So, what does it all add up to? I find myself sitting at my computer, no longer confined to a closed, air-conditioned room reminiscent of a medium security prison. The windows are open and the breeze is strangely strong – coming in from the direction of the mountains. This really saves on the electric bill since electricity, in the Philippines, is surprisingly expensive. But with the windows open, I get a sense of being outdoors. I have a view and the sounds that echo in the wind confirm that I’m in some far off land.
I’m surrounded by trees of all types. I count ten varieties of edibles beginning with a huge avocado tree that is already providing its bounty. Others will soon follow suit as we head into the summer months. Alma and Rita (our maid/helper) are planning on setting up a garden and that will be nice, too. It’s no problem to do this on a tropical island, of course, and they’re talking about planting corn, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and other vegetables that grow so easily, here. The locals do this, as well, which makes for low prices when you want to purchase something for dinner. And, of course, there is an abundance of cashew trees which we pick from and then roast (far more than you may imagine – this property also has a cashew grove on the opposite side of the road). It’s interesting, the cashews taste more like pistachios (which I really like) – and watching the roasting process is an experience (see photos below).
Last week, we went into the town of Subic and shopped at the duty free market (click here). Subic was once a U.S. military base, but it’s mostly for tourists, now. My brother-in-law’s friend drove us out there. It takes about 45 minutes – but the drive is pleasant and quite picturesque. There are a lot of good restaurants in Subic and we had lunch at one that specializes in steaks and ribs. I was surprised at how good my babyback rib plate was – especially since it only cost about $6. Alma and I stocked up at the duty free store which resembles a Wal-Mart Supercenter. We plan on making the trip once a month.
Other than that, I’m in the process of getting healthy. My diet has almost no sugar in it and contains fresh fruit and locally grown produce. I consume a good amount of filtered water each day in order to get rid of toxins and I set up a daily exercise program. The exercises harken back to my martial arts days (performed twice, daily) with upcoming trips to the local resort pool beginning this week. I have the equipment to monitor my blood sugar each morning and that’s been doing well (as you would expect with a proper diet and exercise). Best of all, I feel better than I’ve felt for a while.
Work is steady and I enjoy my dinners on the porch at sunset with Alma and Rita. This weekend, we’re having company for dinner (not in the Hannibal Lecter sense). It’s our way of saying “thank you” to the relatives who helped us to move. Our local relatives live in a “compound” just down the road, consisting of several houses. Our next door neighbor (not the water buffalo) is an engineer from Germany and seems like a very nice guy.
Anyway, I need to finish out the day’s work and relax at dinner time. I can honestly say that I feel myself slowing down to meet my peaceful surroundings. Go figure…