Day 394 of retirement

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

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