Break Out the Cigars, We’re Grandparents!


Several posts back I showed you pictures of our displaced tiki gecko eggs from the window replacement project.  Today, we are now happily in the lizard farming business.

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We have a mason jar lid over the incubator so we could see a baby if it hatched.  This morning at 5:30am, nothing.  Later at 9:30am I lifted the lid.  There sat a brand spanking new hatchling.  Quick, lid down before it bolted.  I excitedly called Praxy over and showed her and covered it back up.  Third time I was ready with my camera.  Unlucky for me, the baby was also ready; to escape and it took off like a little scaly rocket.  After some maneuvering, I got a couple of pictures.  No way to pick it up.  It’s far far too small to try to handle.

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On the floor on the front porch.  About an inch and a half, including tail, of speedy, wall sticking, alert, frightened, gecko.  Any false move turned it into a greyish blur.  After these two photos, I scared it into a tiny crack in the joint between our rail and wall on the front porch so it would be safe.

I’ve got four curious little boys looking for it as I type but it is in a perfect hideout.  Not a chance they will find it as I’m not telling them where it is.  Because of a yolk sack, it probably won’t have to eat for a day or two.  I might take it that long to get over the fright of two excited foreigners plus two small boys looking it over.  I blew up the photo on my computer, that is a grain of sand next to the toe on the right back foot.

This little addition to the household is more than welcome.  Geckos are honored guests at our house as they eat bugs off of our ceilings in the evening.  I’ve watched them, tiki geckos don’t like fireflies and leave them alone.

As with all thing in the world, there is a downside to geckos in the house.  One night I got my head crapped on while in bed.  Most of their droppings are pretty tight, but this one was liquid and ucky.  Had to get up and wash my head and shoulders.  Ha ha ha on me.  Only time it’s happened in over a month, so I’m not too concerned about it.  Just a bad break.  Rather deal with that than mosquitos.

I whined this morning to Praxy telling her I was bored.  Not now.  This made my day.  We are going to take some time off to do some fun things.  We are borrowing a motorcycle for a day on Friday night and Saturday morning.  We’re taking Catharine out to dinner as payment for all the assistance she gives us while we are away.  Hopefully, Graham and Rowena get my text and show up as well.  We are planning to spend the night at the Misty Blue Boathouse, then drive up to see a marine sanctuary ran by another of Praxy’s relatives.  We’ll take his motorcycle if Frank doesn’t mind.  And my hand doesn’t act up.

Library is still very busy.  I thought the novelty might wear off by now, but three weeks in and it’s still going strong.

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We have to sign out books for the last two moppets.  Both are too young to write, but not to young to look at pictures and try to read.  They aren’t old enough to be in school so they come over quite a bit.

Some of the more popular children’s books are starting to get a little tattered.  Many are not really high quality and they aren’t up to being read constantly.  At any give time, over half of our inventory of children’s books are out.  And that is after limiting the kids to two each.  I also expect a lot of loss as people here do not know how to take care of books.  Most never get their hands on one.  Schools, other than the grade school here in Asgad, don’t have extra reading material.

I’ve already mentioned that children are not issued textbooks here or anywhere else in the Philippines except perhaps in private schools for the wealthy.  Those books are too rare and valuable for children to even handle.  Teachers are lucky to have one book on each subject in the entire school.  Teachers trade the books back and forth during the day and share notes at night.  Much work is hand copied on to a blackboard for the class to read and respond.

I’m now checking the gecko eggs all the time.   Want to see one come out.  Several times an hour.  A watched pot never boils, but try to convince ME of that adage!

3:30pm on the 13th of January.  It’s been unseasonably warm around here.  Weather like this didn’t show up until March last year 2015.  This morning was brutal, this afternoon has been much nicer because of a sea breeze.  I feel a little useless, but I’m not giving in to running around outside until the sun sets.  Joseppi, an Italian in Burak, had to go to the hospital yesterday because of heat exhaustion.  They sent him home telling him to drink more water.  That has got my attention.  Going to be careful.  He leaves for Italy sometime this next week.  After that episode, he might be looking forward to going home.

8 more days to go in Asgad.  If the weather cools, great!  If not, it could be miserable for me.  Last night was tough sleeping.  I was too warm most of the night and never pulled sheet over myself.  If the power had been out, I doubt if I could have slept much.

Frank is loaning us the motorcycle for a day and a half.  The weekend plan is on!  Yay!

We have a crew outside building a bamboo fence around the place.  Looks pretty good to me.  I’m of no use to the builders, so I’m staying out of the way.  Praxy is supervising.

The builders came to Praxy looking for a “loan”, meaning a gift of money.  To pay for schooling for their children.  School is not free here.  It costs about 1000 pesos a year for their two children.  Must be how the teachers are paid.

There is no way she is giving away free money, ever a true request for a loan.  Once given away, they will never be able to pay it back.  Everyone is broke.  Everyone is desperate.  Everyone is poor.  Everyone is in dire straits.  Well, you know what I mean.  To give money to one person will open the flood gates.  To refuse someone or anyone after a gift to one person, especially a relative, will create hard feelings.  So, people that want money from her have to work, unless it is a medical emergency.  They install windows, build fence, clean the yard, wash clothes, pull weeds, whatever she can think of.  What she DOES do is pay very well for a job well done.

She’s very tough about it.  People are very very careful about riling her.  As popular as she is, they know she can be like iron.  When she was younger, she worked her tail off to give a bunch of her family a better life.  She says she’s retired from working like that.

If she pays him the full 1000, it will be far above the normal rate.  I’m not worried about paying extra and it’s up to her.  I want to help the people here, but there are limits.  My entire personal wealth wouldn’t make a dent in the poverty in this province.

The library is a way of easing the tedium for the locals, if they choose to use it.  I’ve always enjoyed escaping the world into a good book.  I pulled a surprisingly good one out of our library and got about a third through it this afternoon.  If there is a sequel, I’ll try to get it in the next box.  There is a young man here that will love it.  Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind.  It’s thick at 830 odd pages.  Good way to pass a hot afternoon.  Too hot to go to the beach, in my opinion.  No shade.  Yolanda cleared the shade trees out.

That’s all for now.  I’ll see if I can come up with something else tomorrow.

4:20pm  1/13

1/17  Been four days since I’ve sat at the computer.

The morning of the 14th, I checked the gecko eggs hourly or more starting at 5:30am.  At 8am, nothing.  9am…

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I found a second hatchling behind the incubator waiting for me to life the lid.  This gecko wasn’t near as quick as the other and also a bit smaller.  I actually touched it as I herded out under the hollow blocks that make our cooking area on the front porch.  So cute.  I love reptiles.  Yes, snakes included.  Praxy thinks I’m a little weird.  Oh well.

The two other eggs will need at least another three weeks to hatch.  I’ve hidden them on top of our new cupboard so they can hatch in peace.  Some day, someone will find the incubator with the tiny eggshells in it and wonder about that crazy cano that raises geckos.

The locals say that baby geckos in a house means the husband and wife are getting along very well.  The babies can’t stand the turmoil.  We are doing OK, Praxy and I.

Besides our second grandchild, we got another new addition to the house

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The construction guys finished up with our new cabinet and hauled it in.  I was was waiting for them, but they  still managed to surprise me with the unexpected arrival.  It was almost too big for the room.  We had to turn it and work it around to get it stood up.  There it is.  Finally, something to help ease the congestion in our house.  Geckos eggs are on top, out of the way.

Remy sent us a balik bayan box of books for the library.  Good, clean romance and fiction.  Plus, something we needed and installed immediately.

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Insulated curtains!  The sun simply beats down on this window and two others, turning our little house into an oven.  The curtains drop the temperature in here at least 5 degrees and maybe more.

She sent this to Asgad, but LBC doesn’t deliver out here.  There was no phone and no address, the outfit had no idea how to contact us.  Luckily, our friend Ester from the sari sari store noticed it the other day and told Praxy.  She picked it up Thursday.  All boxes will have to go to Catharine and she can send them on.  It’s expensive to deliver them, but we have a bank account set aside for Catharine to take care of getting the boxes out here.

Next day, another arrival about mid morning.

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Our kitchen work table with two more shelves underneath.  The room is still crowded with luggage, but the additional space is great.   I was ready for this.  Praxy ran in all in a panic to get things ready.  She’d been working outside on plants and fence.  I had looked over the the contractor’s work area and saw that it was coming soon.  Had the room all cleaned out and ready.  We gave the old junky looking table to our very poor neighbors next door on our right.  They were thrilled to have it and put it in their living room.  We were thrilled to have it gone.

After cleaning up the house and taking showers, we hopped on the motorcycle and took off to the Misty Blue Boathouse in Guiuan.  We wanted to get there early as I have no desire whatsoever to drive a motorcycle around this area at night.  We watched the sun set while waiting for Catharine, her daughter Cacai, Graham, and Rowena.  We told them 5:30pm, but we didn’t care.  Both showed up around 6.  That gave us time to enjoy this.

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A flock of seabirds came through.  I’m not sure what they are, but the way they carry their head while flying makes me think they are in the heron family.  Social herons.  Weird.  The only time herons get together is at nesting time.

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Everyone showed up a little after 6.  The ladies had a great time chatting.  Cacai found one of her classmates to chum around with and us guys, Greg, Graham, and myself, drank beer and told each other tall tales and stories.  We a dinner of pizza, chicken, hamburger, and fries, and called it a night around 9pm.  I’m glad to say that on this occasion, the power never went out and we got a full night of air conditioned sleep.  Well, Praxy did.  I ate too much and was restless.

Next morning, up and at ‘em early.  5:30am as usual.  Praxy had been gazing wistfully across the bay, wishing to visit another island.  I can’t remember the name (Sang-An island), but the dock area for the it is right next to the Misty Blue.

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This is a pump boat similar to the one we took.  It has a small gasoline engine onboard and puts around quite nicely.

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Not much to see, really.  Greg had some land over there and we were a bit curious about it.  Turned out it was too close to the port on the other side and too much foot traffic nearby.  His land did have something rare in the Philippines, frontage to a dock that has water deep enough for a large vessel.

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This piece of junk was immortalized after Yolanda.  It was blown across the strait and the media photographed it said it was wrecked by the typhoon.  Not true.  It was old and worn out long before the typhoon.  The owner has been think about rebuilding it and has never got around to it.  After Yolanda, it was towed back here where it belongs.  “A boat is a hole in the water a person sinks money into.”

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Not a wasted trip.  Praxy found several breadfruit trees in the area and had our boat pilot get her some cuttings.  So now we’ve got breadfruit here in Asgad.  Our property is going to be cluttered with plants.  So many I’m thinking I’ll need a machete to get into the back yard next trip over here.

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On the way back, we cruised by this little setup.  I think those might be crab pots, and a little house to shelter in while waiting for the crabs.

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The Misty Blue Boathouse from the water.  Meanwhile back at the pool, swimming lessons were in session.

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A young married couple works at the Misty Blue and here is there little daughter enjoying a cool swim on Saturday morning.  Mom took pictures as another lady bathed the child.  I couldn’t resist a picture myself.  I love photographing babies.  Took me three tries to get what I wanted.  Much harder with adults!

Greg is very nice about the baby being at work.  She lays behind the counter near the cash box with a fan on her to keep mosquitoes away.  Whoever isn’t busy gets to hold the baby.  Praxy got her turn as well but I didn’t get a picture.

We had planned a trip to a relatives house about 25 miles away.  The weather turned bad on Saturday, so we stayed in Guiuan a goofed off.  Praxy got her hair and nails done and I shopped for motorcycles and picked up a few supplies.

Shopped for motorcycles.  Yes, I’m going to get one next trip.  The isolation out here is impossible.  Hard to get parts, food, and supplies, hard to visit friends and relatives, hard to keep from getting bored.  I’m going to buy one and let Catharine use it while we are in the states.  Problem solved.  I didn’t want to buy one and leave it parked in the salt air for many months at a time here in Asgad.  Renting is not available except from an owner.  Prices are quite reasonable.  The bike I like is about $2,500 new and similar to my bike in Pomeroy.  If Catharine can handle it, that’s what I’ll get.

On the way home, we stopped in Salcedo to visit some relative.  Relatives that attended Praxy and my wedding.  They were in town for a visit as well.  One of them is a builder and he had the tools and the knowledge to finish up our security bars for our windows.  That was the last project.  Everything on the house is done (for this trip) and we can leave when we are ready.  Yay!

Today was a lazy Sunday.  I washed my camera strap and backpack.  Both were suffering from sweat stink and I couldn’t imagine smelling that all the way home to the United States.  Praxy gave me lessons on hand washing clothes.  Actually, I didn’t mind at all.  A good skill to have.  Later, I gave her photography lessons.  A good trade.

I talked with the pig people today and they are just about ready for their piglet.  I told them they’d better catch me soon or I’ll be gone.  They’ll be here tomorrow for sure!

That’s enough writing for today.  I suppose the next post will have to do with getting ready to leave.   I’m ready to go home.  The rainy season is definitely over and it is hot around here.  However, it’s not too bad.  The humidity is down quite a bit.  The air is warmer, but I’m more comfortable.  As long as I’m not under the hot tropical sun.  Most everyone is hiding in their houses or in the shade today.  Can’t blame them!

Oh, two more pictures.  A piece of our old house.  I found it at low tide.

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A wall support.  And the floor migration route.

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Our house used to set right in front of the two story building at the left of this picture.  To the right of that is the temporary church.  The big open area next over is where the old church sat.

Two tons of floor now sit near the right edge of the picture.  There is a lone palm tree trunk with no fronds on the right.  The floor sits just behind it in that little clear area.  That is close to 300 yards of movement.   I’m assuming that it went inland, probably went right through the church with the waves, and then back out towards the sea.  It was on end as it went through the trees as it was much to wide to go through that grove just to the right of it’s resting place.

5:00pm  1/13/2015  Asgad, Eastern Samar, Philippines

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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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