Saturday, October 18, 2008
From my February 2006 trip-
Annie Lou spent the majority of day three showing me more of Alabang (Muntinlupa City) and introducing me to more of her friends and neighbors. We visited a few markets, returned to the mall, and goofed off most of the morning and early afternoon. It was a nice day to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather. It was a little windy, slightly overcast, which raised the humidity quite a bit, but also made it a lot cooler than it had been the previous day.
That evening we were taking Super Ferry to grandma's house, so we wanted to stock up on drinks and snacks before going. Meals on the boat were provided, but nothing else. And on a three day cruise..... Well, as Annie put it, "Anthony is always hungry, always thirsty....." Hahaha!
Annie and I took a tricycle (as usual) the grocery and shopped for a while. We spent the majority of the time discussing the difference in prices between the Philippines and the USA. A bag of chips might cost 40 pesos, less than one American dollar. In the USA the same bag is $3.79, or approximately 192 pesos. Wow.
As we got ready to check out, we realized we had a problem. Unfortunately, I had run out of pesos, and was left with nothing but American dollars and traveler's cheques. Not a problem of course, my memory made me believe that most large stores in the Philippines would take American dollars, and of course any legitimate business on the planet will take a travel's cheque.
Now, in the USA, forgetting your checkbook, cash, or credit card isn't unusal. I see it happen all the time. But in the Philippines, especially when you are big, white, and stick out like a sore thumb, you really don't want this to happen, as it is not the norm.
But, it happened, and there was no getting out of it. So, a blushing Annie Lou asked the clerk to hold on to our groceries for us, and we headed out to get the money exchanged or find a bank to cash the traveler's cheques. Simple enough.
After an hour, three tricycle rides, and walking about ten miles, we finally were able to get the money exchanged, but we couldn't even find a bank to trade in the travel's cheques. Madness. But, we rushed back to the market to pick up our food. We were under the gun, of course, we not only had to get back before they thought we abandoned it, but we also had a boat to catch in a matter of hours. Life was good, but hectic at the moment.......
Though this incident was quite insignificant and funny at the time, little did we know it was only a glimpse of what was ahead for us in the future. And did we take the warning to make sure we had an ample amount of pesos seriously? Of course not! What happened to us later.... well you' ll just have to come back to find out...... But you will soon see, we did NOT learn our lesson.
We finally made it back home, and while we finished getting our things together, papa hailed us a taxi. Since he had to go into Metro Manila himself, he jumped in and escorted us to the dock. Nearly an hour later, after heading entirely through Metro Manila, passing the American Embassy and other beautiful landmarks, we arrived at the docks.
Security to get on the boat was madness. It took three times as long, and was much worse than any airport I've ever been in. But eventually, after having our bodies and bags searched half a dozen times each, we were in line and boarding the boat.
We spent the majority of the evening on the top deck, taking pictures and listening to the music from the bar. It was nothing less than spectacular, sitting in the deck chairs overlooking the railing and into the dark ocean. Though there wasn't a lot to see, it was beautiful. And Annie, standing on the deck with her hair blowing in the wind... well nothing could be more beautiful than that. Life was good, still.
Then something unfortunate happened.... After a few hours sleep, I woke up with a horrible rash on my feet and hands. Thinking at first it was some bug bites, we ignored it, until it continued to get worse. But not to fear, there was a doctor on board. Or was there?
We walked to the information center and was directed to the on-board clinic (what do you call a doctor's office on a boat, an infirmary?)... When we arrived, we knocked, and was greeted by one of the boat crew members and invited inside.
The first thing I noticed was the witch doctor mask hanging on the wall, along with several other native type artifacts. None of which a westerner wanted to see in a place he was about to get treated, hahaha!
Eventually, after the crew member going back and waking him up, the doctor appeared, bed hair and all. After taking all my information and looking at the rash, he wrote me a prescription and sent us on our way. Then it was down a couple of decks, to the pharmacy, then back to our cabin.
The diagnosis after all this? The same thing I had assumed: Food allergy. Yet he was specific and blamed it on the chicken I'd had on the boat for dinner the night before. Grrrrr, no more chicken for me on this trip, unless of course I could sneak some with Annie not looking. But not likely, she is a hawk when it comes to watching what I eat. Grrrrrr.
Annie and I went to breakfast, goofed off for a few hours, then had lunch, then goofed off some more. Once again, it was a great day to be lazy and just enjoy each other's company.
I've never had a single doubt about the way I feel about Lot Lot. I fell in love with her the first time we ever spoke, and not a day goes by that she hasn't said or done something to make me love her even more than the day before. This cruise was no exception.
The time alone was spectacular, just the two of us face to face with no interruptions, no particular place we had to be, nothing. It was just us and all the time in the world, so it seemed. We talked for hours upon hours about everything you can imagine; the past, our futures, and what the world might have in store for us, as both individuals, and a couple.
And though we had done it before, we made firm commitments to one another face to face that we would always remain faithful, and always be strong and patient no matter what obstacles might come our way, especially those that might make it difficult for us to be together. There was no doubt this was the place that sealed our fate together once and for all, forever.
Then we just let time pass and enjoyed ourselves until we reached the port at Cebu City.
This was a great cruise, and I enjoyed it more than I ever imagined I would. It was literally a life changing experience for both of us.
But oh, the chaos that was to ensue...... Hahaha!
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