The first two days…

I’m up and at’em this morning.  Finally feeling better after 8 hours of sleep last night.  As I mentioned, yesterday was a shopping and goofing around day.  We are taking another day, today, to relax and plan our next move.  We are thinking about taking off to Bohol or siquijor on Sunday or so.  The next planned stop is at Dick and Susan’s on Negros.  That will be sometime around 6-8 December.  So we have a little over a week to goof off and see the sights.  Praxy come up with a great idea last night.  We have 4 suitcases weighing 50lbs each to take to Manila for friends and family.  We are going to go pack light and return here to pick up the luggage when we are ready to go to Negros.  It will be a hassle yarding that heavy stuff around, but once we get on the ferry to Manila, our problems will be about over.  There are always plenty of porters willing to help haul things around for a tip.  I think Americans tend to either not tip or tip better than Filipinos.  I tip on the high side.  Most of these people have little money and many family members to feed.  It’s hard for me to take “budget traveling” seriously when there are so many people nearby working hard for a modest living.  It irks me to see Americans being such tightwads, help the locals out!

Praxy and Jean are going back to SM today.  Praxy forgot to get her facial cleanser after she paid for it.  You get the box, then get the contents at the front of the store.  The lady mentioned it to us, but I forgot.  I’m simply not used to customs here.  It will be a nice outing for the ladies.  I’m going to tell Praxy to get Jean something nice for a gift.  She and Lyndon are such nice people.

Anyone see the FB post?  Well here he is and this is what he is up to.  We were walking down the street for a little exercise and he was just off of the main road working away at…

What you see in the foreground and to the right are a large amount of highly explosive fireworks.  Obviously, this man was in charge of mixing the powder batch and hauling the finished product out into the sun to dry.  Those chemicals are highly toxic.  A story comes to mind to me from the Wizard of Oz.  Buddy Ebsen was originally cast to be the tin man, but he had a violent reaction to the aluminum dust that he was coated with for his costume.  He was hospitalized, and had to be replaced by Jack Haley.  The costume was redesigned.  Not for the Philippine “Tin Man”.  I wonder how long until his health fails?

It’s raining off and on today, so he has a day off.

There are a large number of caged small animals around the house and that mystery was solved when the boys came home from school.  Wes was polite, but he immediately disappeared into his room.  The other son came home and a whole new world opened up.

Andrew is in college studying to be a wildlife biologist.  He has a pet hermit crab (and a scar from the pinchers on his finger to prove it), a praying mantis, two turtles, an aquarium with three large fish, and…

Philippine Toko2 Philippine Tokos.  Tokos are a large geckos indigenous to tropical Philippines.  They have about the most surly disposition of anything I’ve seen outside of a salt water crocodile or badger.  Handling them takes either great skill or heavy gloves.  That mouth is huge and full of razor sharp teeth.  A bite equals a trip to the doctor for a tetanus shot if you are lucky.  Stitches or minor surgery and stitches with the tetanus shot if you are not.  Certainly not the cuddly, friendly little animal like the ubiquitous GEICO gecko we all love (or hate) in the US.  I’ve only seen three in my trips here.  The other one…

The young man that caught this one had rigged a fishing line harness on it so he could more safely handle it.   The harness is a little masterpiece of creativity, blow up the photo and enjoy the artwork.  This little sucker was meaner than a junkyard dog, growling and lunging at me as I tried to get the photo.  Yes, tokos growl when angry, it’s high pitched.  NO WAY I WOULD GET CLOSE!  This picture is from the Camotes Islands in 2005.  (Addition 01/29/2012-I’ve gotten conflicting reports on the hazards of dealing with tokos.  Some people have told me they are relatively easy to handle and have no teeth.  But I saw the scars from the “toko bite” on my first trip.  And the harnessed one lunged at me mouth agape.  I don’t know what to make of this paradox.  Perhaps the person in question was bitten by a young water monitor, a lizard that certainly does have a mouth full of sharp teeth.  I DO know tokos are very aggressive and best left alone unless you have on good leather gloves or are an expert at handling recalcitrant reptiles.  Let’s leave it at this.)

Andrew is an interesting and engaging, he speaks almost flawless English.  Always has a smile on his face, his passion for animals is endless.  His goal is to travel and study plants and animals (ecosystem biology) throughout the world.  I hope he reaches his dreams and goals.  One more photo and I’ll move on.  While we were chatting on the porch last night, we had a visitor wander in.  I’ve seen these things in zoos, but not in person.

Rhinoceros beetles look formidable, but they are harmless plant eaters according to Andrew.  They prefer flower petals to fingers.

While I was writing this, Praxy and Jean took of to the SM mall.  We bought some cosmetics yesterday, but the box was empty.  You pay for the box and get the contents in the front of the store.  Theft prevention, but it’s a pain to us tourists.  I scurried outside to take a picture of them leaving the house.  5 pesos, about 12 cents, gets you a five minute ride to the main drag in a pedal tricycle.

Left to right-Lyndon, Jean, Praxy, and the powerplant.  I didn’t ask his name and it’s not important to me unless we ride with him several times.  There are about 50 tricycle drivers within 1/4 mile of us, I can’t keep track of them.

Lastly, a photo of down town Lapu Lapu city.  We stopped at a pharmacy on the way to the mall.  Traffic in Lapu Lapu is heavy and smelly.  Lots of two stroke motorcycle/tricycles spewing out fumes.  Our lungs cycle the dirty air in and clear air out, sigh.

Chona’s van parked along side the street.  It is a diesel SUV, I think the US needs to import these.  It is a nice, comfortable rig and gets great fuel economy.

Andrew and I are going for a walk and see what I can find.   Talk to you all soon and have a great Thanksgiving weekend.

About Ken

I am a federal employee that loves to travel. I don't get any time off during the busy salmon tagging season, March through November. So, I save my leave and explore the warmer parts of the world during the winter.
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