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checking in

back in manila after spending the weekend on bohol, a small island just north of the equator.  will describe in greater detail when i get home and upload photos.

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will keep posts short and sweet; internet here is like molasses.  (but that shouldn’t belie how wired this country is – people here are constantly texting each other; i don’t know anyone in the states who texts as much as the average filipino.)

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i’m doing ok.  not too jetlagged because i pulled an all-nighter the day before i left, while trying to put my affairs in order.  although my epidermal layer is a bit upset: i’m terribly sunburned and mosquito bitten already.  and, i’ve got this infection under a big toe-nail from when i jammed a toe while climbing a waterfall.  fair trade i’d say, given how beautiful that waterfall was.

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my family’s house in manila is so interesting.  it’s filled with old photos that i’m having a great time leafing through.  and, the house itself looks like a photograph that’s been left in the sun for 50 years – the post-WW2 architecture of brightly painted concrete and darkly lacquered mahogany is faded, weathered, and dusty.  still, there are about 9 people living here right now, giving the place plenty of life. 

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although, it should be noted that 3 of those people are maids.  this place is like a plantation – there are people cleaning up after me, doing the errand running, driving the cars, and cooking the food.  back in the states, a lot is made about how the distribution of wealth has a big tail to the right: the top 1% of the population is much richer than everyone else.  here in the philippines, that long-tail also exists, but the distribution also has a giant hump all the way to the left: the bottom 30-50% of the population is profoundly poor.  so poor that the middle class is provided with an ample servant workforce.  our family’s tobacco crop out back is doing splendidly.

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i’m glad i came to see my grandparents.  i was shocked to see how infirmed and feeble they now appear.  especially my grandfather; i just came across his medal from the 1958 pan-asian games.  he won the gold in judo, besting fighters from traditional powerhouses japan and korea.  and, i saw pictures from when he coached the filipino team during the munich olympics.  he looked so strong; today, standing up is a formidible physical test for him. 

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time for breakfast.  over and out.


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One Response to “checking in”

  1. on 24 Feb 2007 at 11:10 pm moxy

    You made it to the Phillipines!! Amazing! Can’t wait to hear about your adventures…

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