Thursday, March 27, 2008

Daily Report: Neighborhood Party

I had a much better day of work. It does my soul good to be on the upswing in the work category. Part of moving to The Philippines was the thought that with fewer distractions (and God knows, Pattaya was the world capital of distractions), I would get more work done. I was quite surprised when at first that didn't seem to be the case.

I sent Susan to the market to buy fish again to see if she could fine-tune the fish recipe that she had tried yesterday. It was a bit better the second time around (along with the Spanish rice), but still a bit over-cooked.

I had called my friend Ross today to see if he wanted to do something tonight, but instead he invited me to a party that was being held in my own neighborhood by another new arrival to Cagayan De Oro, a fellow named Mike, a retired farmer from Montana. So, early in the evening, Epril and I got dressed up and went to this party.

My new friend Montana Mike
and his girlfriend.
The party was being held at a bungalow about a 5 minute walk from my house. It wasn't Mike's own house, but his girlfriend's aunt's house. What a weird place it was, looking like something out of a Tim Burton movie, with hundreds of animal taxidermy victims, an intimidating collection of knickknacks that seemed to crowd in on you, and even a mannequin dressed like a biker babe... whatever on earth that was about. The yard outside was no less interesting, with a Gothic jungle theme going on, as trees and choking vines lurked ominously overhead, and the gaping maw of a 6-foot-deep turtle pit threatened to swallow any who came near. The ladder-like jagged cement steps leading to the car park, where I joined the other expatriates only added to the garden's vertical menace. Two caged eagles, not yet stuffed, watched me with large yellow eyes as if I were a mouse, and screeched angrily at the chicken wire keeping their monstrous claws from my face.

Well, at least the human company was nice: I joined Ross and my new friend Montana Mike, as well as expatriates Bob and Ronnie... two other fellows I had met earlier this month at a Spooks Friday night dinner. We sat around and chatted about living in Cagayan, mostly.

Local kids swimming in the river.
At about 8:00 or so, we all headed home. In Cagayan, it appears that that is right about quitting time for anything exciting. The hours after 8:00 seem to be reserved for quiet time with the family, with bedtime rarely coming after 11:00 at night... if that late at all.

Like I said, very few... maybe too few... distractions.

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