Day 408 of retirement

March 27, 2011

Hi All

Sunday 20th March:

Big sleep in this morning. I was up round 11:00am and Guy arose at midday. Actually wore jeans today for the first time in a very long long time. Don’t like this cooool weather. Tropical warmth for us please.

After showers we headed for the mall for lunch. I dropped Jo off at her work (worked from 2:00pm to 6:00pm) and joined Guy and Jordan at Rebel Sports where we got soccer shoes, shin pads, socks and shirt for him.

Back home and chilled while waiting for Dave (got home at 4:30pm after work) and Jo at 6:00pm.

Nice dinner of spaghetti and relaxed with the kids.

Monday 21st March:

I arose at 5:30am to watch the first round of the MotoGP and was rewarded with a win from Casey Stoner on his first ride for Honda. Great race and a little disappointed to see the Ducati’s down the order.

Had a shower after that race then woke up and the house cold. At 8:00am off to breakfast we all went. After breakfast Dave was off to work and we dropped Jo back home and we hit the road by 9:00am.

Had a good run till we hit the outskirts of Sydney and we ground to a halt. Had almost forgotten what Sydney traffic is like. Made our way to Dee Why where I had stored my climbing / hiking gear in Jo’s garage (she has a flat she rents out there). I retrieved my hiking poles, a small tool kit (for the Thunder Monster) and a couple of photographic filters I was after.

Then off to Dee Why mall for a late lunch. Back to Forest Way mall as Jordan needed a haircut. All sorted and we dropped Jordan’s bags and gears off at his dad’s home then dropped him off at his friend’s house (Ben).

We drove just down the road to Checkers accommodation on Mona Vale road where we are staying for three days while we visit friends and complete our paper work. Guy headed out for dinner with Boots and I stayed in. Pretty tired after the Canberra drive and I am driving to Newcastle tomorrow, to see my old work colleagues, so an early night in order.

Tuesday 22nd March:

Up and I’m off to Newcastle (2-hour drive each way) to see my old work colleagues and I drop off Guy at her old work place in Waitara, Sydney.

We both had a great day catching up with old friends over a cup of tea and lunch.

We both agree that after this visit we have absolutely no second thoughts about retiring when we did.

I pick Guy up at 5:00pm and we headed back to the motel briefly before going to Kim and Ben’s place for dinner. Kim (female Kim) is a very dear friend and was my best “Man” at my wedding with Guy.

An interesting night with their two gorgeous twin 2.6 year old girls and Kyle who is about to turn 12. The girls weren’t having a good night and it did bring back some distant memories of when Guy (Jordan & Jo) and I (Jason & Rik (twins)) had our kids. But a fantastic night was had by all.

Ben has been looking after 3 of my mountain bikes and I paid them one last visit as the decision has been made to sell the bikes. Ben will take the 29er and he will dispose of the others for me. They are just sitting there and I would rather they go to a good home than just sit there and deteriorate. Another chapter in my life closes.

Plus Kim broke her wrist on the weekend at a mountain bike race so lets just say that her grip wasn’t what it should have been on the pot (hey Kim say no more)……..

Wednesday 23rd March:

Off to do our tax this morning for our final year of work. A very pleasant large refund surprise for us both once completed. Guy also finalized her last investment here in AUS which helped the refund. Our refunds have been allocated to the “travel fund” and we are looking at maybe a Europe trip next year. Ooohhh and a new camera for me (Fuji X100) which of course I NEED for the trip.

Had a good chat to our very helpful taxman and he informed us of what is required for us being residents in a foreign country. As it turns out because we are no longer Australian residents we have to pay tax on our annual interest from all bank accounts. This is taxed at a flat rate of 10% from the first dollar and all we need to do is notify our banks accordingly and they withhold it automatically. If we’re still residents we would come under the standard tax laws where we wouldn’t pay any tax till we reached the standard threshold.

The tax office just wants to squeeze that last little bit of tax out of any savings you have even if you leave the country. My Superannuation isn’t effected by any of this (I pay no tax on my super now), thank goodness.

Off to lunch with Ben and Kelly, two very dear friends. Had a great lunch at “Made in Italy” sitting on milk crates eating pizza in an alleyway in Sydney city.

Dinner was with a great group of my outdoors friends in Crows Nest at the Mustang Restaurant (Nepalese). Had a fantastic night catching up one and all and the food was pretty dam good as well.

Thursday 24th March:

Up and checked out of the hotel by 8:30am. Off to Jordan’s school to pay his 2011 school fees and get a copy of last year’s report card (will be ready tomorrow morning). Once all sorted we headed for Karen and Noel’s place where we are staying for the last two days.

Dropped all our gear off and I then dropped Guy off at Dee Why where she was catching up with the girls for lunch.

I drove into the city and caught up with Kim (from Tuesday night) for a Laksa lunch. Had a great lunch and chat to her before going back to Dee Why and picking up Guy. Back to Karen and Noel’s where Guy had organized a Mahjong game with pizza for dinner with the old Tuesday night gang.

I headed across town to catch up with the Ducati boys and gal. These are the great group who I used to ride with when I owned my beloved Ducati S4RT Monster. We had 15 Ducati monster bikes turn up with a few more of the gang arriving in cars. I got my Ducati fix for a while looking at all the customized bikes and had a great chat to all.

Friday 25th March:

Up and off to drop Guy at Paddys Market in the city and I continued on to Mascot (by the airport) to visit my old office and work colleagues.

Had a great chat and lunch and even managed to provide Alan (who took over my old patch of account management) with some old work history on one of his customers. The old long term memory is still there for an old guy…….

On the way back to Karen and Noel’s I swung past the city and picked up Guy who had bought up some aussie souvenirs for the folks back in the Philippines. Battled the afternoon traffic out of the city and will be glad to leave it all behind.

Managed to have a little siesta before we headed to Terry Hills Tavern for a catch up with the parents of Jordan’s best mates’ parents and his girl friend’s parent. Karen organized it and it was a great night to catch up with old and new friends. I was the designated driver so we all pilled into the “shuttle bus” (our hire van) for the trip there and back. I did enjoy a few Cokes with lemon though.

Back from the Tavern and packed for the journey home. Our bags were right on the 46kg weight limit allowance as we had some stuff we gathered in AUS and also 11kg of baby cloths thanks to Doug & Bec and Kim & Ben. We are going to give the baby cloths away to some families we know on the island that are having babies.

Will do the final bits and pieces in the morning and the final weigh in.

Saturday 26th March:

Final pack and weigh in. As luck would have it we were 1kg under the max limit so all good. Headed for the Sydney airport and I dropped Guy off at departures area with all the luggage and I then delivered the hire van back to Thrifty. Was a great van and served us well with ferrying everybody round.

Plane was on time and we left good old Australia at 1:30pm. Felt good to be going home after our very hectic few weeks. Arrived in Manila at 6:30pm local time after an 8-hour flight.

The flight was a bit bumpy at times. And I did feel rather ill in the last hour and of course it was a little bumpy, as we landed, which didn’t help. Man was I glad to get down on the tarmac.

Off the plane and Ed (Guy’s senior police friend) was waiting for us. Straight through immigration (where I received my 12-month Visa) and customs and meet up with Beth (Guy’s sister) who once again was parked in the 2-minute parking zone while waiting for us, courtesy of Ed.

In appreciation of Ed’s help we presented him with a pair of Levis 511 Cord Jeans, which he loves.

Home to Beth’s for a quick cup of tea and off to bed as we are bushed. And for the first time in two weeks we have no appointments tomorrow. Wwwoooo hhhooo we can sleep in…..

Oohhhhh and we have finally become bogan travellers. We travelled with a zip up blue, red and white-striped polly $2.00 bag. We had all the baby cloths in it. Never thought I would do it but hey they work a treat.

And just to finish off the trip I have a nice dose of the flu, which I have brought back especially from AUS. Back to the island Tuesday for some recuperation.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 401 of retirement

March 20, 2011

Hi All

Sunday 13th March:

Off into the city this morning to get Guy’s AUS mobile sorted. Got a Vodafone pre-paid SIM and wanted the 365 day plan. All paid up and when we got home discovered that the girl had mistakenly made it a Flexible plan. So registered on the web but no go in changing the plan.

Rang the Vodafone help line (Indian speaking lady) and she was actually very helpful. Ten minutes later she had changed it all over to the correct plan and also transferred the full amount of the recharge as Guy had made some calls already.

A plus for Vodafone on this occasion.

Also picked up a few things for us like a “good” can opener, a potato masher, a vegetable peeler and a good knife sharpener (I already had one for many years but wanted another one for a backup so bought two).

On the way back to Sandy’s dropped into the supermarket to get a few more things and some lovely gourmet sausages for a Barbie at Doug & Bec’s. Over to their place at 5:00pm for a very lovely evening with Doug & Bec, Ray & Trish, Wink, Cath and four kids all under four. A great time was had by all.

Monday 14th March:

Public Holiday in SA today but not in the other states so we spent the morning on the phone doing business in NSW. We were calling businesses to sort out bank stuff, income tax, hire car, accommodation and the Philippine Embassy.

The best news all day was with the call to the Embassy (in Sydney) where we were informed that our marriage certificate has been certified and once we pay $45.00 AUS we get our letter of certification and I can then get my Filipino residency.

First thing tomorrow morning we will Express Mail a postal order to them and they will process the certification and deliver it to a friend in Sydney (Boots) ready for us to pickup next week. Then when we are back in Manila I can get the final paper work underway and hopefully within the next two months I will be a resident of the Philippines which will make things much easier for me living there.

Headed for my brother’s (Craig & Rae & Jessa & Jarod) place up in the hills dropping Sandy and Brian off at the WOMAD music festival in the city on the way. Had an afternoon with them where I retrieved a backup disk I had left with Craig back in May last year. Formatted it and carried out a fresh full backup of the MacPro and I will leave it here with Craig once again. Just to be sure to be sure.

Quiet evening enjoying some of Brian’s nice fast stable Wi-Fi.

Tuesday 15th March:

Up and into the city to get our money order and Express Post organized for the Philippines Embassy in Sydney so that our certification will be ready for us next week.

All done and off to my Superannuation Fund for a chat to see about accessing my funds. Very lovely lady helped us and as I am now 55 my funds are un-preserved and can access 75% of them now tax-free and the remaining 25% after I turn 60 years old.

I can get access to my funds via a monthly pension or just take out lump sums as required. The only stipulation is that it has to go into an aussie bank account, which isn’t an issue at all for me.

The lump sums require a little paper work that has to be hard copies so I will need to complete it and courier it to the fund as required. That too isn’t an issue even if it does take a few weeks. But hopefully we won’t need to access these funds for quite a few years yet.

Had a very nice Laksa lunch (not as good as Sydney, Kim) and a bit more of a wander to round up the last of our goodies (tin punch, tin opener (yes another one as we got one on Sunday), knife sharpener, travel bag thingie + packing tape, MacPac shorts (for me), zip ties, etc. Only one more to go (Tea Tree Antiseptic Lotion) but will probably get that in Sydney.

Back for an afternoon siesta. Well for Guy anyway as I had to endure Qantas Frequent Flyer as I needed to book a return trip to AUS using points, as it is required as I am not a Filipino resident yet. What a saga. I had to purchase 500 more points and then go back to bookings. Three phone calls later and after explaining why I only want a one-way ticket, it was sorted.

You can’t book a one-way ticket on the web using FF point from Manila to Sydney without paying the taxes in Manila in person. Anyway the lady was able to link the flight to my existing ticket going back to Manila so this avoided all the crap I would have had to go through. AAaggghhhh…. What happened to the simple life….

Had a great dinner with Deb (my cousin) and Pam at a Nepalese Restaurant at Glenelg. They are going to be visiting us in May on Marinduque so was great to catch up and have a chat about travel plans before they arrive.

Wednesday 16th March:

Bit of a sleep in this morning after our hectic week so far……..

Did a load of washing as this will now get us through till our return back home to Marinduque. Then a pleasant drive to Port Willunga to Sandy and Brian’s beach house (5 minute walk to the beach).

Pulled out my old printer we left there and printed off all our plane tickets to Sydney and then Manila, our tax stuff ready for Wednesday next week and some other change of name forms for banks for Guy.

We had a quick look at a bag of stuff we left here 12 months ago and grabbed a few tee shirts. Left the rest of the stuff there as it is winter stuff and will never be needed in the Philippines. But will be used should we ever come back to AUS in the wintertime.

On the way home, after a drive by off the beach, we stopped at Seaford shopping centre and had a late lunch at this very nice little café that we have eaten at before. The food was still grand.

We had dinner with Scotty (and old work friend from Adelaide). I had the good old lamb shanks and with mash and they were dam good. Melted in your mouth. Guy had the Atlantic salmon which was equally delicious.

Thursday 17th March:

Paper work and more paper work this morning. Getting there and will have everything done by the time we leave next week (touch wood). Into the city and got our Medicare all sorted for the next five years. It is our back up plan just in case we get really sick and have to come back to AUS for treatment.

Guy pickup some transfer forms for her Superannuation and has a further discussion with her existing fund tomorrow before she decided what she will do with her fund.

Off to the T-Bar tea house in Rundle Mall for a very nice Chai and Orange & almond cake with real whipped cream. Yuuuuummmm.

Caught up with Jason, Mike, Rik, Sandy and Brian for pizza dinner, which was very nice indeed. On the way home dropped in to see my Mum and say our goodbye’s as we fly out early tomorrow morning.

All packed up ready to go in the morning.

Friday 18th March:

Up at 6:30am and off to the Adelaide airport for our 9:00am flight to Sydney. Left on time but had to hold over Sydney (due to traffic we were told) which made us half an hour late getting in.

Over to Thrifty to get our small hire car (which we had booked) and none available immediately so looked like another delay. But the very nice man had an 8-seater van, which he could give to us as a complimentary upgrade so we took it. Much nicer to drive round and as we were off to Canberra for the weekend with Jordan, lots of room as well.

Pick up Jordan (Guy’s son) and took him to the orthodontist for a session on his teeth. While he was at the ortho, Guy got her Australian driver’s license renewed (as it had expired) for the next 5 years and had her named changed and address changed. I also had my address changed so we both now reside at Boots place in Sydney. The very helpful RTA man also told me how to get my license renewed from overseas when it expires in 18 months time.

We want to hang onto our Medicare card and Drivers Licenses, as these will make it much easier in the future should we ever have to come back for any reason. Just a bit of a safety net for us.

Then off to Canberra and the traffic going out of Sydney was bloody awful. Our 3-hour trip took 4-hours so not too bad I guess. Arrived at Jo (Guy’s daughter) and Dave’s (her partner) house in Canberra at 7:00pm just a little tired and weary.

Jo cooked up some Adobo chicken so we felt right at home. Guy also gave pretty much all her furniture to Jo when we left AUS 12 months ago so we were re-united with a lot of our “old” possessions. Was a little weird seeing them all again but they have gone to a great home so all good.

Saturday 19th March:

Bit of a sleep in and then off to McDonalds for lunch at the kids request. I had the Angus Burger and I must say that it is the best McDonalds burger I have ever had. Still not that great but bearable.

Then off to Target so Guy could get her Zumba dance DVD kit (look out Marinduque). On the way home we headed up Mount Ainslie for a sweeping view over Canberra. It is a beautiful place nestled in the valley around the lake.

Home for a cup of tea and then packed up some picnic food and at 4:30pm headed for a park by the lake for the Sky show, which has a grand finale of this great fireworks show all set to music. The fireworks are set up on 11 barges out on the lake. The show consists of the good old sky burst shells as well as a display of fireworks that are let off on the barges. Will post pics in the next blog and you will see what I mean.

We snared a great spot on the hillside only a few hundred metres from the stage and the lakes edge so had a fantastic view of the whole show.

The pre darkness show consisted of an okay band, a FA18 Hornet doing tricks over the lake (impressive), skydivers and the local rescue helicopter fly by doing circles.

At 7:30pm Jessica Mauboy put on a stage show for half an hour. Was okay. Then at 8:30pm the fireworks show commenced and lasted for 20 minutes. Really great show from the 11 barges of fireworks on the lake and all set to music. Must say it is the best fireworks show I have ever seen (even beats new years eve on Sydney harbour).

Guy and I are certainly not accustomed to the cool weather after Marinduque. Tonight for the Sky show we had to borrow some warn jackets, as it was cooool. Looking forward to getting back home (Marinduque) and some warm weather again.

Life is very good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 394 of retirement

March 13, 2011

Hi All

Sunday 6th March 2011:

Bit of a sleep in and then proceeded to layout our stuff for the trip to AUS. Into Barbarossa at 11:00am for some Broadband (which was painfully slow today) before Guy headed off to Mahjong at Midday and I remained to catch up with the expat gang. Nine souls there today so quite a nice crowd with interesting conversation.

Home at 3:30pm and a final cleanup round the house and check the stuff for packing. Yolanda was here again with her family and she graciously gave us some spaghetti bolognaise for dinner so saved us scrounging something up.

Thunder Monster placed inside the cottage and tucked away for the next four weeks.

Monday 7th March:

Up at 5:00am ready for the trip back to Manila. Ron picked us up at 6:00am and dropped us off at Balanacan port at 7:00am. The Ro-Ro left at 8:00am and we arrived at Lucena at 10:30pm. Straight onto the JAC Liner (Bus) and off to Manila we go. A half-hour stop for lunch at the truck stop dinner and we hit Beth’s place at 3:00pm after a leisurely 10-hour trip.

A good trip with the sea being glassy calm and on the bus we beat the afternoon rush hour start. Even managed to get a little sleep on the Ro-Ro and bus, as I didn’t sleep well last night waiting for the alarm to go off at all hours of the night.

Dropped our gear at Beth’s and headed straight for the Mall to get Guy’s new phone and SIM card sorted out. The GLOBE people were great and we managed to get Guy’s old SIM card cancelled and her existing number transferred to a new SIM card along with her old balance. Only took an hour and P50 ($1.25 AUS) for the replacement SIM card.

Then off to the shops and managed to get the updated version of her old phone (Nokia 1280) for P899 ($22.00 AUS) in a pretty blue. The best part is she was able to retain her old number, which saves all the hassle of notifying every man and his dog of a new number. The downer is that she has to re-enter all her numbers again.

And for once me being annally retentive (as I have been known to be) was a bonus as I always record all the S/N: numbers etc., of phones and SIM cards and was able to provide GLOBE with exactly what they needed to facilitate the smooth SIM card & number transition.

Also got the Nintendo DSi XL R4i card replaced. This is a module that allows you to play “downloaded” games (non original Nintendo stuff……). Well I had an old one that worked but when I updated the DSi XL firmware (about 4 weeks ago on the island) it locked out the old card.

A very nice lady in an I-Tech shop tested my Mini SDHC card (with all the games on it) and plugged it into the new R4i module and got it all working for me. She also replaced the screen protector as it was well worn and all for P1,050 ($26.25 AUS). Great service.

Must say the new R4i is much quicker to load the games and it has improved some of the graphics of the games as well.

By this time we both were starting to feel a little weary so Guy had a Zagu and I had a Chai Latte while enjoying some free Wi-Fi. Shakeys Pizza for dinner and back to Beth’s place to crash.

Tuesday 8th March:

We both crashed last night and had a great sleep after the travel day.

First thing this morning it was a Trike ride off to the National Telecommunications Commission branch to get Guy’s old phone disabled. Once again I had saved the old box and all the paper work when we bought it so 15 minutes later the phone was being disabled. A quick and easy process especially when you have all the paper work.

Then a Trike ride to the MRT (Light rail) station and at the end of the line a cab ride to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which is across the other side of town, to check up on my Philippine residency status approval. The paper work (marriage certificate approval is all this is required) has been sent to the Philippine Embassy in Sydney and they confirmed it is there being processed.

So we shall pay them a visit when we are in Sydney to see if we can get it approved and bring it back with us just to speed up the process a bit.

From DFA it was a cab ride to Greenhills Mall for a few last minute goodies and lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant in Manila the Banana Leaf. We had the Malayan Chicken curry with potatoes and steamed rice with Pandan Iced Tea. Yum….

For desert we wandered up the road to the Coffee Bean & Tea House for the best Chai Latte and Pistachio cake in Manila. Love Greenhills Mall for the bargain shopping and great food eateries.

Home at 2:30pm and siesta time. We finished up snoozing for a couple of hours, which was great. Guy’s mum cooked some fish for dinner and also warmed up some of her great Pork Sinigang from last night.

Wednesday 9th March:

Leisurely morning as we were waiting for a call from Ingrid (German lady we met on Marinduque) who was flying in and staying in Manila for a few days before leaving for Hamburg, Germany.

Heard from Ingrid at 11:30am so after a Trike, LRT and Jeepney ride we arrived at her hotel in Ermita which is in the old part of Manila. Short walk down the road to a Mall where we found this great little Thai Restaurant for lunch. After a nice slow lunch we wandered round the mall for a bit before saying our goodbyes to Ingrid.

Guy and I did a little more wandering and found a Coffee Bean place for a Chai Latte for desert.

As it was getting quite hot and humid we caught a cab back home, which only turned out to be P150 ($3.75 AUS) for the hour-long trip from the other side of town. It was quite amusing, as each time we stopped at the traffic lights the taxi driver would fall asleep. When the lights turned green (they have long light cycles here) we would bang the back of the seat and off he would go. At least he managed to stay awake while driving and we arrive safely.

We dropped into a motorcycle dealer just round the corner from Beth’s as I am trying to track down some oil filter O rings for the Thunder Monster. Nobody on the island has them (but they do have the oil filters) and they look at me blankly when I ask them to order me some.

Anyway the lady was able to tell us where to go to get the parts here in Manila so when we come back from Australia we shall pay this place a visit and I shall get many spares (O rings, oil & fuel filters, drain plug crush washers).

Back to Beth’s place for a quick siesta before dinner cooked by Guy’s mum.

Thursday 10th March:

Up early ish as I couldn’t sleep as we leave for AUS this afternoon so just a little excited. Had breakfast and then laid out our stuff for packing. Packed it up and it all actually fitted into our bags. Then again we really don’t need much for a couple of weeks.

Off to the mall for lunch and get some last minute things that Jo (Guy’s daughter) wanted which are considerably cheaper here than in AUS.

Also caught up with one for Guy’s aussie friends (Boots) sister who has some stuff for us to take back to Boots in Sydney.

Left for the airport in plenty of time to beat the afternoon rush hour. Arrived at about 3:30pm some 5 hours before our departure (8:30pm departure). And in a huge contrast to our taxi ride yesterday (the driver kept falling asleep), today we had a budding F1 driver. Must say this is the fastest trip to the airport we have had.

Only had to wait till 5:00pm and checkin opened. Smooth passage through checkin and immigration and more waiting for our departure.

Friday 11th March:

On the plane all night and had a bit of a bumpy section for an hour or so as we crossed the equator. Did manage to get a little sleep. Arrived in Sydney at 7:30am and cleared customs, even with all our goodies we have brought back.

Made our way to the transfer desk and were pleasantly surprised to have the lovely Qantas lady get us on an earlier flight to Adelaide. We were scheduled to leave at 11:00am but she got us on the 9:45am flight. As we were starting to feel a little bushed, any less time in another airport terminal was a bonus.

My sister Sandy and hubby Brian picked us up and had a feast waiting for us at their place made up of cheese, cheese and more cheese. Ooohhh there was also some pepperoni, tomatoes, cucumber and other yummy stuff.

Off to see my mum and we had a coffee / tea with her at the retirement home she is residing in (My Dad died some years ago). Felt a little weird driving a car in traffic on the “wrong” side of the road.

In the evening we dropped Sandy and Brian off in the city at the WOMAD music festival and went looking for our steak dinner. Took a while as the first two places we went were packed out. We finished up on the Parade (Adelaide people will know the place) and had the best steak meal. Very filling but ooohhh so good.

Back to Sandy’s and watched the earthquake news on Japan and the possible Tsunami that may hit the Philippines. Marinduque should be fine regardless as it is protected by the mainland.

Our thoughts are with all the victims of the earthquake and Tsunami.

Saturday 12th March:

Man we both crashed last night and didn’t wake till 9:30am ish. Had a goooood sleep. We had plans to go into the city but by the time we got up and chatted to Sandy and Brian it was time to go pick up my boys (Rik and Jason) and Mike (Jason’s partner) for a family gathering at Sandy and Brian’s house at 1:00pm.

Got back and the clan consisted of Guy & I, Jas & Rik & Mike, Craig (brother) with his kids Jessa and Jarrod, Sandy & Brian, Simon (Sandy & Brian’s son) and Eliza (Simon’s partner) and my Mum.

Had a fantastic afternoon catching up and just chilling out. Craig took my Mum home at 5:00pm ish with Sandy & Brian heading into the city for a night at the WOMAD music festival. The boys and Guy & I hung out till 7:30pm ish and we then ran them all home to their respective residences.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 387 of retirement

March 6, 2011

Hi All

Sunday 27th February 2011:

The brownouts have settled down now and we have had power for a few days straight now. Ooohhhhh well till the next brownout.

Sunday morning so the Thunder Monster got a good wipe down as no rain this week so she’s still quite shiny. Quick check over as well just to make sure no loose nuts or bolts.

Midday I dropped Guy off at the office (another win) and I headed to Barbarossa for the expat gathering. Small group today (6 in all) but none the less an interesting conversation was had by all.

Back home for a nice quiet Sunday evening.

Monday 28th February:

Up at 5:00am and off to Gerald’s at 6:00am for our Monday morning hike. Guy came along and walked from Gerald’s place to the market in Gasan (11km walk), bought some supplies and caught the Jeepney home. She is becoming quite the walker.

Gerald and I caught a Jeepney to Buenavista then walked back into the boondocks heading east on a “fire trail”. At a Tee intersection we went straight ahead (in a past walk we went left down to the main road) past an Elementary School in Bagacay to the road’s end.

We decided to follow the local trails along the ridgeline in a northerly direction with the aim to hit the main road some 3-4km away. With a few checks on the map and a couple of compass bearings we were heading in the right direction but then veered west. Lots of local tracks going in all directions so the compass came in handy keeping us on the correct heading.

We came upon a local house after dropping off the ridgeline and this very lovely old lady pointed us in the ridge direction to get back to the road. We popped out the hills back onto the road we had walked up on, so not quite where we were aiming for but still a fantastic walk (12km long & 3h 30m hiking time & 500m climbing in the heat & humidity) with our little off road section.

Walked back to Buenavista and caught a Jeepney back to Gerald’s for iced tea then a nice hot cup of tea.

Home for a refreshing cool shower and a very nice lunch of Pork stuffed cabbage rolls freshly cooked by Guy. After a nice hot cup of tea to wash it all down a siesta was definitely in order.

Leisurely afternoon (after both our big walks) while watching the 3:00pm afternoon movie “Beyond Borders” with a very young Angelina Jollie.

Tuesday 1st March:

We had a bit of excitement here on Sunday. A local criminal (drug related) escaped from the cells at the Gasan police station and made his way through the streets of Gasan. Finding an open house he took the lady occupant hostage with a knife. Others in the house managed to escape. She was held for about some hours and received some minor injuries (from the knife) during this time.

The siege was brought to and end when the police shot the guy dead. Lots of wild stories going round about the whole incident but this is the basic info I have been able to deduced.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday with Vicki so I decided to head for Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi as I have a few things I wanted to research on the web. Arrived at 12:30pm and over the next three hours it poured complete with thunder and lightning. It cleared up at 3:30pm ish but the roads were still very wet so I headed for home on the Thunder Monster at a nice slow steady pace due to the slippery roads.

Called into the Gasan market but they were all shut up by 4:00pm so home it was. Home safe and sound but now the humidity was on the increase after the rain. A nice cool shower after dinner fixed that.

Wednesday 2nd March:

Up and off to “Rose’s Beauty Parlor” at 9:00am for a haircut for me and a cut, colour and a hair spa (hair conditioning treatment for Guy). My haircut was P50 ($1.25 AUS) and Guy’s treatments were P450 ($11.25 AUS) and she supplied the colour, which was P250 ($6.25 AUS).

I had my cut first and then left Guy to it and headed for home with the supplies we had purchased at the market earlier. Upon arrival at home John was here resting in the Nipa Hut so a coffee and tea were in order as we chatted for an hour or so.

Dinner tonight is Beef Sinigang so I got the meat a cooking so it could marinate for the rest of the day ready for Guy to add the veggies tonight.

Finished off the Pork Cabbage wraps for lunch with a little rest that followed.

The Thunder Monster was due for her 3,000km service so carried that out (oil, oil filter & spark plug) later in the afternoon. All up cost was P650 ($16.25 AUS).

Got a message from Wayne (Aussie Doc from Brisbane) asking if I would be a sponsor / ninong at the wedding of Grace and him in May. Basically I am a witness to the proceedings and sign the marriage certificate and of course enjoy the great hospitality and food that the day will bring.

Had a chat to Wayne just to make sure I understood what the go was and then accepted this great honor. Looking forward to it.

A very nice leisurely day indeed.

Thursday 3rd March:

Guy off to the manicurist in Gasan at 10:30am and then Mahjong at 12:00 noon. As it turned out the manicurist didn’t turn up so she hit Barbarossa and enjoyed a Halo-Halo while waiting for Mahjong.

Ron picked me up at 12:00noon and we headed over Santa Cruz way to check out the progress on the new diesel generator power station that we visited about six months ago. And surprise, surprise, nothing had progressed since our last visit.

Ooohhh well brownouts to continue.

But I was able to deliver the pics I had taken of a family living across the road from the work site. They were extremely excited to get the pics and the beaming smiles made it all worthwhile.

On the way through Boac Ron introduced me to Randy who owns the local garage / hardware store. He sells generators of all sizes and will help us out with the right one for our needs. So when we come back from Australia (April) we shall pay him a visit and may lash out and get our own generator.

Arrived home at 5:00pm ish with Guy not far behind. Left over Beef Sinigang for dinner, which was exceptional as it had 24 hours to marinade from yesterday.

Friday 4th March:

Up at 5:00am and off to Gerald’s at 6:00am for a short hike today. We headed back into the boondocks from his place looping around and back down the road. All up a quick 1.5-hour walk just to keep the legs moving. A nice refreshing cup of tea back at Gerald’s before headed home with some fresh produce from Gerald’s garden (Jack Fruit, Papaya & Pechay (Local Spinach)).

Guy did her usual walk into Gasan Market (6km) first thing, grabbed the supplies and caught the Jeepney back home.

I was home by 9:00am so we both showered and headed for Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi so we could be home by 2:00pm. The afternoon storms are back and seem to hit anytime after 2:00pm so we made sure we were back home by 1:30pm. And sure enough at 2:00pm we had a downpour with a second one at 4:00pm.

We also have a slight leak in the roof and with the boys being here today one of them crawled into the roof cavity to find the leak during the rain. He found it and it is an easy fix. Needs a bit of sealant round a nail hole on one of the flashings covering the joint of the coconut palm roof.

Guy cooked a nice fresh batch of Chicken rice with a dash of Chili for the next few days. Very very yummy.

Saturday 5th March:

Cherry here this morning for the washing and cleaning at 8:00am so no sleeping in…… Oohhh and don’t think I told that Cherry is pregnant. She already has three girls who are 9,14 & 16 and is due in May. We have a backup washer lady to cover for her while she has the baby.

Guy off to Mahjong with Vicki at noon so I spent the day getting ready for our trip back to AUS. We leave here on Monday and head for Manila and leave Manila on Thursday and arrive in Adelaide on Friday 11th March.

I sorted out the rubbish and food scraps. Cleaned out the fridge & freezer, as you can’t leave anything in the fridge cause if you have an extended brownout while you’re away you could come back to a very smelly fridge. Gave Cherry the last few bits of food we had left.

Sorted some stuff we need to drop off back in Manila to Beth, Guy’s sister. Also all our tickets and paperwork we need for my residency application as we will be visiting the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila and the Philippines Embassy in AUS.

And have to sort out what I need for AUS, which isn’t much. It is quite weird as this isn’t a holiday but more like a business trip as we pretty much have things on everyday we are there. Catching up with family & friends (in Adelaide, Sydney, Newcastle & Canberra), finalizing our tax, sorting out access to my Superannuation, Philippine Embassy visit for my residency, Centrelink visit re the pension, etc.

We will come back to Marinduque for a holiday.

Finished off the day with a wash and wax of the Thunder Monster. All finished and tucked away under her cover before the afternoon rainstorm.

Things are busy here at the cottage as well, with Yolanda here with her sister, family and friends from the USA staying in the little cottage below us. And the boys are working today on the new cottage with a truckload of bamboo to be unloaded. The new cottage will be a bamboo Nipa Hut style with a concrete frame work. Cheaper and quicker to build than a hollow block structure like the cottage we are in.

She will use these for short term stays (overnighters) and hopes to have them finished by Holy Week (Easter time) as this is the one time of the year when Marinduque receives a lot of visitors for the Moriones Festival which is unique to the island.

Guy arrived home just after 5:00pm and realized that she didn’t have her mobile phone. It was only 10 minutes since she left the Mahjong house with Vicki. She had the Mahjong house check and Vicki checked her car but no phone. We tried to ring it but it was out of service. Which can really only mean that it has dropped someway and somebody has picked it up and turned it off and/or removed the SIM card. Ooohhh well a new phone is in order. Will let you know her new number once we sort it all out.

Life is good

Trevor & Guy