Day 1107 of retirement

February 23, 2013

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Hi All

Saturday 16th February:

Midmorning I rode down to see Gerald for a cup of tea and a chat. We haven’t walked at all this week as everybody has been tied up with other commitments.

At 1:00pm I dropped Guy off at Mahjong and made my way to Google It to post the blog. I also had a bit of a browse through some online job sites just to see what is out there in the Northern Beaches in Sydney.

Back home late afternoon and did the rubbish burn up followed by a nice cool shower to wash away the sweat.

Sunday 17th February:

The Thunder Monster got a wipe down today, as she wasn’t muddy/dirty (No rain this week) just dusty/dirty. After a good wipe down and some lubrication to a few spots she was good as new once again.

11:30pm Guy and I made our way to Google IT to check emails. We had a very pleasant surprise from Jo (Guy’s daughter and Zali’s mum). Now you have to remember that Jo is a really good shopper and finder of all things.

She has been looking at cars for us in Canberra given our criteria of being a manual, 150,000km ish and round $5,000. She has sourced a number of vehicles that fit our requirements very nicely. Good food for thought and hopefully one or two of them may still be available when we arrive. If not I’m sure Jo will find us some new similar ones. Thanks Jo.

At midday I dropped Guy at the Mahjong house and I headed to the Barbarossa for the expat gathering.

Back home late afternoon and a brownout from 4:30pm to 6:00pm (1.5 hours) greeted me.

Monday 18th February:

Ailyn arrived at 8:30am for Guy’s 2-hour massage. After she left it was a quick trip into the market for some supplies to last till Wednesday midday as we are off to Manila that night on the JAC Liner Bus.

After lunch we rode to Boac (22km away) the capital as Guy had her tooth fixed with a permanent filling. All done for P750 ($19.00 AUS). Guy has a couple of other small cavities that the dentist will fix in one more visit. So she will get them done before we head back to AUS.

I had my teeth all checked out as well and all good. Might just get a clean also before we head back for P500 ($12.00 AUS).

I finished reading my 6th book of the year “Echo Burning : Jack Reacher” by Lee Child (Kindle Book). This is the fifth book in the Reacher series and another really good mystery set in Texas.

Tuesday 19th February:

We spent the morning packing up the gear we won’t need for the next month on the island to take back to Manila tomorrow. I don’t know where all this stuff comes from but it seems to multiply. Anyway all done and got it all in the bags / boxes.

We are taking a door to door service to Manila. A fellow Mahjong player has a mini van that he operates where he will pick you up on the island and deliver you to your address in Manila, for a price of course.

We were going to take the JAC Liner bus but decided to go the door to door as we have too much stuff to carry (6 bags / boxes) from the bus station to Guy’s sister’s place in Manila.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I hit Google IT for some Wi-Fi for a few hours.

We had a little brownout from 7:45pm to 8:45pm (1-hour) to finish off the evening.

Wednesday 20th February:

Spent the morning packing up the last of our gear to take to Manila. All up we had some 80kg so luckily we were catching the Door to Door van with plenty of room.

At 4:00pm the van turned up and they managed to push, prod and squeeze all our stuff in (6 pieces of luggage in all). So with 10 other passengers as well (They had little luggage thank goodness) it was a squeeze in the van.

We made it to Cawit Port for the 8:00pm Ro-Ro only to be told the Ro-Ro might not run because of rough seas. But we did leave at 8:15pm for our 3-hour journey.

Well this was the second roughest trip on a Ro-Ro we have had. The worst of it lasted for about 1.5 hours. We were on the second passenger deck with the side canvas curtains rolled down as the waves were spraying up this high.

As the water hit the canvas it then pooled on the deck and the whole upper deck was awash with seawater. Luckily there weren’t many passengers so Guy and I each had a whole bench seat to ourselves.

We put our backpacks up on the seat and laid down on the rest of the bench to escape the deck wash. There were times when you had to brace yourself hanging onto the seat so you wouldn’t slide off.

Guy was a little seasick but I was okay as I had doped myself up on Bonemine motion sickness tables and they actually worked for me.

Off the Ro-Ro and on the road at 11:30pm for Manila thank goodness. We arrived at Beth’s (Guy’s sisters house) at 5:00am. All our gear was fine and we hit the hay till 9:30am.

Thursday 21st February:

Up, showered and had breakfast by 10:30am. Then off to see Immigration about my ACR (Residency) card and if I can retain it while I’m out of the country for a few years.

After the third window we found the right person who told us what we need to do to keep my ACR current till 2017 (when it expires). Looks like I can retain it provided I pay my annual fee and an exit VISA fee each year.

We can get Guy’s brother Jerry to do this on my behalf while I am in AUS so all good.

Off to the Manila SM Mall for lunch and a very nice Chai tea to finish off the afternoon. We also wandered round the local appliance shop looking at fridge and TV sizes for when we get back to AUS.

Just need to send this info to Jo (Guy’s daughter) as she is looking online for us for the best deals. One less job for us to do when we get there.

Back to Beth’s and Guy was off at 6:00pm for a reunion dinner with her batchmates. Her mum cooked me some Sinigang (She makes the world’s best Sinigang) for dinner

I crashed by 9:00pm after last night’s adventure. Guy arrived home form her reunion night 11:30pm ish.

Friday 22nd February:

Up and off to Divisoria this morning with Annajoy (Guy’s niece). The weather was crap (Raining) as we are on the tail end of a large Monsoon at the moment.

We are training up Annajoy (This is her second trip) as an angel wing buyer for Rebecca back in Adelaide (AUS) who sells them on her website for kids’ clothes.

After a Trike, LRT (Train) and Jeepney ride we arrived in Divisoria to be greeted by flooded streets. Now this is a part of Manila where you can buy anything from food to building fixtures to clothes to medical supplies, wedding dresses and of course angel wings.

From our last trip back in December 2012 we knew where to go this time so found pretty much all the wings that Bec was after. We did a bit of a wonder round the one of the five story complexes as it was still raining heavily outside and found a whole Bridal section. We took some pics for Jo (Guy’s daughter back in AUS) as she is planning her wedding for late next year.

They had all sorts of frilly, colorful and just plain weird dresses. My favorites were the black dress and the feather (covered in purple feathers) dress.

After lunch the rain eased and we caught a Jeepney, LRT and Trike back home. We packed up the wings with Annajoy and she and Guy took them off to the local Post Office (By Trike) to send.

At 4:15pm Guy was off again for an overnighter with the girls. They are all getting together at one of the girls houses and having a night of food, fun and Karaoke.

Mean while Guy’s Mum cooked me some her very best Pork Adobo for dinner so I was happy.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 1100 of retirement

February 16, 2013

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Hi All

Saturday 9th February:

Up to be greeted by a brownout. But the power came back on at 9:00am so all good.

A quiet morning reading was the order of the day. Our quiet simple mornings are numbered so we are going to enjoy them while we can. Once we hit Australia on the 28th of March there will be no more quiet life while we get ourselves established.

Guy was off to Mahjong at midday. I walked into town at 1:00pm and posted the blog at Google IT. I then also walked back home (11km round trip) along the beach in the mid afternoon humidity.

A nice cool shower when I arrived home fixed that. Guy played a late game again and arrived home at midnight ish.

Sunday 10th February:

The Thunder Monster got a wipe over today. She is a little dusty from the roadworks but otherwise all good as we had no rain this week.

At midday I dropped Guy off at Mahjong and I made my way to the Barbarossa for the expat gathering. A small crowd today with six of us in attendance.

I left for home at 4:00pm and dropped in to pick up Guy’s helmet. She wasn’t having a good day and had lost her last few days’ winnings so she came home with me.

I finished reading my 3rd book of the year “Die Trying” by Lee Child (Kindle Book). This is the second book in the Jack Reacher series and another good read about extremists in the USA.

Monday 11th February:

No walk this morning as the HAM members are all busy today.

Ailyn arrived at 10:00am (2-hours late) for Guy’s massage.

I put the rice cooker on at 11:00am just to have a brownout about two minutes after. So no rice for lunch. The power was back on at 3:00pm (4-hour brownout) so rice for dinner was okay.

A leisurely day all round with reading and an afternoon siesta.

Tuesday 12th February:

Market day so we stocked up on some fresh produce for the next few days. The mangoes are very sweet at the moment.

Guy was off to Mahjong at midday and at 1:00pm I walked into Google IT for some Wi-Fi. At 4:00pm I dropped in to see Guy at Mahjong. She was close to finishing for the day and was catching a ride home with Vicki.

I continued my walk and got about a third of the way home when Vicki and Guy caught up with me. As it was pretty hot and humid I caught a ride for the rest of the way home.

I finished reading my 4th book of the year “Tripwire : Jack Reacher” by Lee Child (Kindle Book). This is the third book in the Jack Reacher series and another good murder mystery with a twist.

Wednesday 13th February:

A nervous morning as when I turned on my MacBook it indicated that there was no battery present (I put a new one in from iFixit back in December 2012). When you unplugged the power supply the MacBook would die. I reset the PMU and nothing. But it worked okay while plugged in.

Guy needed to send some money to Jordan so we rode into Google IT and got it transferred with the MacBook plugged in.

We then tried to printout the instructions for a battery change (an internal job) as I was going to put the old battery back in. Google IT’s printers crashed and burned, so we wandered down to another Internet café and got it printed there.

I changed the new battery for the old one and all good. It was charging up okay so the power supply was okay. So I then replaced the new battery back in and it was fine. The MacBook recognized the battery and showed all the stats were okay.

So who knows what it was. Probably a loose connection (worked its way loose) from the battery when we changed it, or just something that got reset when I removed the battery.

And I can’t speak highly enough for the www.iFixit.com toolkit. It has all the tools you need for pretty much any electronic device that has screws and fasteners.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday.

After lunch I played with the MacBook for a while just to be sure all was okay. I did a run back into Google IT and ran it on battery for an hour while on Wi-Fi then back home and connected back up to the charger and it appears to be back to normal (touch wood).

I did some shopping for a few supplies while in town as well.

In the evening I continued to sort out some of the stuff we have here into three piles.

  • Stuff we are leaving on the island with John (Pom) for our return.
  • Stuff to take to Manila next week and will leave there with Beth (Guy’s sister) for our return.
  • Stuff to take to Manila next week and then take back to Australia with us.

Thursday 14th February:

Our 3rd wedding anniversary today, time just went flying by when you are having a splendid time.

Ailyn arrived at 9:30am for my 2-hour massage and very nice it was.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday. 1:00pm I walked into Google IT for some Wi-Fi. Today I was looking at used cars for sale in Canberra on www.carpoint.com.au . We are kind of looking at $5,000 ish, less than 10 years old ish and less than 150,000km ish. There are a few that fit the bill and I reckon that we will get something that fits the bill.

Guy arrived later in the afternoon at Google IT as she had lost her “allowance” at Mahjong, so left for some Wi-Fi at Google IT. We managed to Skype Zali and the gang and see Zali almost crawling. She should be mobile by the time we arrive in 6-weeks ish.

I walked back home and Guy joined me for the last few kms as she caught the Jeepney when she finished her email.

Thursday night is American Idol so we settled in for the show.

Friday 15th February:

Late morning and off to Boac (Capital 24km away) for Guy to see the dentist. Just before we left for AUS back in December 2012 she lost a bit of a tooth round a filling.

The dentist put some temporary filling back in and said come back now and if the tooth is still okay she will repair it with permanent filling. She checked the tooth and all good so on Monday we go back and Guy gets the whole tooth/filling fixed before we come back to AUS. The cost here will be P600 ($15.00 AUS) so just a little bit cheaper than if we wait till AUS and get it done.

Lunch was at Good Chow as they serve good food and it is one of the very few restaurants in Boac that is air-conditioned.

Back home mid afternoon and time to clean out the medical cupboard. There are drugs and medical stuff that we brought over with us, stuff we have purchased here and stuff that visitors have left us.

One thing I noticed is that gels and lotions don’t survive well in the tropics. They separate and go all runny and have a tendency to explode their containers if sealed. The cupboard where the medical stuff was stored in will never have a backache cause a tube of “Anti Inflammatory Gel” had exploded.

Also anything with elastic plaster (Eg: Band-Aids) goes all soft and sticky.

But I managed to sort out what we will give away to the locals and what we will keep for us.

American Idol again tonight. Now down to the top 20 girls and top 20 boys.

I finished reading my 5th book of the year “Running Blind : Jack Reacher” by Lee Child (Kindle Book). This is book 4 in the Reacher series and is the best one so far. A great psychological murder mystery that will have you guessing right up till the very end.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 1093 of retirement

February 9, 2013

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Hi All

Saturday 2nd February:

We were greeted by a brownout at 9:15am this morning. The power came back on at 1:15pm (4-hours). We spent the morning reading, relaxing and planning our return to AUS.

Guy was off to Mahjong at midday. At 1:00pm a big rain shower went through and settled the dust and watered the garden very nicely. So at 1:30pm and with the rain almost gone I walked into town to Google IT with my trusty umbrella.

I got the blog posted and have started looking at flight back to AUS and when is the cheapest time to travel just after Easter. Once I finished my Wi-Fi I walked back home in the steamy humidity after the rain.

A nice cool shower refreshed me very nicely. Guy played a late one and arrived back home at midnight.

I got some more color slides scanned and reminisced on the good old days back on the Eyre Peninsula round Cummins where I grew up.

I finished reading my first book of the year “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston (Kindle Book). A great documentary read about the Ebola virus and its strains (some deadly and some not). Recommended read.

Sunday 3rd February:

The Thunder Monster got a good wash and wax today. It’s the first one in six weeks so she was a little dusty.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I made my way to the Barbarossa for the expat gathering. We caught a Jeepney in as it was raining when we left.

I caught a Jeepney back home at 3:00pm. The rain was gone so I grabbed the Thunder Monster and rode down to see Gerald.

We are in print again. In the “Enrich” Healthy lifestyle & Living magazine (February edition) we have had an article on the Marinduque Moriones Festival published. Gerald did the write up and I supplied the photos.

This magazine is distributed throughout Asia and the United States (www.enrich.com.ph).

Great to see our work in print once again. Our other article (his words & my pics) on our around the island walk (Marinduque) from December 2011 was published by the April 2012 edition of the “Enrich” magazine.

Guy arrived back home at midnight from her late game.

Monday 4th February:

No walk today as Gerald is recovering from a foot injury. Should be back on Friday.

Ailyn arrived at 8:00am for Guy’s two-hour massage. Once the massage was finished we rode into the market for some supplies to make a big pot of Pork Sinigang. After lunch and a bit of a siesta we made our way to Google IT for some Wi-Fi.

We are currently looking at flights back to AUS both for just before and just after Easter. The prices vary a lot cause it’s Easter. Now looking at leaving the Philippines just before Easter as long as the cheap prices remain.

I finished reading my 2nd book of the year “Killing Floor” by Lee Child (Kindle Book). This is the first book in the Jack Reacher series and is a good murder mystery read.

Tuesday 5th February:

A leisurely morning. I did a rubbish burn up and clean the beach. Very little rubbish on the beach today. But I did manage to get quite a sweat up slaving over the hot incinerator. A refreshing shower washed away the sweat and cooled me down.

At midday Guy was off to Mahjong. At 1:00pm I walked into Gasan to Google IT for some Wi-Fi. Gerald was there also catching up on loading some of his old photos to facebook.

I walked back home after Wi-Fi (11km round trip) and after my second refreshing shower for the day had a quiet evening scanning more slides.

Guy played another late Mahjong game and arrived home at midnight.

Wednesday 6th February:

Off to Buenavista to pay our “Council Rates” on our block of land. We enquired if we could pay in advance as we will be away for a few years and it was ok, so we paid our rates for the next five years.

And the total cost for our beachfront allotment was P250 ($6.00 AUS), which covers us to the end of 2017. Bargain.

Back to the cottage where John (Pom) his niece Jessica (From England) and her partner Neil (From England) came to spend the day under the Nipa hut. Yolanda (John’s wife) cooked up a big dinner, which we all enjoyed in the cool of the evening.

They all stayed the night in the other cottage just down from us.

Thursday 7th February:

Ailyn arrived at 8:30am for my 2-hour massage which was a very nice start to the day. After lunch Guy was off to Mahjong and I walked into town and Google IT for some Wi-Fi.

I had a pleasant surprise in my email inbox today. I have been trying to track down an old friend of mine Bruce B from the 70’s when I was living in Canada. He has a very common name so I get zillions of hits when I search.

But I managed to track down his son (I presumed….) on facebook so sent him a message. And low and behold it was his son and he sent me Bruce’s phone number in Edmonton, Canada. I’ll call him tomorrow.

At 3:00pm I walked back home (11km round trip) to a nice cool shower to wash away the sweat.

Guy played another late game and I was back to scanning my old slides.

Friday 8th February:

Leisurely morning with a trip to the market for some veggies and chicken for a curry to feed us the next few days.

I tried to ring Bruce a couple of times but he was out. Morning here is the previous evening in Canada.

After lunch we rode the Thunder Monster into Google IT and had a Skype session with Zali and the gang. She is almost crawling now at 6 months. Won’t be long now.

Home and settled in to watch American idol.

I rang Bruce at 10:30pm our time which was 7:30am yesterday in Canada and managed to get hold of him. We had a great chat and I now have his email. So we will swap life stories, which should be very interesting after all these years.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 1086 of retirement

February 2, 2013

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Hi All

Saturday 26th January:

Happy Australia Day to all you Aussies.

After lunch Guy was off to Mahjong for a late one (Playing till midnight). I walked into Gasan and Google IT to post the blog.

I spend some time exploring the Philippines’ immigration website re: what will happen to my Residency (ACR Card) if I’m out of the country for longer than twelve months. It looks like I will loose it and will have to reapply for ACR when we come back in a few years. It should be easier next time as they now have all my details.

I walked back home as well (12km walk all up) as I didn’t do much walking back in AUS so need to get some fitness back.

Guy arrived home just after midnight from her Mahjong game.

Sunday 27th January:

Leisurely morning. No Thunder wash today as she is still good after her holiday in the cottage.

At 11:15am I dropped Guy off at the Mahjong house and made my way to Google IT for some Wi-Fi. At midday I hit the Barbarossa for the expat gathering and told them the news we were leaving.

Back home at 4:00pm and rang my Mum who turned 90 years old today. I had a chat to her about our new adventure coming back to AUS as well.

Guy arrived home at 11:30pm after another late Mahjong game.

Monday 28th January:

Off to Gerald’s for our morning walk. We had two visitors with us today. Joseph and his daughter Mira (American Filipinos from Seattle) are here visiting family up Boac way. They found my blog some time ago and loved the look of the interior photos so contacted me about hiking here.

Gerald looked after them while I was in AUS and took them on a couple of walks. It was good to catch up with them today and take them to Meadow Peak for a look over the southwestern side of the island.

Tomorrow we are taking them up the Dawis River to Maapoy, the gas fields where the gas seeps out the ground and you can light it. They leave the island on Thursday on their way home to Seattle.

After lunch and a siesta Guy and I made our way to Google IT to Skype the gang in Canberra and see the rapidly growing Zali. We also Skyped our good friend Lisa P (Sydney) who is helping us get some things in order re: work stuff.

Tuesday 29th January:

I headed out the door at 6:15am and walked to the Dawis River bridge (2.5km away) to meet Gerald, Joseph and Mira for a walk up the river to Tabionan (7.5km & village back in the mountains), then on to Maapoy (5.0km further on and quite remote when you get there) to see the fire alight by the gas coming out of the ground in a hollow bamboo.

Then back to Tabionan (5.0km) and back home via the road (7.6km) giving a grand total of 27.6km for the day. Must admit I am feeling it a bit.

Joseph and Mari loved the walk up the river and especially the gas field (complete with fire out of a hollow bamboo). The walk out on the road was a bit of a drag but we all put our heads down and we were back at the main road in no time.

They have really enjoyed the walks they have done with Gerald and I and have seen parts of the island that “tourists” don’t see.

I arrived home at 3:00pm only to find a brownout. It came back on at 5:00pm (2-hour brownout)

Guy had been to the market in the morning and left me a very nice pot of cooked Pork spare ribs (One of my favorites). She then made her way to Mahjong at midday and arrived back home at 1:00am (A long night game).

Wednesday 30th January:

Up this morning and we were greeted by a brownout at 9:00am. The power was out all day and only came back on at 3:00pm (6-hour brownout)

John (Pom) called in for a chat and to pay me for the Thunder Monster even though we will be riding it for a month or two yet before we leave. John has been very generous to do this for us.

Then we all headed for Terry’s (Welshman) place just down the road for another gathering of the Marinduque Bridge Club. Guy and I were the champions today with a bit of skill and a lot of luck.

Back home for lunch and then off to Boac for some business. First stop was the Immigration office to pay my annual fee of P310 ($7.60 AUS). We also enquired about how long I can be out of the country before I lose my residency status.

It appears that if I pay my annual fee (We could arrange for Guy’s brother to do this for me) my residency will be active until it expires in 2017. We will check this with the Immigration Office in Manila just to be sure.

We were going to register the Thunder Monster but had to leave that due to no power in Boac as well.

And Guy was going to see the Dentist but had to also cancel due to no power.

Just after we arrived back home the power came back on….. Ohhhh well will go back Friday (Power willing….) and complete our business.

Tonight I broke out the slide and negative scanner I bought while in AUS. I purchased a Plustek OpticFilm 8100 so I can scan all my old slides and negatives dating back some 40 years.

I have had them all stored in AUS and brought back with me my oldest slides and have placed the rest in the Door to Door box we sent from Canberra. Once this box arrives in Manila we will send it straight back to AUS so I can complete the scanning there.

I started on my old slide tonight and got through 50ish as I learnt to use the software with the scanner to correct many years of deterioration on the slides. I’m getting about an 85% success rate of good scans so that’s not bad.

Even the other 15% are still good enough to show the memories of the day. I’m seeing some very interesting pics of my younger years (When I was 18 +).

Thursday 31st January:

Cherry here at 8:00am for the washing and cleaning day. Boy are we going to miss her when we return to AUS.

Ailyn was supposed to be here at 10:00am for my massage but had some church business to do this morning so asked if she could come at 3:00pm. No problem with me to alter my busy schedule……..

After lunch I dropped Guy off at Mahjong and I hit Google IT for some research on stuff for our return. The whole process is happening surprisingly smooth so far. I’m sure there will be a few challenges to come yet.

I arrived back at the cottage at 2:00pm for a shower to wash off the dust and sweat before Ailyn arrived. We now have 1km of road between here and Gasan ripped up and being replaced with concrete. And with it being the dry season at the moment it is a dust hole.

Ailyn arrived at 3:00pm and I enjoyed my 2-hour massage. It’s been 7 weeks since my last one so all extremely good.

Friday 1st February:

Up early and off to Gerald’s for our morning walk. I met Manny at Gerald’s and the three of us did a road stroll down to meet the new proprietor of a Dive Shop that has open up along the coast.

The owner is Freedom D Dellosa Jr and he is the guy who also is developing the Freedom Park Resort that I spoke of in the blog dated Thursday 27th September 2012. This is the place with a big pool for dive trainings, a Zip line and climbing wall.

Freedom also owns a Dive Shop in Lucena (Coral Divers Den) and along with his Freedom Resort up Boac way wants to get some of the divers from Lucena onto the island for extended diving trips and training in open water diving.

He wants to work with the locals in protecting the dive sites in the Tres Reyes Islands which are the islands just off the coast of us (A 20 minute Bangka ride). Apparently there are still some great Coral dives to be had there.

Back home, showered and off to Boac (22km away) for a busy day. First stop was the Immigration office to drop off a copy of my ACR card after paying my annual fee on Wednesday.

Then off to the Land Transport Office (LTO) to register the Thunder Monster. Basically you have to visit an emission testing centre and have your exhaust gases analyzed, pay for 3rd party insurance (P100,000 coverage ($2,500 AUS)) which is provided next to the emission testing centre then back to the LTO for your rego.

P1,450 ($36.00 AUS) and 2-hours later and all done.

Back into Boac to pay our Phil Health (Private Health Ins) for the first quarter this year (Till we go). Total cost here was P450 ($11.00 AUS).

Then off to get phone cards, Satellite TV recharge and some choc nut (Peanut sweets) for our desert treats. Lunch was at Good Chow and then back to Google IT in Gasan where we were able to Skype Jo and Zali for a good chat and do email stuff.

Back home at 4:00pm and a lovely brownout greeted us at 4:30pm. The power was back on at 5:30pm in time for dinner so all good.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy