Monday, July 31, 2006

We Will or We Won't...

As a break here at the mid-point of our Top Ten list, I will stop and address a common question we heard during our 2 week visit back in the States: "Is there anything that you're going to miss once you leave the Philippines for good and get settled back in the U.S.?".

Understood, this cannot be fully answered until we have had a chance to adjust back to "normal" life and mentaly/emotional "digest" the experiences of the last 6 months. But what the heck, I'll take a stab at it now and see if our thinking changes at all. Here's a List of Will or Won'ts (the Final Five of the Top Ten will resume!):

Won't Miss: The Pace of Pedestrian Traffic: It perplexed us on our first day, amuses us on good days, enrages us on bad days and will continue to be one of the most infuriating things about attempting to travel from Point A to Point B on foot. I'm just surprised I haven't strangled anybody yet. For the full description, go here. (scroll to number 6)

Will Miss: Mangos: Nothing captures the goodness of natural tropical sunshine like the flavor of a ripe (or unripened) mango. Dried mangos, fresh mangos, mango juice, mango smoothies, mango vodka- whatever it's form, it's delicious. Just please don't substitute it for avacado in sushi!

Won't Miss: Extreme Air Pollution and Incessant Noise: There's a 45-foot distance between the front doors of our building and the entrance to the mall (which is how you get anywhere around here). Traversing that short distance can instantly induce suffocation and/or deafness. We're not even sure what the whistling and honking is for....

Will Miss: Speaking Freely About Our Minority Status and Other Racial Themes: Someone asks how to spot Kendra in a crowd? "Just look for the tall, White Girl". Why haven't we ordered food yet? "Just waiting for some Filipino's...they're on a different time".

Won't Miss: The Sex Industry: 50-year old white guys with 12-year old girls and embarrased prostitutes in the elevators.

Will Miss: Friendly Staff, Security and their Dogs: As intimidating as they may seem at first, the Guys With Guns are actually quite nice and their dogs are aloof. And I'll miss being referred to as "Sir Tim" (pronounced "Surr Deem") a dozen times a day.

Won't Miss: Mall-Worlds: They're everywhere and they're all the same- sucking the uniquiness and creativity out of the culture here with bland vanilla Western chain stores with mannequins of 6-foot-tall anorexic blonde American women in their windows. Give me a place like Tiendesitas or Quiapo any day.

Will Miss: Overly Exuberant Grocery Baggers: Although the grocery shopping experience itself can be a bit daunting, there is never a shortage of excited young men scrambling over each other to help Kendra bag her groceries and cart them the 2 blocks back home and up to our room. This was always is very helpful and we will miss it!

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