Strangely Familiar...

Trip Start Feb 27, 2007
Trip End Jun 01, 2007

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Bear with me - the sweat may short circuit my keyboard.  I'm in the Philippine provionce of South Cotabato, on the island of Mindanao.  It's 85 degrees outside, and I'm loving every minute of it.  You suckers in Chicago have it all wrong - you should stick to tropical heat waves and grilled fish.

In the past week, more has happened than I can properly cover here in an update, but I'll try and hit the highlights.

1) While waiting for my trans-pacific flight at LAX, I finally got to see Robert Miller, the Ghost of College Past.  Martin Schilling was also there, as an added, extremely random bonus.  We shared a few beers, a few laughs...if you can believe it, the whole scene felt pretty normal.

2) 14-hour plane rides are terrible - unless you are being served Tiger Beer from the attentive asian stewardesses of Singapore Airlines(tm).

3) The burger and 2 beers I bought in LAX cost twice as much as my first night's stay in Manila, along with a dinner (fish, rice, and San Miguel: Beer of Beers), cab fare to and from the airport, and an hour of internet access.

4)  Cagayan de Oro, on Mindanao, is a great site for river rafting.  I spent day three with a .
friend of the family and some of her colleagues, rocking and rolling down rapids, and sailing past tons of water buffalo and naked kids jumping off bridged into shallow water.

5)  On arrival in Koronadal, I was promptly given a military training course to prepare me for combat against the muslim insurgency.  This is otherwise known as AirSoft, a kind of paintball-sans-paint.

6)  I am staying at the home of a prominent medical family in the area - it's more of a compound, really.  The family owns/runs Doctors' Clinic and Hospital, whose unofficial motto is "No one goes untreated".  It also has a nursing school on the compound.  I spent today with a nursing class, visiting a local Purok (tiny group of families living in pretty impoverished conditions), and will be hanging out with some doctors, etc.  Everyone has been extremely nice, but also a little shy about using English (although they are worlds better than I am at using Filipino or the local dialect).

Finally, I'd like to open this area up to a special segment entitled "Palm Tree Photo of the Week".  The first submission is from the middle of a small pineapple plantation, kind of in the middle of nowhere.  I saw this as I was walking with a nursing class to check on a latrine project they had organized in a very rural community.

In general, things are going really well.  I won't delve into the details of my thoughts and observations for fear of slipping past the border between interesting and pretentious.  I will, however, attempt to have a more pointed focus on my next entry.

Until then, be well...
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ldp on

Re: WTF?
No USB cable as of yet, but I'm planning to pick one up when I get to Singapore - never fear, I have a way to post pics while I'm here in the Philippines, so they should be on in a couple of days. I'm just finding myself lethargic from all the lichon.

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