Here’s a photo dump from last week’s Philippines adventure.
That’s all folks!
Here’s a photo dump from last week’s Philippines adventure.
That’s all folks!
LCHF=low carbohydrate, high fat
For no particular reason I kept track of my food and beverage intake today:
Lemon juice and water (heated one minute in the microwave)
1 boiled egg (breakfast)
2 hamburger patties w/cheese and ketchup (lunch)
1/2 oz. mixed nuts (afternoon snack)
2 brats w/ketchup (dinner)
5 Diet Cokes
1 bottle of water
It’s my kind of diet because you never have to be hungry. I don’t count calories. For me at least, it is not how much I eat (within reason) but what I eat. Hence, none of the high carb foods I crave and miss but pretty much anything else I’ll put into my mouth.
The walking helps me avoid temptation. I see chocolate or cake and think is it really worth sacrificing three hours worth of walking?
I haven’t been on the scales since I returned from the Philippines. I drank a shit load of San Miguel Light beers and wasn’t as strict on the carb avoidance. Hey, it was a vacation! Plus, I didn’t get the opportunity to walk as much as I’m used to doing. I’ll wait until this Sunday to, ahem, weigh the damage.
Still, folks tell me they can see the difference.
Since I shaved the ‘stache a couple of folks say I resemble Bruce Willis…
Meanwhile, I got screwed yesterday. And not in the good way. In fact, the whole experience left me feeling a little flat. Luckily I made it to the repair shop before I had to break out the spare tire.
Given my temper tantrums in the Philippines, I had to laugh when I saw this on Facebook today:
But here’s one Filipina I do not want to piss off…
But enough about me…
Or as my father used to say “that just frosts my balls”.
Philippine Air was supposed to send a car to take me to the airport this morning. Apparently they sent it yesterday. Philippine Air: Putting the “in” in competence. In front as it were.
I was perturbed by this turn of events but fortunately I had kept some pesos in my wallet for contingencies such as this. Caught a cab at the hotel taxi stand, loaded my bag in the trunk, told the driver to take me to the international terminal at NAIA and we were off. Before we were out of the parking lot I noticed the driver had not set the meter (something I have learned to always check). When I called him on it he said it is 500 pesos to airport. And I snapped, saying (well, yelling technically) “bullshit! it doesn’t fucking cost anywhere near that much!” Then instead of turning on the meter like I had asked, he had the audacity to want to negotiate a price for the trip. I screamed “stop the fucking cab, you’re not taking me anywhere”. He said okay, okay, I’ll turn on the meter. I’m like “bull fucking shit, stop the goddamn cab and give me my bag!” I’m yelling at the top of my voice by now, and for those who have not heard it, that’s really scary loud. My kids never feared spankings as much as they did my “big voice”. I’m sure all the other drivers in the taxi queue heard every word of it. Anyway, the driver popped the trunk, I grabbed my bag and stomped back to the hotel doorman. Who didn’t seem to give a shit, simply asking me if I’d like another cab. Yes, thank you.
I could see the other taxi drivers gathered around probably discussing who was going to get stuck with driving the insane ‘Kano to the airport. In short order a cab pulled up (not the first one in the queue I noticed) and when I hopped in he had the meter on and ready to roll. Clearly he got the memo. After an uneventful ride we pulled into the airport and the meter totaled 126 pesos. Having given all my small bills to the homeless I handed the driver a 500 peso note and told him just give me 300 change. He said he didn’t have any change. Mother Fucker!
Well, I wasn’t going to let him back door me into the 500p fare I had refused the first driver. So I told him to wait while I went for change. Which was easier said than done. I couldn’t get into the airport until I had gone through two layers of security (boarding pass check then bag x-ray). I went through the first and realized that my plan was flawed. Saw a semi-officious looking dude and asked if he could change a 500. He could and did. There was no exit from where I had entered, but the change guy said something to the guard and I was able to go out the in door. Gave the driver his fare and a too generous trip and was on my way again.
While waiting in line to check my bag I did something somehow that resulted in a feeling like I imagine getting stabbed in the ribs would feel like. At first I thought, shit I’m having a heart attack, but since it’s the right side I guessing I pulled a muscle. Still hurts when I move an hour later. Should make for a pleasant flight.
And now I am stuck in the worst international terminal I have ever visited. No restaurants or bars and no where to vape. Free internet though which permitted me to share this rant.
Wrapping up my visit in the not-so-lovely capital city of Manila.
Yesterday afternoon I had some time to kill so allowed myself to be enticed into getting a massage at one of the joints in the mall adjacent to my hotel. The already cheap one hour full body massage was on special for only 180 pesos ($3.83). The masseuse asked if I preferred hard, medium, or soft. I went medium and damn when she was cranking on my back and shoulders it was f’n painful. Of course, male pride wouldn’t allow me to scream in agony so I just lay there gritting my teeth while my torturer said “you have lots of tension”. Anyway, it was mostly good and I feel no aftereffects this morning.
Last night I cabbed over to Makati, the upscale area of Manila. There’s a strip of bars on Burgos Street I’d read about over the years so I wanted to give them a try. Well, I made it to four of them anyway before reaching my self-imposed limit on alcohol consumption. The bars that I saw were all of the “girly” type which I don’t particularly like. The girls get a commission on overpriced “lady drinks” and some of them will outright harass you until you relent and purchase one for them. At my first stop “Shampoo”, I’d taken like two swigs of my beer and the mamasan started in on me to buy drinks for the girls. Told her I’d think about it once I’d finished my beer. She kept on and I finally lost my temper telling her “do you think I’m stupid? Do you think I don’t know how this works? I’ll buy a lady drink if and when I’m ready. So leave me the fuck alone”. .I wasn’t so popular after that and I left.
The next bar was called “Bottoms”. I was happy they had an actual bar in the bar. When you sit alone at a table it is like an open invitation to be besieged by thirsty bar girls. Usually you will be left alone at the bar. Sometimes anyway. Not at Bottoms. Girl stood on my left and another stood on my right (apparently they are not allowed to actually sit at the bar). They weren’t pushy on the drinks though and we engaged in some friendly banter. I eventually rewarded their good behavior with a lady drink for each of them.
Moving on, I stopped in “Dimples”. It also had a bar so I plopped myself down. A couple of gals approached but I channeled Greta Garbo and told them “I want to drink alone”. Surprisingly they actually respected my wishes and I wasn’t bothered again for the duration of my stay. In addition to the drink beggars I also dislike the music played in the girly bars. It’s normally loud techno-pop dance crap which grates on my nerves pretty quickly. Yeah, I know. Kids and their music these days said the old codger. To Dimples’ credit they had a nice mix of tunes played at a reasonable volume. Even a few country songs! I had a nice time there but there was still one more place I wanted to see before I ran out of time (and money).
I had read about Crazy Horse on some of the Philippines forums I frequent and I wanted to see if it was as good as everyone was saying. It is. It had a large stage chock full of very attractive young women who could actually dance. They did choreographed performances every bit as good as those you see in K-Pop girl band videos. And best of all I did not get approached or pestered even once for a lady drink. That’s how it should be, a great selection of girls willing to keep you company if company is what you want, but you have to make the first move. I really enjoyed just sitting there watching the gals dance and chatting with the other customers a bit. When I was ready to depart I walked to the stage and gave my favorite dancer a 100 peso tip for her efforts. Yeah, I’m a cheap Charlie but she seem appreciative of the compliment at least.
Caught a cab back to the hotel with no problem (they’ve got that much on Itaewon at least). Driver got lost on the way and was asking the drunk man in the back seat (me) for directions. I just shrugged and said I don’t know, it’s by a mall. He stopped and asked a trike driver which I guess worked because I did sleep in the right hotel last night.
This morning I enjoyed my last free breakfast and walked to the convenience store for some Coke Zero. It was locked up tight, not real surprising I guess for a Sunday morning in a Catholic country. Across the street in front of the also closed mall was a group of homeless folks laying about on the sidewalk. Most of them were young children. A depressing sight that I don’t expect I’ll ever get used to, and frankly, I’d hate myself if I did get used to it.
I learned a long time ago that it is a fool’s errand to give money to a beggar on the street. As soon as you do you will be besieged by fifty others. It can also be dangerous as I’ve heard of do-gooders being surrounded and having their pockets emptied by the prying fingers of these hungry waifs. So, I just don’t do it. I always feel like a prick when I tell a filthy child “no” when the say “I’m hungry”. After a few days I actually get depressed. Which is one of the things I’m going to have to factor into my decision on whether the PI is a viable re-retirement option for me. One thing I’d consider doing is sponsoring an orphanage with a monthly stipend of some sort. Maybe that would assuage the guilt I feel when I can’t (or won’t) respond to beggars.
Anyway, I looked in my wallet and I still had some small bills amounting to 160 pesos. I walked across the street and handed them to the oldest woman in the group whom I assumed was the grandma. I didn’t technically break my “no beggars” rule because they hadn’t asked, I just offered. Ah well, as I walked away five or six young boys followed me asking me to give them money too. I told them that’s all I have but they persisted in their efforts. I kept moving so as not to be surrounded and finally let loose. “No goddamn it,I told you that’s it. No more!” I used my big voice which put them back on the heels a bit and I made a beeline to the security of my hotel.
All packed up and waiting for my ride to the airport and the completion of my journey back to the first world.
Stuck close to the hotel last night. I checked out the mall and then walked the perimeter of the hotel grounds hoping to find
a bar something of interest. I saw lots of homeless folks sleeping on the sidewalks and the beggars were more annoying than the mosquitoes. Given that I was alone and in unfamiliar surroundings I opted for some canned San Miquel Lights from the local convenience store and drank in my room.
Up early this morning. Got my internet fix then headed downstairs for my free breakfast. Decided to test my luck on the mean streets of Manila. I stuck to the main streets, primarily Roxas Blvd. Which took me past scenic Manila Bay.
I walked from the Century Park Hotel in Malate as far as the EDSA complex in Pasay City and back again. Stopped twice at Jollibee for a large Coke Zero and not so coincidentally two piss breaks.
I’ll probably cab back to EDSA tonight to check out some of the bars I saw there.
Wish me luck!
My flight out of the facist republic of Davao (no smoking/vaping area anywhere on airport property!) left 20 minutes late which was worrisome because I only had a one hour layover in Manila. We arrived 45 minutes before my connection was scheduled to depart. Then waited 10 minutes for the jet occupying our gate to get the hell out of our way.
It seemed to take forever to deplane, but once in the terminal I hightailed it to the transfer desk. They said I could still make my flight, just exit the terminal, turn right, take the elevator to the 3rd floor, go through security and immigration, then on to my gate. Alright then.
Well, they had one guy doing immigration and several people ahead of me in line. Once that was done I was dismayed to discover that gate 11 was at the opposite side of the terminal. I hoofed it over to the gate as fast as my screaming heel would allow and was relieved to see a line of passengers still boarding. Until I saw it was a flight for Busan. WTF?
I asked the gate agent where the Seoul flight was and she said it had already closed. Apparently I missed last call by one frickin’ minute. She said don’t worry, we’ll re-book you on another flight. I asked what about my luggage? She told me it hadn’t made the flight either.
So, a helpful agent walked me back to where I had started and a couple of other Philippine Air folks went to work on getting me rebooked. I declined a flight out at 0100 on Sunday morning, so it will be a Sunday afternoon departure for me. To their credit, Philippine Air is paying for my hotel and meals during this extended layover.
Now, what to do with my weekend in Manila? I have an empty wallet and a suitcase full of dirty clothes. There is a mall behind the hotel though so I reckon I’ll wander over and find an ATM and a couple of shirts. Maybe a bar as well.
I’m a little concerned because immigration stamped me out of the country and no one has stamped me back in. I’ll guess I’ll worry about those ramifications on Sunday…
I had promised Maria a samgyeopsal dinner for her birthday. Once upon a time she had lived in Korea for ten years and she was jonesing for a taste of “home”. I did a quick Google search and found this restaurant which had gotten good reviews:
The restaurant featured this large marquee out front touting the benefits of the Korean diet…
Anyway, we noticed from outside that the tables appeared to have the table-top grills installed. Alas, after ordering we were told the samgyeopsal is prepared in the kitchen. That’s just not kosher.
Ah well, we made the best of it. After dinner we had a traditional Filipino summertime (isn’t it always summertime here?) treat.
So, here in the tropics I wear sandals. My feet are in open revolt…
Yesterday we hired a car and driver for the day (3500 pesos, around $70) and hit all the hot tourist spots in the Davao area. That would be the Philippine Eagle, a WWII Japanese tunnel, and a crocodile farm. I’ll include photos this weekend when I do my full-fledged trip report.
Anyway, on the way back to the hotel from our excursions, we noticed a Korean restaurant right across the street from our hotel. Turns out it is the original Manna restaurant. So we thought we’d try our luck again last night. When we walked in we saw some diners grilling their meat on the table (shuddup!) so we decided to do samgyeopsal as nature intended. After ordering I had a bad feeling, so I had Maria ask our server if the meat would be prepared on the table. He said “no”, so we pointed to the other diners and were then accommodated. I guess table cooking is by request only.
Speaking of kimchi, did you know it is the cure for everything? So says the Manna menu:
My return flight departs Davao at 11:40 and returns me to Seoul via Manila at 7:35. See you there!
Davao City to be precise.
Checked into a hotel that offers wifi in the room so I was pretty damned excited. I have had a technician up to the room twice so far today to get it working. Thought I’d better post while the posting is good.
Speaking of President Duterte, Davao City is his hometown and he’s been the mayor here for quite some time. Davao is known as the safest city in the PI and that is largely due to Duterte’s being strong on crime. By strong I mean that it is said he was not above using
hit squads extra-judicial methods to rid the city of undesirables. Some other things he’s done include closing the bars at ungodly early hours and making Davao City smoke-free. I really dislike nanny-state shit like that but the people in this area are crazy about him.
I got a taste of the police state this morning. I was minding my own business and enjoying a little vaping time when I was accosted by a law enforcement officer. He told me sternly that I couldn’t smoke there. I responded as I always do in such situations “I’m not smoking, I’m vaping.” He seemed unimpressed and took me away…
Anyway, this is clearly a city in which I could never live. Still, I’ve got a full day to kill here tomorrow so I’ll have to find a discreet way to skirt the law. I’ve already designated my hotel room a designated vaping zone.
Tonight it is samgyapsol for Maria’s birthday dinner.
Look for a full trip report with tons of photos when I return home to Korea this weekend.
At least that’s what this sign told me:
Best compliment yet on my new look– Bartender at Srooge Pub said ” I used to call you ajussi (uncle) but now I call you oppa (brother).” Should have shaved years ago!
Speaking of being not quite as invisible as I once was, while waiting to cross the street in Itaewon I caught this group of young ladies staring at me.
With some of that free time I mentioned in my previous post I peruse the reader submissions at a Thai-centric website called Stickman Bangkok. As is common with this type internet venue, the quality of writing runs the gamut of truly awful to “this guy should be making money as a wordsmith”.
I’ve never been to Thailand (yet) but I do enjoy visiting vicariously through the submissions by those who have experienced the Thai life up close and personal. And my favorite writer who frequently posts at Stickman is Steve Rosse.
This story is a good example of his work. It’s a quick read and entertaining. Go now, I’ll wait here for you.
Good stuff, huh? I’m not all that interested in girly bars and whoring around these days, and neither is Steve. Although quite honestly, I’m never quite sure where truth and fiction reside within his work. That doesn’t lessen the genuine pleasure I get from his stories though.
Anyway, a few months back I read this story by Steve called “Cellies” and it was like being hit upside the head with a brick. He had artfully expressed in words something I had been doing frequently in the last few months of my ill-fated marriage–escaping to a better life in a world that existed only in my mind.
I was so moved I felt compelled to send him an email and thank him for his effort. I was a little surprised when Steve wrote me back. In his email he mentioned that if I enjoyed his writing I might consider purchasing some of his published work on Amazon. I told him I most certainly would. But then
I went of my six month bender life intruded and I never got around to it. I did use one of his quotes in a blog post though.
Well fast forward to a week or so ago when I was catching up with StickmanBangkok where I read a submission by Steve called “The List”. And a couple of days later some anonymous asshole wrote a post that started off by attacking Steve and then went off on a rant delving deep into the sewers of misogyny. I was pissed and was working on an appropriate response in my head. I needn’t have bothered, because before I could put words on paper (or pixels in Word if you will) Steve came back with perhaps one of the top ten take downs in internet history.
I sent Steve a congratulatory email and told him his evisceration of “Anus Moony” had finally provided the motivation for me to keep my promise to buy some books. I guess for a writer that’s about the best thank you of all, right?
I’m quite certain these will provide excellent beach side reading entertainment next week.
And what beach might that be you ask? Why, lovely Samal island in the Philippines. Never been to that particular part of the PI, but it looks nice in the pictures.
And that’s about where things stand at this particular moment in time.
Except for this:
Liberal logic. Now there’s an oxymoron for you.
…and it’s ticking away with my sanity.
Saturday morning it was time to see the hilarious Dr. Yu. I walked over to Soonchunhwang University Hospital where he gave me the document I needed to get Blue Cross to pay for last February’s physical. Dr. Yu checked my blood pressure and it is a much improved 135/90. Wrote me a prescription and I was on my way to Namsan.
Got home after three hours on the mountain, showered up, and headed over to Sin Bin for the dart league end of season tournament.
Anyway, I chose not to play in the tournament, but I stayed for the awards and raffle.
I invested W10,000 in raffle tickets and walked away with an expensive dart set when my number was drawn.
I had four Miller Lite beers at Sin Bin then took a roundabout walk to Shenanigans (needed to up my step count for the day). Switched over to gin and sodas and was feeling buzzed and hungry. So I stumbled back home and made a salad loaded with chicken breast on top. The appetite now satiated and since it was only 7:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, I decided to venture back out to the mean streets of Itaewon.
Wasn’t quite ready to start drinking again so I wandered over to the Thai massage joint. A talkative Thai lass rubbed me down with aroma oil for a relaxing hour. And no, she didn’t offer and I didn’t ask.
Feeling refreshed, I walked over to Grand Ol’ Opry where I enjoyed country music and cheap gin and sodas. Left there and made my second appearance of the day at Shenanigans. Turned out to be a very nice time there. Home drunk (again) and in bed by 11:00. Slept with the fan on all night for the first time this summer.
Up bright and early at 0600. Popped a pot roast in the slow cooker and then hit the road for the Han river.
Today’s weigh-in finds me at 223.3, down 1.4 pounds from last week and 45.9 overall. I’ll take it.
And now it is time for a nap.
I was born in California…a.k.a. the land of fruits and nuts.
Anyway, for my lunchtime stroll I walked here:
I so look forward to my Sunday indulgence of a strawberry/banana smoothie. Fuck you! I need to look forward to something for gawd’s sake…
In other news, a hearty congratulations to Ms. Choe, Song Won on her recent promotion! She was my cubicle mate but now she resides in a fine office of her own. She was the selection to fill the vacancy of the late Mr. Kim, Yong-tae.
I’ve been knowing Ms. Choe since she was an intern way back in 2005. Mr. Kim was her mentor and in our last conversation before he passed he told me she was ready to step up. Without a doubt Mr. Kim is irreplaceable. And Ms.Choe told me she was reluctant to apply for his vacancy. I told her that you are the legacy. Mr. Kim worked hard to get you ready to fill his humongous shoes and you should take the job if for no other reason than to honor him. Yeah, I know that was guilt tripping to the max. But she took the job and she is rocking it. I’m so proud of her!
What else? Well, there’s always dinner to talk about…
And that about wraps it up for now…
…went to the barber today…
So this morning I had it in my mind to make up a crockpot full of chili. I browned some ground beef and popped it in the pot. Diced up an onion and added it to the beef. Grabbed my can of pinto beans and the red opener…then encountered mission failure. The gear is stripped or something, all I know is no matter how I turned the handle, the lid was not being opened. Curses!
My solution was to detour from my river walk and pop into the PX for the opener I should have bought in the first place. Chili is cooking now, but I had to go four hours on high versus the preferred 8 hours on low. But enough of my #firstworldproblems.
Yesterday I had the honor to attend the wedding ceremony of Brian and Justina.
Anyway, it was a very nice wedding. Very formal and Christian. Which meant no alcohol on the tables and a long ass sermon (all in Korean). Other than that, no complaints.
There was an after party at Shenanigans in which I marginally participated. Meaning that I scored free drinks from the patio and drank them from my usual seat at the bar. Went home early and hit the sheets.
Up early this morning to no avail as the aforementioned chili plans were foiled by a faulty utensil. So I did laundry then headed for the river.
And home I remain. Waiting on my chili…
UPDATE: Oh, yeah. Minus 3.4 pounds this week. That leaves me at 224.7. Dropped 44.5 pounds overall. When will the belly go away? Stay tuned!
Killed three hours this morning on Namsan.
Next up, Brian’s wedding. Brian is one of the owners of Shenanigans. That makes us practically relatives I suppose.
One of the songs that popped up on my playlist as I walked today put me in a melancholy mood. Your mileage may vary.
Who can say where the road goes
Where the day flows, only time
And who can say if your love grows
As your heart chose, only time
Who can say why your heart sighs
As your love flies, only time
And who can say why your heart cries
When your love lies, only time
Who can say when the roads meet
That love might be in your heart
And who can say when the day sleeps
If the night keeps all your heart
Night keeps all your heart
Who can say if your love grows
As your heart chose
And who can say where the road goes
Where the day flows, only time
Who knows? Only time
Chatting with the daughter tonight about liquidating my American life. Well, my possessions in America at least.
Her stepfather is a handy guy and is going to come in and change the locks and do any fix up work that is necessary. The soon to be departing tenant expressed interest in the living room couch and love seat. High quality leather furniture. Paid around $2500 new but not sure what I should ask. Daughter said she will check “Let it Go”, a Craigslist type website, to see what similar stuff is selling for.
I had to laugh at the name. It’s so perfectly describes exactly what I’m trying to do.
Ha! Look at me, blogging while sober. It’s been awhile.