Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tae Kwon Chicken

Last night (Wednesday) Kendra and I had dinner at Pasha in the Greenbelt 3 Mall, along with Keysi and her friend Tenten. We sat at an outside table, overlooking the Geenbelt Park and the cathedral. It had been a really hot day (it’s been in the mid to upper 90’s for the last couple weeks), but a nice breeze was blowing across the park.

The food was excellent, consisting of a nice Mediterranean platter of hummus, tabuoli, eggplant and pita bread. I had a fantastic shitake mushroom soup served in a deliciously flaky pastry bowl before my roasted chicken entrée. Kendra was served a fantastic Bloody Mary, seemingly made with freshly pureed tomatoes- not from canned mix. We had a great time together with Tenten and Keysi and will definitely be back there for dinner again.

[Overlooking the Greenbelt]

In other news, our second Tae Kwon Do session went well yesterday morning. I was able to make through the entire hour with going white in the face, dropping to my knees and feeling queasy. This was most likely due to heeding our instructor’s advice for me to actually eat something before I came down and started kicking and punching things.

We both really like the class- it’s a lot more physical than the aikido course I took in college, Kendra’s complaints are that the technique’s of Tae Kwon Do are inherently much more natural to someone of our instructors size (slightly over 5 feet) and that it’s hard to strike as quickly as someone with limbs half the length of yours. For this reason, the instructor often gives Kendra a hard time – “more power!”, “faster!”. Also, some of the exercises are notoriously difficult for women – such as the no-hands, elevated crunches we do and some of the movements which require a male body's center of gravity. However, it was still good to give it a shot and learn something new.

Today is Maundy Thursday. Back in the U.S., this would not mean a whole lot to us, other than that it is Easter season and the stores are full of stuffed-animal rabbits, egg painting supplies and tooth-decaying marshmallow chicks. Here in the Philippines it’s a whole different story. I walked out of the front door of our building around 9am to the scene of a ghost town. No cars, no taxis, no jeepneys, no shoppers, no traffic police with whistles- nothing. Dead silence and nothing was moving. No businesses were open and the streets were clear.

[On any other day, I would be killed instantly standing in this, notthing but crickets]

[Where'd everybody go? Empty streets and boarded up street vendors]

I took a walk around the area to observe this bizarre unearthly calm that had descended on the normally loud, chaotic and vehicle-packed Makati streets. Several closed-up businesses still had their shotgun-armed security guards stationed outside their doors, but they had all resigned to sitting on chairs and reading newspapers. I wandered over to the jeepney depot area by Pasay road, where usually 15-20 smoke-belching jeepneys are lined up waiting in turn for passengers. Today there were three. Lacking any work, the drivers were very friendly and talkative and wanting to show off their heavily customized works of vehicular art to me. I learned today that although there’s no way a Filipino-style jeepney would be street legal in the U.S., there are several that operate in Las Vegas. Who knew?

[Airbrush Art on a Jeepney]

[When driving in Manila, you need all the help from God you can get]

After talking with the jeepney drivers, I headed back in the direction of home. As it turns out, the city takes advantage of this vast exodus of humanity by doing all sorts of maintenance work that normally would be next to impossible. I saw guys washing down sidewalks, painting drainage grates, re-painting parking lines and concrete planters as well as this truck full of guys heading somewhere to work.

[Another benefit of the sudden absensce of thousands of exhaust-belching vehicles is a complete lack of smog. Normally, by mid-morning, a haze of smog would be blanketing the city. Today the view out our window is the clearest its ever been.]

Tonight we are having Chris (a partner with Accenture) and his wife Colleen over for dinner. They have both been tremendously helpful during our time here and we will be sad to see them leave to go back to the U.S. next week (after being here for 2 years now and haven given birth to one of their 2 children while in the Philippines). I was able to tour Binondo and Queapo with Colleen last month as well as visit the amazing American Women’s Club Bazaar. We are very appreciative of their generosity, energy and willingness to share their knowledge of the area.

Kendra, of course, took it apon herself to create a feast. Being a vegetarian, it’s tough enough to buy, clean, prepare, season, cook and serve chicken or fish even when you’ve got Whole Food’s Boneless & Free Range right down the street. In a foreign country with sketchy-at-best food prep standards, however, this situation goes to new and extreme levels. I brought home two packages of chicken breast from SM yesterday. Today, after smelling the contents and seeing the amount of blood, skin, bones, necks and other random body parts included in the packaging, Kendra donned rubber gloves, a mask (complete with peppermint oils) and a sharp kitchen knife and valiantly trimmed out the nastiness and came away with a dozen edible sections for our dinner. Much props to her for dealing with what she won’t even eat!! We'll let you know how the final result's in the oven as we speak!


At 9:34 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Hi guys! I am so excited that you are taking Tae Kwon Do lessons. Don't worry, you will get the hang of it soon and realize it is an awesome stress reliever! Kendra - something I learned is to try to stay on your toes and shift your weight slightly (sorta bounce). It helps you move faster in general. But you are right, it is definitely harder for someone who isn't short and isn't male! As you get stronger you will be both faster and more powerful. Tim - glad you are feeling better! I was worried!

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Lame Shrill Owl said...

So, what is Maundy Thursday all about then?

At 7:35 AM, Blogger Tim & Kendra said...

From Wikipedia:

In the Christian calendar, Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, is the Thursday before Easter, the day on which the Last Supper is said to have occurred.

The Middle English word Maundy, used only in this context, derives from Old French mandé from Latin mandatum novum do vobis, "a new commandment I give unto you, love one another as I have loved you" (John xiii:34), words spoken by Jesus to the Apostles after washing their feet in preparation for The Last Supper. Foot washing is increasingly popular as a part of Maundy Thursday liturgies in many churches. Washing of the Feet has been a traditional component of the Armenian Orthodox Church.

In the Philippines, a popular Maundy Thursday tradition is the Visita Iglesia (Church Visit), which involves visiting several Churches at which the faithful commemorate the vigil that the Apostles kept while Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. The last Mass before Easter is also celebrated on Maundy Thursday, usually including a reenactment of the Washing of the Feet of the Apostles; this Mass is followed by the procession of the Blessed Sacrament before it is taken to the Altar of Repose.

At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, the mysterious chef hides behind the mask of the red chicken! Again- wouldn't cheeseburgers be easier?? You could still pile on the veggies- lots of tomatoes, lettuce, onions, etc! Sorry Kendra Jo, I got carried away, I just don't know what I was thinking! Tonight we go to the Sight and Sound presentation of "Behold the Lamb" after we eat at Outback- and while we're at Outback I'm going back to the kitchen to see if you're there to work on the chiken and steak! Perhaps once you get further in your Tae Kwon Do lessons your hane will be able to take care of that meat without the knife or the mask! Love you much- Mr. Grizzzly


Post a Comment

<< Home