Thursday, August 30, 2007
This week I've been mostly takingthe Big Blue Bus to work. There are some odd people taking the bus. Like today a guy with a suitcase and a sony walkman asked me for money cause he was hungry and its not the 1st of the month yet. I didn't give him any, I was scrounging for 10 cents myself. Anyway he asks me about Hewlett Packard printers, he needed one and was looking at one for $350 bucks. I told them they did the job. Hey wow, people pay me good money for that kind of advice and he got it for free. He wanted the printer to print out some legal stuff because he had an appeal that was going to the state or federal supreme court, or both. He did kinda look like a skinny Justice Clarence Thomas with Oakleys on.
>On 2007-08-31,02:28:39 Blaise wrote:
>>On the way home, this girl was chatting endlessly on her cell phone. The weird thing was she was speaking in Chinglish, but the Chinese part was in the dialect of my family. It was Fukienese, or Hokkien. I guess, I have just never really heard anyone younger than 30 speak it. Usually its my aunts, Taiwanese grandmother and old school chinese dudes like my doctor that speak it. There was too much English in her Chinglish though, but it wasn't Filipino English so it must have been from another English speaking asian country like Singapore or maybe Hong Kong. I didn't get to find out for sure, she never got off the phone.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Anyone stay up to see the total lunar eclipse? I'm kicking myself in the ass for missing it. I worked too late on Monday and konked out when I got home. Would have been a great one to add to my album. Oh well here's a beautiful stiched shot from skyandtelescope.com's gallery.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
When I was on my way to the sushi restaurant in Glendale I passed by the Alex Theatre in Glendale on Brand Ave. It was showing a Filipino movie, "A Love Story". I did a double take because I didn't expect to see the words "ABS-CBN International" in large marquee in Glendale and I thought, wow, I want to see a Filipino Movie in Glendale. Then I went home and looked it up, 25 bucks for a ticket! Yeah right! I bet the movie could be had for 25 pesos on DVD.
Ray wouldn't take his shirt off and do his best Vladimir Putin impression. In Mother Russia, fish catch you!
Anyway we didn't catch any fish, which was good because we forgot to buy fishing licenses. The guy who rented us the boat actually asked us if we wanted to buy bait but didn't ask us if we needed license. He must have figured we weren't gonna catch anything but figured he could get a few bucks from us for bait. We puttered around the lake, which wasn't really that big, but it didn't stop people from bringing huge floating nautical monstrosities. Do you really need a high speed hull and a huge 8 cylinder diesel to ply a lake where you could see the opposite shore? Its like using a Boeing 747 to buy diapers from the supermarket down the street. It was pretty nice to just take the boat out in the middle of the lake and lay under the sun. When we got bored of fishing we beached our boat on the sand and swam around.
We came back to LA and later that night Val came out and we got some sushi at Octopus in Glendale.
Ray, Josh and I went camping at Silverwood Lake. Silverwood Lake is a man made lake to the west of Lake Arrowhead. You get to Silverwood from LA by driving east on the 210, then take the 15 North and then the 138 to Silverwood. It was not bad, the weather was great and the sky was clear. We got to the lake in the dark on Thursday night and quickly set up our tent, built a fire and cooked our steaks. We basically just threw them in a bag with Lawry's steak seasoning and some seasoning salt and they came out great. I think we had about a pound of thick juicy ribeye each and mine came out a good medium. Easily the best steak I had all year. Something about cooking over an open flame makes food taste so good. We brought these cheesy plastic utensils but they were pretty useless so we just ate the damn things with our hands and teeth. Like animals! Good thing no park rangers came to check on us. They'd either get scared off by our primal grunting and steak juice covered faces or end up discarding their shoes and join us to dance around the fire. Anyway for civility we ate our steaks with beer and rice cooked over the campfire. Amazingly the rice came out better than any 100 dollar rice cooker could make it. Afterwards we smoked some cigars to celebrate our victory over beef. I had a Romeo y Julieta No. 5 which had a great aroma but was a lot stronger than the Flor de Filipinas that I smoked a couple of weeks ago. I got lightheaded and almost puked for a second, but it was pretty relaxing. Haha the RyJs are suppose to be mild as far as cubans go, so I guess something full bodied would pretty much send me to the moon. After cleaning up we went to sleep and got up the next day to go fishing on the lake.
I heard an energy drink being advertised on the radio and it was suppose to contain goji berries from the mountains of Tibet. Well I though they were fictional berries but here they are in the flesh. An uncle of mine is promoting them to be good for the prostate. I guess you eat them, but that doesn't seem to be the most direct route.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
One of my neighbors has a cream colored classic Mustang like the one in this picture I found. Its not a convertible, or a fastback, or a special edition, just a nice classic Mustang. Yesterday he was getting groceries out of the car and this blonde calls out from a window upstairs, "Hey, nice car..." Haha, score. She even told him where she lives. I think its a daddy thing. People say some guys want to marry girls like their moms and girls are attrracted to guys like their dads. So it must help if you drive what daddy use to drive. Guys with classic Beetles get the same attention. I guess a lot of our dads had Mustangs or Beetles for their first cars. Look in those old photo albums. My dad drove an old green Toyota Corolla. I think it was also brown and red at some point in its lifetime. It did have nice curves though, must have been like a late 70s model. Hey, Sheila, Sophia. Better watch out for a loverboy in a Corolla. Its gonna be trouble. So if I end up having a houseful of daughters I'll have my shotgun racked and ready for the punk in the black Subaru.
On another note, I actually waxed my car today, Scott Lee-style. It all showroom shinny now and actually looks like I don't neglect her. I rode my Suzuki DRZ to work this week so the Subaru was collecting dust all week and really needed a bath. Hey if I keep up this waxing, it'll be around to race those daughter-dating-punks up to the dam.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Saw Transformers this weekend. It was like a big millitary recruiting film/GM commercial. Join up, kill robots! Also drive this Pontiac! It was still pretty good. Shia LaBeouf is reminiscent of Dustin Hoffman. John Turturro is also in the movie, if you don't remember who he is, he's the pedophile bowler named Jesus in the Big Lebowski. "Nobody fucks with the Jesus!" The girl, Megan Fox, has a lot of sexy tattoos but I guess they airbrushed them all out in the movie. Bumblebee is the new ET. "Autobot phone home!" I also saw the Simpsons at the mall and 300 on DVD this week. That pretty much double or tripled the number of movies I saw this year.
I guess BMW deciced funny looking was not enough and went ahead with just ugly. Apparently the new 5 series is also the worst in crash tests.
The Kia protected the crash test dummies better than the bimmer did.
Now, there's nothing wrong with ugly, people say my Subaru is a pig with lipstick, but I did crash test it myself (inadvertently) and I'd have to say those Subaru engineers make one incredible machine.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Thursday, August 2, 2007
The last time I visited the Philippines I went to Boracay, an island resort in the middle of the country. It was pretty much the most laid back place on earth. If you want to just relax, party at night, wake up with a morning swim in the blue water then go to Boracay. On this visit I went to Palawan which is a little more of an adventure, or can be.
Palawan is a pretty huge island, it makes up the western arm of the Philippines. The nice thing about Palawan is a lot of the island is virgin land. There's a lot more to see there than the beautiful beaches and coral. There are subteranean caves, lush jungles and limestone cliffs. There's a couple of ways to see Palawan. For something like a honeymoon where you'd want to relax and be secluded, the best thing to do would be to charter a flight to El Nido and check in at the resorts there. It would be like Boracay but in isolation and there are secret coves and beaches that you can kayak to.
To see more of the island I would backpack it. First you fly into Puerto Princessa and from there travel up to El Nido. There's a couple of things to see around Puerto Princessa, Dos Palmas Resort is on an island in Honda Bay. Its named Dos Palmas because there were two palm trees which dominated the island. You could see them as you aproach the island by boat. One of the trees has since died so the name doesn't quite make sense anymore. Dos Palmas is pretty nice, they just recently rebuilt some bungalows. Its also the site of the infamous Abu Sayef kidnappings a while back. Now there's a detachment of Filipino Marines on the island. The Legend Hotel is building a resort on nearby Pandan Island, so Dos Palmas won't be the only all inclusive resort in Honda Bay. There are a lot of tour outfits that will take you island hopping on Honda Bay. We went with Elaine's Travel and Tour. When you land at the airport you'll get a bunch of fliers about what tour companies are in town and what tours are offered. Just find their flier and call them. Our tour guide Donna was great, see if she's available when you go down there. The good thing about Honda Bay is its close to Puerto Princessa so you can fly in on the widebodies, go to Dos Palmas or the new resort and fly back to Manila.
At night there are a few nice restaurants in puerto Princessa. I ate at Kalui's and Badjao Seafront. Kalui's translates to Brother Lui, and its pretty nice. Order the Kalui special, its a full course meal. Its Filipino style dining, you can sit on chairs or on the floor and you have to take your shoes off because they have a bamboo floor. The blue marlin in mango sauce is also really good. Badjao Restaurant is a floating restaurant, its built on a platform over some mangroves so during high tide the restaurant is floating over the water. Really nice place and very romantic with the open air, candles and tropical flowers. You have to convince a tricycle guy to bring you out there and bring you back since its on the shore in the outskirts of the city. 150 pesos should cover it. Make sure to tell the guy to take you to Badjao Seafront because there's also a Badjao Hotel in the city. Badjao means seafront. Hopefully your tricycle has a nice bike because there is a steep hill on the way out. Go to Badjao right before sunset so you can watch the sun go down over the water.
So after snorkeling in Honda Bay and watching the sunset over dinner, you'll probably be ready to quit your job and moved to Palawan but the trip hasn't started yet! We still have to travel from Puerto Princessa, which is in the middle of the island to El Nido on the northern tip. The best way to do it is either by bus or by motorcycle. You can take an air conditioned van, which is nice and air conditioned, but I think you'll absorb much more of the island on the Bus or on a bike. The bus or most probalby a stretched out jeepney is probably the cheapest way to get around, but it makes frequent stops to pick up more people and is going to get really crowded. A bike would be ideal. You would need a pretty tough and reliable enduro or dual sport and an iron butt because half the road isn't paved. But on a bike you can stop whenever you want and there's no glass between you and the island. Since we're going on a one way trip you'll either have to arrange for it to be either shipped back, ridden back or sell it.
The first stop from Puerto Princessa is Sabang Beach on the western shore of Palawan. Its about 3-4 hours away and there are a couple of secluded beaches there and of course the undeground river. The underground river stretches for about 5 kilometers and is a little bit spooky, since there's bats there and its pitch black. Saband is probably a good place to stay the night since there are some bungalows for rent right next the water.
The next leg of the trip is from Sabang Beach to Port Barton and from there to El Nido. Thats the part I haven't seen so I'm curious to see. Going by boat is also an option since these places are on the South China Sea side of Palawan instead of the Sulu Sea side. From there we can catch a flight back out.
So anyway get your malaria and tetnus shots and we'll put a crew together. We need at least one qualified medical person. The best time to go would probably be December or April, outside of the rainy season.
>On 2007-08-03,13:22:12 SKubomoto wrote:
>>Where do I sign up? I can do the medical stuff. I've been getting plenty of experience taking care of diarrhea and vomiting patients the last several weeks.
>On 2007-08-09,01:10:31 Blaise wrote:
>>Haha how about I set up an evite.
In Manila there was a lot of eating. One thing I picked up from the Marines was how to eat like an animal. If you want to make some baby back ribs, a steak, some fries, a molten chocolate cake and some enchilada cheesecakes disappear in 5 minutes, find yourself a candidate on liberty. But I had to raise the white flag in Manila. There was just too much to eat and try. The best food I had was in a kitchen in Baclaran next to the seafood market. We bought some tuna, shrimp, lobster, squid, seaweed and brought it up to be sauteed. Best meal of the whole trip. Despite all the food, I think I lost 10 pounds. All the travelling took its toll. The explosive diarrhea and respiratory infection that I caught on the last few days certainly didn't help. I need to start a new regime to gain it all back.
Manila is a pretty fun city. Nixon took me to Malate, which I guess is the West Hollywood of Manila. We went to a Comedy club called the Library where the comedians were all in drag. I think they had one or two real women up there, just so you'd have some doubt on who was who. It was kind of suprising how many people were out and about on a weekday. There were lots of bars, ktvs, strip clubs, discos and cafe that were all in full swing. Things don't slow down till about 3 am. The other weird thing is that among it all, like a lot of Manila, there were street people everywhere. But its not like here, where if you go to Holywood or Westwood, all the homeless are mostly men. Its usually entire families, the old the young, men, women, boys and girls.
The other things that there's lots of is malls and family. We stayed wtih Juliet and Siso at thier house in North Greenhills. They have a nice pool there for swimming in and the nice thing is the water is always a nice temperature, unlike here where the water always cools off at night. Juliet and Siso have 4 daughters all under 10 so its a lviely house.
Everytime I go back theres more malls and the merchandise is kind of expensive, especially the western stores. The Lacoste and Clarks stores carried stuff that costs more there than I've seen in LA or Paris. Even at the SM, a Nike shoe costs more than here. You wouldn't be able to find the same exact style here since they carry different inventory. Its fun to hang out in the malls, there's air conditioning and you always run into people.
Picture of the newly weds, Joseph and Elaine posing with my parents and Giselle who MCed the banquet. It was a pretty nice wedding, definately the biggest I've been too. Nice white dress, old historic church, MIBs and and a big feast afterwards. Elaine's family is huge. The wedding was in Cebu, in the Visayas region of the Philippines, so we flew down there for a couple of days. Me along with most of the Chans stayed at the Waterfront. Cebu is pretty nice. Its not as crowded as Manila but big enough to not be boring. Its also close to some prime beaches and to Bohol, which unfortunately we didn't have time to go to. We did go and visit a couple of the prime resorts in Cebu, the Shangri-la is by far the best one. The grounds were perfectly manicured and they have their own private beach which they covered in white sand that they imported from Boracay. The places is Korean owned and managed, so if you speak Korean you're set at the Shangri-la.