Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Paradise, Pleasure and Poverty

The first night in the Philippines we decided to stay in the hotel as there was nothing nearby and it was already pretty late. We ended up having pitchers of frozen margaritas at the hotel bar and marveling over the fact that there are limes in the Philippines. Question: if Korea is always importing mangos from the Philippines, why can't they get limes?! The first expat bar to figure this out will make a killing on Corona and margaritas. Right now I'm chowing down on Oreos and procrastinating really diving into this blog entry. I love writing about day to day life but sometimes writing about vacations is tedious. It feels more like a detailed itinerary than writing.
The next morning we got up at 8 and took advantage of our lovely free breakfast, chock full of fresh fruit, eggs, pan cakes, strong coffee and juice. Holiday Inn has a lot to learn on what a free breakfast should have. Being based in a 3rd world country probably helps keep the prices down though. We ended up at a resort, Plantation Bay and spent the day in the sun and swimming. There was everything we needed, a swim up bar, lounge chairs, sand, palm trees, the works. There is virtually no public beach access in the Philippines. While this ensures that beaches are clean and well looked after it also ensures that the poor have no beach access. On less politically disturbing terms, I got to gloat about the fact that I did not come away from day 1 violently red as I used sunblock that was not SPF 4. I generally try to avoid the whole pain and cancer thing, tans be damned. In any case, I still got some nice color though I did get burnt on my left shoulder (which I seemed to have missed on my first application of sunblock) and a tiny bit on my nose. Silly protruding appendages! After a day in the sun we headed back to the hotel to take a nap and get ready for a night on the town. Only, when I'm in a foreign country I am much too excited to possibly calm down enough for a nap. As the Birthday Girl mentioned, I was definitely the puppy dog of the group. Also, strangely enough I was the youngest in our group by a few years. the Birthday Girl was celebrating her 26th, making me the baby by a good 3 years. I guess a lot of people don't decide to pack up and leave everything they know straight out of college.

That night we headed down to Mango Street for dinner and clubbing. Dinner was fantastic as was clubbing but it was horribly depressing to see the poverty all around. Worse than the little kids begging was seeing them passed out on the street. You'd like to do something but there isn't anything to do. I try to turn off my brain but it doesn't stop the images from haunting me.
Day two we went island hopping, a private boat for the 6 of us, 4 crew. I got to go snorkeling for the first time in my life (using flippers and a mask in your friend's pool when you are 8 doesn't count)! It was SO COOL an much more fun than diving since you weren't so worried about breathing. If you got a little water, you just sat up and fixed your mask or tube or whatever it was. Something about seeing such beautiful fish and coral makes you marvel at the beauty an the sanctity of life. I wish one of us had an underwater camera but at least I have the memories. Besides, if I had a camera I would have been more concerned with taking the perfect picture instead of just enjoying the experience. I should be writing pages upon pages about these 2 days but to be perfectly honest, I'm tired and cranky this evening and not in the mood to be prolific. In short, I had one of the best weekends of my life and feel blessed to be alive. I'll appease you, dear reader from the lack of interesting stories with more pictures. Sound good? It had better, these 10 mega pixel pictures take a lot longer to upload than the 3 mega pixel variety.


I hate the blogger way of uploading pictures. IT MESSES WITH THE FORMAT AND GENERALLY MAKES ME ANGRY. ....
More pictures in a separate post.

8 comments:

Nancy K said...

Gorgeous! I of course love the pictures of you. Talking with you is just not enough I have to see you occasionally.

Luis said...

you know... it was long enough of a blog, the pictures did the rest of the talking for you. Next time i see you, if you have your camera i'll show you a good setting to have smaller file sizes and pictures still big enough to enjoy the details and post.

thanks for sharing

Rachel said...

Love the pictures of "island girl" Alex. You look awesome and relaxed and more. I was wondering why we didn't get any blog entries this past weekend (now I know). Thanks for sharing.

Jessica said...

. . .Jealous!!!!!! . . . that is all.

Salsa Boy said...

So for my first comment on your blog I shall deliver four:

1) Aside from Corono and Margaritas, Negra Modelo and Mexican food... Korea really needs limes!!!
2) The picture with you sitting on the deck: Looks like absolute paradise! Oh, and the scenery is pretty nice, too.
3) The picture with you next to tree: I've never been jealous of palm trees before now. Well, there was this one time when i saw how many coconuts they had...
4) I went snorkling in Puerto Rico a ocuple times, and I know the feeling - a)memories can sometimes be more vivid than underwater camera photos; b) the sanctity of life - makes me realize I need to see the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, since it faces extinction -- (said to be 'mostly' dead by 2050, even if we do start reducing CO2 in the air)

Hope that suits you well. Oh, and I second Jessica's motion of "Jealous!!!!!"

Josh said...

i'm gonna have to go ahead and say that I'm also jealous little one! looks like paradise. love the pictures, we need to talk soon!

Alex said...

Thanks for all of the comments! I love comments. Be jealous! The Philippines was probably one of the best weekends of my traveling life. Of course, all of you Americans can gloat in the availability of milk free cheese and limes...

Josh said...

yah..... i think i would trade the milk-free cheese & limes.....