Day 685 of retirement

The photos below are the last installment of the walk round the island.
If you wish to see the descriptions on each photo remember to click on “Permalink” on the lower right of the pic in the slide show.

Hi All

Wednesday 21st December:

Up and off to see Gerald at 8:00am. I delivered the data files from the GPS and Heart Rate monitor from the walk and a copy of all the photos I had taken. Also a Java update I had downloaded for him while on Wi-Fi as he has very limited broadband access where he lives.

Back home and we headed off to Boac and some Goodchow Wi-Fi. The rain started by Gasan so out came the ponchos. It was sunshine by the time we hit Boac.

The Wi-Fi was rather slow today as it took me 2-hours to load all the pics and post the blog. It got that slow that we packed up and went to the Boac Hotel and their Wi-Fi turned out to be much faster.

So while Guy sorted her email I went for a walk and picked up our Xmas ham. We were able to order a 1kg ham from Goodchow so decided to try one and see what they were like.

On with the ponchos as we left Boac and it rained all the way home (20km). The roadworks outside of Boac were a swamp again. Arrived home pretty dry so all good but the poor old Thunder Monster is covered in mud.

Afternoon tea was ham on crackers with plastic cheese with a hot cup of tea and it was dam good. Especially after not having any ham for a very very long time. Even though there is lots of pork here on the island, ham is just not made.

Thursday 22nd December:

Our masseuse Eileen arrived at 9:00am. It was actually Guy’s turn but she gave up her massage day to me (she’s the best) to help soothe the muscles from the walk. And it was very very nice especially having the bottoms of my feet massage.

At midday Guy off to Mahjong and I headed back to Boac and some Wi-Fi so I could load up the rest of the walk pics. I tried The Boac Hotel and Goodchow but both Wi-Fi upload speeds were woeful. It took me 2.5-hours to load 25 photos.

Not sure what is happening at the moment but Wi-Fi everywhere is slow. Maybe it is the end of the month and they have used up their MB allowance?

I cruised back home (no rain today) arriving at 5:00pm just in time for a brownout. It lasted till 7:00pm.

Finished my 14th book of the year “Blind Man’s Bluff” by Sherry Sontag & Christopher Drew. The history of the American submarine fleet. Interesting but I found it very frustrating that the USA spent billions of dollars on machinery that has a very limited life, a limited capacity and in some cases just didn’t work. Imagine what that money could do in the education and health care systems for the people.

I started my 15th book of the year (and last for this year) “Colin Powell” A biography by Howard Means. This is the most number of books I have ever read in one year over my entire life. See, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Friday 23rd December:

Cherry here this morning for the washing and cleaning. She also bought 5 young coconuts for us to process for Xmas. When she had finished we paid her a Xmas bonus of P700 ($16.00 AUS) for her great service this year.

The coconut juice was collected for drinking and some of the soft flesh mixed with it. The rest of the flesh was made into Buko Salad for Xmas day. Buko salad is actually a sweet dessert. You mix the shredded soft coconut flesh with a fruit cocktail mix, cream (had to use long life as all we could get) and condensed milk. It’s sweet and very very yummy.

After lunch we headed off to Boac for some Wi-Fi. The connection at the Boac Hotel was pretty good so we managed to get a Skype session going to Guy’s daughter Jo back in Canberra in AUS. Even managed to get video going so it was good to be able to have a long talk and see Jo.

Following that call we had a great chat with Lisa P (friend in Sydney) on Skype. When it works (we need a good connection here) Skype is great to keep in touch.

Back home and we enjoyed a very rare Malibu Rum with pineapple juice to celebrate what a great year we have had.

Saturday 24th December:

We had to pick up some pork at the market at 8:00am and also needed to replace our empty gas cylinder and a drinking water container. So we loaded up a Trike and headed into town.

The Trike man delivered us to our three stops and then back home for the princely sum of P60 ($1.50 AUS). We gave him a Xmas bonus of P100 ($2.50 AUS) for the trip and he was a happy man.

I then walked up to see Gerald and as this was the first walk since last weekend it felt good to be back on the road. Legs still a little heavy but were good. I walked back home along the beach and enjoyed the coolish cloudy morning.

Guy was off to Mahjong at 10:00am for the day.

Had a brownout from 12:30pm to 3:00pm. John and Geoff (Poms) dropped by for a Xmas chat during this time.

I spent the afternoon looking for the home of some tiny little ants that have taken up residence in the kitchen. I cleaned out a cupboard but they weren’t hiding there. Then quite by accident I discovered them living in the microwave door of all places. Sadly they no longer live in the microwave door.

Another brownout at 7:30pm till 8:30pm.

Sunday 25th December:

Power went off after midnight and back on at 7:00am.

Leisurely morning as all the expats are coming to the cottage for lunch. Everybody is bringing a “plate” so that makes the catering very easy. At midday the crowd started to arrive and we had 14 people come and go throughout the afternoon.

John (Pom) and Yolanda (our land lady) hosted the party and did a fantastic job of organizing everybody and providing the venue complete with the utensils required.

Too much great food was washed down with too many drinks and we almost achieved world peace……

And yes I did have a Xmas drink (of real alcohol). I am good till next year now….

By 8:30pm the hordes dispersed and another great Xmas day had passed us by.

Monday 26th December:

Power went off after midnight and back on at 7:00am. This is becoming a bit of a standard now. The talk round the island is that we are about to go back on rolling brownouts once again. The money for the fuel for our island generators has dried up and the government coffers are empty.

Kevin (Aussie) arrived at 7:30am to pick up his grill from yesterday so I gave him a hand to load it onto his Trike. After a leisurely breakfast I headed down to the Nipa Hut to cleanup from yesterdays festivities. And low and behold it was all cleaned up. Tico (one of Yolanda’s workers) had arrived at first light and cleaned everything up. Now that’s service……

Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I walked into Gasan and caught up with Geoff (Pom) for an iced tea before walking back home (10km round trip). The weather is overcast and the humidity is okay so a very pleasant stroll.

Tuesday 27th December:

Power off again during the night, came on briefly round 7:00am ish but then off again till 11:00am.

After lunch we packed a backpack and headed off to Mogpog (27km away) to attend Dave & Crissa’s wedding commencing at 3:00pm. We were going to ride the Thunder Monster there but with the weather looking rather stormy we caught a Jeepney instead (1h 15m ride). It turned out to be the right decision as it rained for about 9-hours during the afternoon / night.

We had a room booked at the Hilltop Hotel in Mogpog (which was very very basic) so we were in no hurry to get home.

The wedding was in a large covered outdoor area and even though it was raining you didn’t get wet at all. Lots of food / drinks and great friendly people was enjoyed by all.

Dave and Crissa didn’t have a formal MC so Guy stepped in and did a fantastic job of conducting the official evenings affairs. Give that girl a microphone and the world is hers. She got the Karaoke going as well and even got Harry up to sing his one and only Tagalog song he knows. That went down an absolute treat with the locals. They loved it.

Harry (Aussie from Cagpo) was also there but unfortunately none of the other expats could make it. Harry dropped us off at the hotel at 8:30pm and he headed to Boac to stay for the night (only 5km away).

Dave (47) is a Canadian who works on engineering projects (mainly mining) in Canada. Some 7-years ago he was working on a project in Vancouver and one of his bosses was a Filipino guy from Marinduque. He invited Dave to come visit the island so he did. When he arrived he caught the eye of a very lovely lady, Crissa (local gal just up the road from his mates place). And so the courtship began. Some 7-years later, they are now married and have a new house here on the island where Crissa lives.

Dave is still too young to retire (but wants to retire here on the island) so comes and goes from the island during the year. He is trying to get a job closer to the Philippines to make his trips home a little easier. But at the moment he is still working in Canada.

Wednesday 28th December:

Guy and I didn’t sleep to well on the “hard” bed but did manage to get a little shuteye. At 8:00am we packed up and caught a Jeepney back home. The roadworks outside of Boac were once again a swamp so we were glad to be in the Jeepney and not on the Thunder Monster.

We arrived home at 9:30am and enjoyed breakfast with a nice hot cup of tea. After a rest and lunch Guy was off to Mahjong. I was going to give her a lift but I had a minor fuel issue with the Thunder Monster. I got the fuel issue fixed and off to the market for some supplies.

At 2:00pm I went to visit John (Pom) and take some pics of his Labrador puppies so he can print them off and send to family back in the UK.

I dropped into Barbarossa on the way home and tried the Broadband but it was too slow to do anything so gave up and came back home.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

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