3 Month Catch Up
Well I have not posted anything in quite a while. Got busy – got lazy – got distracted – who knows. But it seems to have been 3 months since I posted. Sorry. So to catch up: we had a hurricane, Thanksgiving, Christmas in Manila, New Years, couple birthday parties, and my first PI dental experience – and what an experience it was! So I will try and see what I remember about any of it. If a section starts to get too big I will spin it off into it’s own post.
Here is a short video from my porch. It really just shows some wind. The brunt of the storm missed us and I was not going out in what storm we did have just for video ha ha.
We had very strong winds for a while, then a bit of rain. But nothing too serious. We lost cell phone signal at 1000 8NOV13 and it came back sporadically through night, fairly steady the next day. We also lost power about 1400 on 8NOV13, just came back on at 1600 9NOV13. I was amazed the power was out barely 24 hours. All our food thawed out but nothing spoiled. No damage to the house – even the worn out nipa roof stayed in place. We had one uprooted banana tree and tons of limbs come down. But I was really surprised by the lack of rain. It was eerily quiet then the wind would howl in. After the storm passed we got horrid rain all night from some rain drug behind the typhoon. Down here in Iloilo we did ok. My biggest problem was having no fan… right before the power came back I had finally stopped sweating… not usually a good sign… and was quite dizzy. Got me a good cold shower and felt better, still a bit nauseous… but such is life. Overall we did fine!
We were worried about our family in Barbaza, Antique (near Tibiao). But we got word from them finally that they were all ok. but they had no power or phone signals for quite a while. Father-in-law, in Antique, drove up there and checked on both towns. Their electricity comes from Kalibo so they were messed up for a while. Their cell phones were down for a week, but power was off about 6 weeks. They got electricity back right before Christmas.
Melane’s house in Antique was completely destroyed. It was a small house, 2 rooms, no cr (bathroom), and no kitchen. But because she has a foreign boyfriend and her sister is an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) it was decided by the Barangay captain that she will get no money for it. Kind of sucks but it was only p10,000 they would have given anyway. That is only $230 in real money, so not really a big loss – but still seems unfair ha ha.
A friend’s house in Antique. And this pic really shows the scale of the storm – scary!
I wanted to find a good turkey dinner for Thanksgiving – hopefully with mashed potatoes! So I did an internet search and found an American Association here. I figured that would be cool. Meet a bunch of expats maybe. So I show up and there is one other white guy ha ha. Apparently it is a group of retired Filipinos that worked in the US. They get together for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and 4th of July. That is fine. We still had some pretty good turkey – a little dry, but it was hotel cooked. Mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie. A wonderful Waldorf’ish salad! Only thing missing was green beans. But I have decided they just do not exist over here. So if anyone wants to send me a box of canned green beans… The lady next to me was raving about the salad. I agreed that it was very good. Salad is not very common here. And this was a great lettuce mix, with grapes, walnuts, and mandarin oranges. So almost a Waldorf salad – oranges instead of apples. Anyway as she was raving I said the walnuts were exceptional. She pauses, looks at me, and asks “where did you get walnuts?” I look at her to see if she is kidding… and say “in the salad”. Later, when she gets second helpings of salad she comments that there are in fact walnuts in the salad. She seemed very surprised.
I was amused at one of the prayers (we had at least 3) some lady was saying we thank god for his mercy is turning the hurricane away from us. Which is another way of saying thank god for blasting Estancia instead of Iloilo. So, god in his mercy killed them instead of us. I have never understood that kind of prayer. But you hear them all the time. It is times like this that make the Buddhist of Thailand make so much more sense than the Catholics of the Philippines!
Right before Christmas I had a bad toothache – pretty sure it was abscessed. I go to the dentist in town and he says it is in fact abscessed and needs to be pulled. He must have used his x-ray vision because he sure as hell did not have an x-ray machine in his office. He gives me antibiotics and Mefenamic acid. It is funny, if you read a Filipino medical site they say mefenamic is a super strong pain killer used for after surgeries, dental pain etc. But if you look at a US or European site they say it is a mild pain reliever used for menstrual cramps. Not to minimize menstrual cramps… but this shit don’t do nothing for dental pain! So I go back 2 days later and tell him it is not working. I ask about codeine and he says they cannot prescribe it in the Philippines. Which is odd since it is stocked at the pharmacy. Maybe he can’t prescribe it? Anyway he gives me a scrip for a stronger pain killer – Dolfenal. I go to pick it up and see it is 500mg of mefenamic! The pharmacist assures me it is a brand name so is much stronger than the generic. But isn’t 500 mg of a drug the same as 500 mg of the same drug – no matter what name is on the package? Anyway, 3 days later I go in to get the tooth pulled. He gives me 4 or 5 shots, waits 5 seconds and starts pulling. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most pain imaginable… I have never imagined this much pain ha ha. So he gives me a few more shots, waits a while, gives me some more shots… after 9 shots and 45 minutes of the most excruciating pain imaginable he gives up. He gives me a stronger antibiotic and more mefenamic. Don’t worry it did not go to waste – I gave it to Melane and she used it for menstrual cramps! Luckily I had ½ a bottle of vicodin I brought with me from the US. He sends me into the city for an x-ray. The pic below is the x-ray clinic. Kind of Frankenstein meets WWII surplus. Crazy place, and I probably got a lethal dose of radiation in one x-ray! But it was only p300 for an x-ray ($7 USD). So 5 days later I go back. No pain this time. So the abscess is gone, at least. He drills, cuts, beaks, but eventually gets most of the tooth out. There is something jagged I feel in the bottom of the hole – either a piece of tooth or my jaw. Not sure which. But what do you want for only p300 for an extraction? Yeah, all 4 visits and both attempts at extraction and it cost p300.
Well, over the last month I have had some pain, like a teething pain. So far 5 small pieces of tooth/bone have worked their way out of my gum. Boy ain’t that fun! Cheap is cheap but for my next dental work I may look for a more “western” clinic.
Here is the outside of the x-ray clinic, and the tray at the dentist office. Does this tray give you a boost of confidence? Me either…
Christmas in Manila
Christmas in Manila got a bit long… here is the link to the blog post: https://expatinphilippines.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/christmas-in-manila/
New Years here is kind of like 4th of July in the US. Lots of fireworks! I stopped in Villa, a small town between us and Iloilo, and picked up fireworks. I paid about p1,800 I think. I ended up at 3 different shops and did not really keep track of the cost. About $35 USD so no big deal. For what I got though I would have to say the prices are better in the US. And the quality is WAY better in the US! The best was the Roman candles. The fireball looked like it was being rolled out instead of shot out. They went maybe 6 inches from the tube. Everyone was joking that the Roman candles needed Viagra! I would not have bought so much if I knew I was going to be the only one shooting them off. Everyone else was scared of them – they probably know more about the poor quality than I do. The mortars were a bit odd because the explosive was built into the tube. I bought 3 1/2” mortars. They were awesome! Huge beautiful explosions. But about maybe 20 feet in the air! That was kind of scary. But awesome! I finally gave a bunch to the cousins next door and let them have some fun. On New Years day there is big parties for the kids to play a bunch of games. I took a short video of some of that and here is a link to it:
The dancing is funny. It is like team musical chairs. When the music stops you have to stand on a piece of newspaper. Every time the music stops the paper is folded in half. And if you think bobbing for apples is germy you should try eating an apple on a string ha ha. There did not seem to be much concerned for a clear winner, and everyone got prizes. It seemed to be just for fun.
So that is pretty much up to date. Next month is my one year anniversary of arriving in the Philippines. Melane and I are going to Boracay. Most beautiful beach anywhere! If anyone wants to come visit – we can go to Boracay with you. I pretty much guarantee that will make for an interesting blog entry… So, see you guys next month!
A toilet paper roll to put the spider in perspective.