Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Daily Report: Cats and Fish Bowls

This new neighborhood does have a propensity to get me out of bed in the morning. The 7:00 hour is definitely one of the noisiest, with everybody (and the chickens and the dogs and the birds) getting their day started.

Mom and Dad Gontinas, plus Kirko and Susan have been spending 10 hours per day just puttering around the house cleaning and arranging. The place is really starting to look nice. Kirko is a godsend because he is the only person besides myself who can operate the scooter, so he can drive everybody around town on chores. He's of great character as well: He dropped out of college so that his family could focus their efforts on his older brother's college education. Every piso I'm giving him, he is giving to his brother as well.

I made another panorama photo, this time standing at the intersection in front of my house. The time was approximately 10 a.m. (It's a large photo at 5 megabytes and 1000 by 5000 pixels, so that you can see the details when you click on it. Cancel that: Blogger seems to have shrunk it without my asking.) The first street farthest to the left is pointing south, then west, north, east, and then the last street is the same as the first... a complete circle.

Epril and I bought our wedding rings in Thailand, and they are solid 24-carat gold. Over the past 5 months, my ring has — through a combination, I assume, of body heat and pressure — bent to a triangular shape. It's starting to bug me. I'll have to take it to a jeweler and have it straightened out. Hopefully they can work with solid gold.

I definitely like the evening hour most in the new house... here in my new office. When the sun sets to my left, all the trees in front of me and to the right of me really pop in color, and the hundreds of shades of green all become really vibrant. It is also the time that the neighborhood seems to slow down a little bit, and people just stop to talk or sit, waiting for dinner. It's tranquil and vivid at the same time.

I've lived in seven houses in Asia prior to this one, from a $2,000 per month mini-mansion (for a year in 2005) to a $200 per month studio apartment (for 2 months in 2003). One thing about all of them is that they were private and secluded... either by tall walls, lots of hedges, an untrafficked location, or height. This house is the exact opposite. My apartment building in New York City saw less daily foot traffic than this house... and those New York passersby weren't nearly as intimate in proximity or aura. It's almost as if you and everyone else are living on a narrow shopping promenade, occupying glass-walled storefronts. I'm sure many... maybe even most... Americans would find that off-putting, but I kind of like it: It's the same feeling you have when your house is filled with family.

At night, the local clowder (word of the day, kids) of cats has been making a stealthy procession back and forth through our yard, past the sliding glass doors where I watch television. Tonight's movie was, fittingly, "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" on Turner Classic Movies, which I had never seen before. I had lechon manok (bar-be-que chicken) for dinner, while the rest of the family also ate fish as well. Our weekly food expense after the move, as expected, has remained just about the same; however instead of spending $10 or $15 on restaurants two or three times per week for Epril and myself, we are spending $6 or $8 per day on feeding 10 people. I don't mind that in the slightest.


Tom N said...

I think it is a nice neighborhood. Would you say that it is middle class?

Jungle Jil said...

Hi Tom,

I would think, as one would define the middle class here in The Philippines, yes, this is a middle-class neighborhood.

CT Dunn said...


I'd get a 10 or 14 carat gold ring, 24 carat is just too soft. You'll have this problem - 'til death do you part.

I presume it is a band sans diamonds.

CT - Lubbock, Texas

Jungle Jil said...

Yes CT... just a gold band. Epril's is holding up well enough, but that is probably because she wears it next to her engagement ring and doesn't have her hands pounding away at a keyboard all day long.

I don't think Epril and I can trade in our original wedding bands for different versions. That seems a little sacreligious or something.