had to check with the bank that his pension had arrived from the USA. All good so we headed off Santa Cruz way looking for the Tarug Caves turnoff.
First stop before the cave turnoff was at a Canadian friend’s (Ray) house. They have just finished building a house over Mogpog way so it was good to have a look at what they have built. Ray is still in Canada working (he’s a mining engineer) and is due back next month but we caught up with his wife (she’s a local) for a chin wag and a look at the house.
Then off to the Tarug Caves turnoff. Found it and headed up this narrow winding cement road just as the afternoon thunderstorm hit. About 1km in the road turned to dirt and by this time it was flooded so we found a place where we could do a ten-point turn and headed back down the mountain while we could. By this time it was bucketing down.
I will return on the Thunder Monster another day and follow the track and see where it goes and hopefully find the cave.
Back to Barbarossa in Gasan for a coffee and a tea before heading home just as the storm eased.
More corn and chicken in coconut milk with rice for dinner.
Friday 5th November:
Went for a walk down to the “local supermarket” and got some freshly cooked veggies to go with lunch as Eric is coming over.
We went and had a look at the vegetation on our block first and got some advice from Eric on the placement of the house and tree planting to offer some protection to the shore front and house. And a few ideas on letting in some of the sea breeze in the afternoon through the canopy. Had a good look round and Eric had some great ideas on what to plant and where.
Back to the cottage for a nice long leisurely lunch with tea taken in the Nipa Hut as we watched the world go by for a couple of hours or three.
After Eric left the afternoon storm hit about 4:30pm ish so out under the down pipe again for a nice cool refreshing shower and hair wash. Love my “rain showers”. They are very very refreshing and not cold at all. And being the pure water that it is you can get a good soap up going.
Dinner was left overs from lunch plus a nice cold, crunchy cucumber dipped in a mixture of coconut vinegar, sugar and salt. We had a bit of the Rye bread from John left so heated it up a bit in the microwave and had it with the fresh cucumber. Very yummy.
Saturday 6th November:
Slow start today as I am still recovering from this flu thing I have. Just can’t seem to get rid of it. Been checking and no Dengue Fever symptoms so that’s good.
Our bag of Buko arrived this morning from Vicki so the Buko factory commenced production.
- I take away the outside flesh and pierce a hole in the top and drain the juice into the jug.
- I then split the Buko in half with the Bolo (getting better at this now).
- Guy then scrapes out the flesh with the special tool that processes the flesh into stringy stuff.
- Guy then holds the freezer bags while I pour the Buko and flesh in.
- Into the freezer they go ready for drinking when we want it.
We now get a bag of Buko (11 Buko’s) at a time. We then take the juice and flesh from two Buko’s and put it into three freezer bags, which we then freeze. Three bags of Buko will also fill our drinking jug and is just the right amount for one 168ml can of Condensed Milk to sweeten. So out of our bag of eleven Buko we get four frozen jugs and one fresh jug of Buko juice.
The Buko freezes very well and once it is thawed out it gets consumed within a day anyway, so all good.
Guy had a manicure and pedicure (P80 ($2.00 AUS)) at 2:00pm so I headed to Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi catch-up. Met Guy back at Barbarossa after her “appointment” and had a chat to Ron who was there having a coffee.
Home in time for a nice leisurely walk up the beach while watching the sunset followed by a very refreshing Buko juice before dinner.
Life is good.
Trevor & Guy