Friday, January 05, 2007



Squatter communities are everywhere. People live on the train tracks, the grassy road medians, any place where they can put together cardboard, rice sacks, tarps or anything they can find to make four walls and a roof. These are the kids that grow up in them. The kids are so adorable it makes me ache to see their wretched living conditions.


I have to go all the way to the Philippines to find my name popular. Out of these 100 kids two were named Danica. I don't know why considering it's a Danish name not Spanish. Odd.


I have no stomach for balut a delicacy of boiled duck embryo. Fortunately Steve had the iron girded esophagus that could keep this baby down. He described it as slimy similar to eating oyesters. He didn't chew it just swallowed it whole with a dash of salt.

Sights and Smells

To and Fro

Intro to the Philippines

This photo gives but a hint of the general melee that is Manila traffic. I don't think they have a concept of right of way, but I could be wrong. You'll notice that as we are driving straight ahead cars are turning to the left and the right of us at the same time. To help with congestion they've removed intersections. Instead, you have to drive past your left turn and do a U-turn. Usually, it's you and three or four other cars all making the turn together into on coming traffic. I can't imagine a traffic light causing more confusion and congestion than a five abreast U-turn.
Steve's Aunt Alice has a unique approach to traffic cops. After making a left hand turn (which is illegal-see above about the u-turn business) and being waved to stop by a traffic cop (they stand in the street making a general nuisance of themselves) she said, "If you stop, then you'll spend all day on the side of road arguing with them." And with that, she sailed on by refusing to stop. Until, that is, they hopped on their scooters and cycles and chased us down forcing her to pull over. She's lived in the Philippines for 36 years and could count on one hand the number of times she's been pulled over. On a previous occasion a cop pulled her over on the baseless accusation that she had passed a car in a No Overtake zone. How could that be, she asked, when we haven't seen let alone passed a single car on this road? She argued her way out of that episode by telling him she was in his country helping his people so he should let her go. And he did. What makes traffic stops so annoying is that they take your license and force you to spend a day retrieving it after paying a large fine. Gov't bureaucracy...gotta love it. Can't blame her for ignoring the buggers.