It was a good trip to the Philippines for the most part. In fact, other than starting and ending my vacation in Angeles City, it was quite lovely. I despise AC and the whole sexpat vibe. Just looking at the old decrepit “whore mongers” (a term they actually call themselves) made me shake my head in disgust. As much as I am down on how trivially I’m living my life, I am so glad that my future will not include being a lonely old man looking for love in all the wrong places.
Which is not to say I didn’t spend a goodly amount of my nighttime hours in the girly bars of Olongapo’s Barrio Baretto. It’s a way to pass the time and I enjoy treating the girls to something a little different from what they are used to. My style is to pass out chocolate (I’m told the bargirls call me “the candyman”), tip the dancers for their efforts, and pick out one or two deserving girls for a lady drink (an overpriced beverage from which they earn a commission) and a little conversation. It seems to make their night and I enjoy seeing them smile.
Of course, it’s one thing to get a little wild on vacation, but I can’t sustain that lifestyle long term once I retire. I expect I’ll visit the “regular” bars for darting events a couple times a week and perhaps limit my role as candyman to only one night. As the prophet has said, man does not live by bars alone.
I mentioned my doctor consult, but forgot to say what that appointment cost me. 400 pesos! Which translates to $8.00 at the current exchange rate. I didn’t do a lot of serious house hunting because I’m not yet sure when I will quit my job, and really I’ll need to be on the ground to make that decision. I did find one place right on the beach. Small one bedroom house, but a huge yard. Only 20,000 pesos a month ($400.00). Eh, when I looked inside though it was just too old and worn out for my first world tastes. Plenty of time to find the right place for me as I don’t intend to live poor in my old age.
Baretto is similar in size to Anjeong-ri, and I was remembered in some places from my previous visits and also made some new friends as well. It is nice to be greeted with “welcome Sir John” or “San Miguel Light, sir?” when I enter a bar or restaurant. I was walking down the main street one evening and a young woman came running up to me and said “John! Glad you are in town. We need a player for dart league tonight!” Heh. Makes me feel kinda at home.
A big difference to Anjeong-ri is the age demographic in Baretto. Hell, most nights I was the youngest fucker in the bar (and by some accounts at least the most handsome). I could get used to that!
Living and eating large caused my belly to bloat and this week’s weigh-in finds me back up to 225 pounds. I intend to work hard at reversing that trend.
Getting back to my current home was not much fun. My 0130 flight was delayed over an hour which made an already long day particularly hellish. I rode the AREX to Seoul Station, cabbed to my old office (where my car was parked) and then started the hour and a half drive to Pyeongtaek. Halfway there I ran out of gas. Well, not my car. Me. I was afraid I was about to fall asleep at the wheel, so I had to pull off the highway and take a power nap. That was enough to get me the rest of the way home.
And now it is on with my not so exciting country life. That won’t stop me for writing about it no doubt. Stay tuned!