Look! It's our stuff!!
What a relief this sight was! After 10 days and 9,000 miles of various modes of transportation, 11 cardboard boxes full of our belongings showed up at our front door this morning. Much kudos to the MI Group for an amazingly smooth, efficient and proffesional operation from start to finish. 3 guys came up and unpacked our things, as I checked off the boxes and Kendra checked the individual items off her spreadsheet. Everything arrived in one piece and functioning (today's post is being written on our Gateway desktop PC that miraculously booted up and accessed the internet! Not realizing that our outlet at the desk was controlled by the light switch on the wall, I was about to toss the PC out the window until Kendra brought her level-headed perspective to the sitution. I have zero faith in consumer-grade electronics and even less faith in those running Windows).
As we were unpacking our things and putting them away, I noticed some activity on the roof a parking garage that's visable from our 10th story window (probably about 150-200 yards away.) Now I've had this view for about 2 weeks now, and I've never seen anybody or anything on the top level of this parking garage and I couldn't tell what was going on with all these trucks, scaffolding and piping, so I was quite curious. Got out the Canon Powershot S1 with the 32x digital zoom and took this shot:Couldn't really tell with that, so I waited a few minutes then zoomed further in:
It's a homemade, mobile racetrack for radio-control cars, complete with elevated control and observation tower! How cool is that?
Now here's Kendra:
I had a late meeting last night, so I arrived home particularly late, especially given we're still pretty tired from the time change. I went to sleep soon after and woke up around 8. Tim said that I could do the breakfast buffet, since he usually gets to do it (we get one buffet free each day via the negotiated arrangement with my company), so I took the paper and had a nice breakfast. (Those of you reading this who travel for work might identify with how nice it feels to actually spend time at a hotel reading the paper and having breakfast. I never have time to do this on the road, and when I see someone doing it at a coffee shop, I am jealous).
A few minutes after arriving upstairs, our stuff arrived! It was really cool that every item on my spreadsheet was accounted for and undamaged! Down to the last Category: Toiletries, Description: Vanilla Milk, Moisturizing Body Wash, 5.2 Fl. Oz., Quantity 1. We unpacked and put things away and hooked things up, and the place felt a lot more like home. We have items here from almost all of our family members and friends - things we got for Christmas and going away gifts.
In the midst of unpacking, my mom and dad and I got to talk live over AmericaOnLine Instant Messenger. They got a microphone, and we could hear each other like on the phone! It was pretty cool :-) Let us know if any of you have microphones and AIM and we can talk that way too!
After unpacking, we went to run a few errands. We needed another stepdown transformer for the coffee maker and I needed a new pair of sneakers. My pigeony feet tear holes in the sides of all my shoes and they need replaced after awhile. This was my first time mall shopping. We were like a spectator sport, but it was a little endearing. I have to say I have never had 10 people watch me try on shoes and then follow me to the cash register. Of course with an audience, my visa card would choose that moment to be declined. That was embarrassing, but not a huge deal. I used my American Express. I'm pretty sure that my Visa only was declined because they probably thought my card had been stolen with these recent charges in Manila. I logged a question about it anyway. Tim had the same audience at the hardware store and at Starbucks.
This evening I cooked dinner and took care of a few other things. It was a busy day, but a very good day. I think it was the first day I have had in a very long time that was not full of things I was obligated or scheduled to do. I'm not sure most people believe how little time I have to myself. That's probably partially my fault because I do a lot of things. But all the same - I had at least 4 hours today all to myself and it was amazing.
This is Tim again: We've found that some of our electronics can take any voltage in the range of 110-240 volts, so they will work fine in the 220 outlets here, but things like our coffemaker will blow up if given any more than 120. So, hence the return trip to the hardware store. Literally, there were 2 customer service people in every aisle of the store. After 3 people helped me pick out the transformer, a fourth person gave me a small basket to carry it in. On the way to the register, I was approached by a fifth employee, who inexplicably offered me by another basket and all 5 ended up following me all the way to the register.
Because of health concerns, we've been using bottled water to brush our teeth and cook with. Kendra came up with an ingenious solution involving our camping water dispenser. After a long afternoon of boiling numerous pots of water for 5 minutes each, we now have a slick clean water operation for the bathroom.Got that craving for a Big Mac and fries but don't want to brave the insanity of Manila traffic? Just call 24 hour McDonalds delivery motorbikes!