A Note to Readers: Not writing in nearly a week has caused some distress. We have been on the move and in relatively remote areas, providing relaxation, a lovely change of pace, and a different mode of travel. The distress comes with the back log of observations and thoughts and linguistic concoctions that my blog seemingly releases through my esoteric, wordy ramblings. There’s a danger now to spout even longer entries, but in an attempt to quell my usual verbosity, I hope to write a series of snapshots that will capture the magic of the past week here in the Philippines. And I figured using the metaphor that this 7000 + island archipelago provides would help. Or maybe sometimes I just think it’s cute to be clever.
So our guide . . . On this leg of the trip we have happily relinquished our route finding, map reading, hotel deciphering and all around pace setting to our dear friend Sherry Manning. Some of you may know her best from her crowd pleasing rendition of Ice, Ice Baby. And though her singing skills are surely an asset, we’ve chosen her as guide because she spent more than two years here in the Peace Corps and has returned on more than one occasion to continue her work here with a local family and their incredible organic farm (more on this in a future post). She also willingly flew all the way from Washington State to meet us and show us around this complicated and incredible country.
She has humbly provided color to our week here and we are extremely grateful. And by color, well, I mean that quite literally. We arrived at the airport last Sunday morning at 4:30 am, picked up our bags, went through customs and headed out to the pick-up area. In these situations, I always worry that we’ll miss the person there to pick us up. But not on this occasion. Sherry was quite easy to spot, wearing head-to-toe orange (she found an incredible orange sun hat at Target which she sported with enthusiastic, ex-pat confidence and panache).
In a quick stride, she spoke to the taxi driver in one of many dialects that continue to impress locals here, and then whisked us off to the Peace Corps Pension in Manilla, (a place that has maintained its character since the Peace Corps started in the early 60s). From there she toured us around Manilla, including an incredible fish dinner which she bartered for at the fish market and found just the right restaurant to cook our fresh catch for us in three different, delicious, local styles. At that point, Lindsay and I sat back in amazement and we have enjoyed the ride ever since.
I can just picture Sherry in her orange hat! We were just saying last night to your folks that this must be the vacation part of your vacation!