Day 617 of retirement

Hi All

Saturday 15th October:

A nice fine day greeted us with sunshine and a gentle breeze. Late morning we headed to “Goodchow” in Boac for some lunch and Wi-Fi. Had a pizza for lunch and it was pretty good. Not as good as Shakey’s but close.

Cruised home mid afternoon and picked up a nice bag of fresh Rambutan’s (P30 ($0.72 AUS) per kilo) as they are in season at the moment.

Afternoon tea was a nice hot cup of tea and Rambutan’s. Yummmm…

Sat on the beach and watched the sunset to conclude a “busy” day.

Sunday 16th October:

The Thunder Monster got her usual wash and wax this morning.

Guy off to Mahjong at 10:00am and I hit Barbarossa at midday for the expat gathering. Another good crowd today of nine, all up.

Home by 3:00pm as we are heading to Manila tonight on the 8:00pm Ro-Ro from Cawit Port (10km north of us). The Thunder Monster was parked inside and tucked in for a rest while we are away. We will be back by next weekend.

We are picking up my ACR card (identity card) and seeing Guy’s sister (Marites) and nephew (Jonathan) who are visiting from New Zealand.

We headed for Cawit Port at 5:30pm on a Trike and upon arriving discovered that the Ro-Ro had broken down and will not be operating tonight.

So the only other option is to get to Balanacan Port (45 minutes away) and catch the 10:00pm Ro-Ro. So after lots of “negotiations” between Guy and various transport operators (and waiting around) we caught a mini van (14 seater) and finally arrived at Balanacan at 9:00pm.

Well wouldn’t you know it, the Ro-Ro was late arriving at Balanacan so we didn’t get to leave till 11:30pm.

Monday 16th October:

We arrived at Lucena at 2:30pm (a nice smooth crossing) and hit the JAC Liner bus. We had the seats behind the driver and discovered that when you held the recline lever the seats actually “reclined” all the way back to form a bed (the seats were actually broken as they shouldn’t go that far). So with only a few people on the bus we managed to get some sleep on our beds for a couple of hours.

As we got closer to Manila they started to pick up more passengers so the beds had to come back up. It was a nice quick trip and we arrived in Manila at 6:00am (3.5 hour trip).

A nice early morning stroll to Guy’s sister’s place just round the corner from the bus depot and we hit the hay for a few hours shuteye. We both crashed till 10:30am and then joined Guy’s Mum for a late breakfast.

For lunch we caught a cab to Greenhill’s Mall as there were a few things I needed from there. We hit Shakey’s for Mojo’s and Pizza for lunch and finished it off with a Chai Latte and Raspberry Cheesecake at the Tea Leaf & Coffee Shop. Had my sugar fix now.

Guy’s Mum cooked up some Tilapia fish for dinner tonight. I love the way she cooks them so they were heartily enjoyed.

I now (finally) have my ACR (Alien Certificate of Registration) in my hot little hands so my Filipino residency is now complete. We started the process last December so 10 months isn’t too bad.

Tuesday 17th October:

Slept like a log last night with the fan gently blowing over us.

We faced trying to do our AUS eTax and you could probably hear my cursing back in AUS. Dam ATO don’t support MAC so no eTax. We borrowed Guy’s sister’s Windows PC and couldn’t download the MSI for the eTax install (it kept bombing out).

So I managed to download the Tax pack and printed out the tax form. We’re doing paper tax returns and will courier them to the ATO along with a letter of our frustrations in their archaic system. Needs a good usability expert to look at their online processing (hey James….).

We hit the mall for a late-ish lunch and stocked up on the last of our supplies with a relaxing Chai Latte in Starbucks to finish the day. Guy’s family was also at the mall and we caught up with them.

Guy off to Mahjong tonight. She found a game happening just down the road so “had” to attend. I am sure if we had an asteroid hit the Philippines she would find a game somewhere and get there come hell or high water.

Oohhhhh and one bonus that Guy’s sister (Marites) has provided is good chocolate from NZ. Yuuummmm……. Nearly as good as Haighe’s.

Wednesday 18th October:

Up and off to the mall to complete out 2010-11 tax returns. Got the final documents printed, checked the lodgments and off to the photocopiers to get a copy of both of them at the other end of the mall.

Then back down the mall and over to the next mall (there are three malls next to each other here) to go to the couriers. There are two couriers here (couriers are the safest / quickest sending option) and we discovered that they will not send to a PO Box. And of course the ATO requires all overseas lodgments to go to a PO Box in Sydney.

So after a final Chai Latte it was back to Beth’s (Guy’s sisters), dropped off our stuff and caught a Trike to the local post office down the road and round the corner. And of course we had a tropical downpour as we left and had the umbrella up in the Trike to try and keep dry.

But our tax is now done and dusted and on its way to AUS so we shall see what the ATO does with us now…..

Had a very late lunch at Guy’s Mum’s of Pork in blood jelly with rice. Very very nice as she cooks it so well. At 3:30pm we said our goodbyes and headed for the JAC liner bus station (down around the corner) to make our way home to the island.

The bus we caught takes us right to our front door so very handy. At 4:00am (12.5-hours later) we arrive home after a smooth trip on the bus, Ro-Ro and bus again.

Nice hot cup of tea to unwind, unpack a few things and off to bed at 5:00am.

Ooohhh we added to our collection of worldly possessions in Manila. We finally found a good fry pan that can be used for cooking fish, meat and Pancit (Noodles). We have been looking for a fry pan with solid base (to help with even cooking on the gas stove), high sides (for the Pancit) and glass lid (to see).

So Pork chops and mash potatoes were on the menu for dinner.

Thursday 20th October:

I was up at 9:30am with Guy a little time after. After a wakeup coffee and tea we headed off to the market to restock up on supplies.

Spent the afternoon cleaning all my camera gear (got a new cleaner in Manila), putting up the clothes lines (we had one nicked previously) and doing a rubbish burn up. Spent an hour cleaning up the beach as well.

Had my first run-in with a syringe today on the beach. I was cleaning up along the rubbish line from the last Typhoon, which was right back in the yard, and as I scooped up some coconut bits there it was. I incinerated it well and truly and will have to keep my eye out when cleaning up in future after a Typhoon.

Tried out the new fry pan tonight with some marinated Pork chops (Guy’s special marinade) and some green beans cooked in the Pork chop juices. Some mashed potatoes completed this delectable dish. Yummmmm….

Friday 21st October:

I’ve managed to finish up with a sore right eye after the Manila trip. I have a small growth in my eye and every now and then it gets aggravated and feels like I have sand paper in my eyelid. I have seen an eye doctor in the past and they won’t do anything unless it affects my vision, which it doesn’t. Got some eye drops, which help. It will go away in a few days.

Up early for my walk with Gerald. As it was relatively dry we headed back into the boondocks to try and find the “missing track” up to the Grotto. I have GPS readings on the Grotto and the start of the track on top of the ridge so as we walked up the valley we knew where we were.

We found another track up the ridge past the Grotto and so walked back to the GPS point for the start of the good track down. And sure enough, it came out in the valley below right where we thought it did. Problem was the entrance to the track in the valley floor was hidden by the jungle. We had walked past it ten times previously.

So now that we have found the original track we have a nice loop walk. You go up the valley first, then straight up to the ridge top and back to the Grotto and down the good track.

Home and Zieyrish was here for the cleaning & washing.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday with Vicki. I stayed out the bright sunlight and rested up my sore eye with a siesta and a bit of TV.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


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