Sunday, April 02, 2006

April Fool's Weekend

After a week that for whatever reason tired me out more than usual, Tim and I really wanted to not have too hectic of a weekend. We managed to accomplish that and also have fun and be productive.

I left work much earlier than usual - a little after 5pm - to come home and maybe take a nap. Tim was also very tired from a week of sightseeing and exploring. We decided to take a nap and cook dinner later on.

Shortly after dinner, Keysi texted me to ask if I had a second wind. She and Andy and Sam wanted us to join them at the W Room near our apartment for drinks and palutan (snacks specifically for eating while drinking alcohol).

We decided to join them and had a really great time. The place had a mechanical bull which put most US mechanical bulls I have seen to shame. It was much larger and higher off the ground, which is ironic given the short stature of the average Filipino. 4 people who apparently rode the bull for a living took turns on it but otherwise the bull stood idle. The food was also very good...the place doubles as a an-all day family restaraunt when not catering to the liquored up, bull-riding, dance music crowd. We had french fries, onion rings, fried calamari (which also put the state-side version to shame) and chicken lolipops...don't be disgusted, they're just drumsticks with the lower meat shaved off so you can grab the bone to eat them. We (Tim) also had small fish fried whole (heads, eyes, scales, fins). All wonderful with Red Horse and Sam Mig Cerveza Negra.

On the way home, my dear friend from work (who I will not embarrass by mentioning on the blog) bit me... twice... hard. I have noticed that a certain subset of women, ironically myself included, bite people as a sign of affection. Well, normally I do not draw blood, but she had a few Long Island Iced Teas in her and probably didn't realize how hard she was biting me, even as I was screeching for her to stop. Oh well... Love bites from Keysi. (Oops... I said her name) ;-)

In the morning I went grocery shopping for our food for the day and for the week . I ended up going twice to two different grocery stores because I forgot some things the first time.

The grocery shopping trips may seem like a minor detail, but it is actually a sign that I am feeling much more at home here. In Philly, I will often do the grocery shopping myself on Saturday or Sunday mornings if I am home. There are fewer people out at that time and it is peaceful. And this gives Tim a chance to wake up on his own time and do some work on the computer or with his music, etc.

For brunch I made spinach and feta omelets. Then I cleaned all the vegetables and fruits I got (which involves several steps of washing and rinsing with boiled water and a special Veggie Wash solution) and cleaned up the dishes. After this Tim and I spent a few hours by the pool, which was fun- I don't often get the chance to do that. For dinner that night I made a big black bean taco salad with homemade guacamole.

In the morning I made ampalaya, onion, tomato, and spinach omelettes. (Man - I have done a lot of cooking this weekend. I guess next week is Tim's cooking week.)

My friend from work, Sam, and his girlfriend, Ginia, picked us up at 11:00am and took us to Greenhills. Greenhills is another mall/bazaar place where there are great crafts and antiques that we wanted to look at for gifts. I have been very pleased with the high quality gifts we are able to get for people here - hand made items that I think people will really be able to use. I know that it is the thought that counts, and there is certainly nothing wrong with bringing people little magnets that say "Philippines" on it. I guess I just mean it is nice that we are here for long enough that we are able to find the local places with authentic items that hopefully people will appreciate. Many of these items are still produces in large quantities, because the same types of items appear at many of the markets and bazaars, but because they are hand made, they have a unique twist to each one.

One of the things Greenhills is famous for are the pearls. There are stalls and stalls of pearls and beaded jewelry. I'm not a huge fan of the pearls on a string, since I don't think the look suites me. However, there were really amazing things being done with the pearls, and they just looked awesome. Some were hammered flat, some were black, some were colored. It really was beautiful.

[More Pearls!]

Shopping for these gifts is a little like Christmas shopping. I end up with 3 times as many gifts for my sister than for anyone else, because she is the easiest to buy for. I know exactly what she will like with a pretty high rate of accuracy. As I was putting many of the gifts away tonight, I held up a really intricate beaded necklace and Tim goes "Someone really funky is going to have to receive that." And then I realized that I was picking out every jewelry gift in the style of Jen and I. So, I'll have to either hope all my other lady friends have an open mind or Jen will have a lot of jewelry ;-)

The other gifts we've been pretty well rounded in their distribution. It is hard not to tell you all some of the beautiful things we have found, but I'll have to wait so that it is a surprise!

After the shopping we went to the Corinthian Spa, owned by Sam's uncle, and had massages in the couple's rooms. That was a very nice way to end the day!

When we returned home, I made a huge fruit salad out of the fruits we had gotten during the day and Tim made grilled cheese. Now we are stuffed and will get ready for bed soon.

[Fresh pineapple and flavorful watermelon in April? Go halfway around the world and you got it!]


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