Monday, February 25, 2008

Life in Cebu

Not much to report these days. Felt like I ought to type something up though. Hmmm....What's happened lately that I could report? Well, I have been back in Cebu since last Friday, and due to weather (Ugh. Don't get me started.) might be spending the rest of my excursion to the Philippines stuck here.

I have been living a very different life here in Cebu. Those of you who read some of my earlier blogs will know the comfy lifestyle that I have been exposed to here. However, I have also been having a very interesting (and quite intense) cultural experience as well. While I am living with a wealthy family and have all the amenities I could ask for, I am also living with an Asian family. As such, the family is incredibly close. For me, it is a little too close. Every single action or plan seems to take into account the entire family, and it would be absolutely crazy to suggest doing anything on your own. Why would anyone ever want to do that when the same activity could be done with the entire family?

Now if it sounds like I am complaining I am not. JB and his family have treated me like one of the family, and their hospitality and generosity have been wonderful. I owe them much thanks.

Thanks Sergio, Susan, Bea, and JB!

I will however say that it has been very difficult for me to adjust to this sort of closeness. As someone who has been entirely independent for the last 7 months not being able to do anything on my own has been a bit difficult for me. Today, I was in such need of some alone time that I had to decline going on a hike with JB's dad, and quickly sneak out of the house to go to the bank, lest his mom offer to either drive me herself, or have one of the maids drive me. I hopped in a jeepney and was finally off on my own.

As a quick aside, I love jeepneys. I was able to take one once before when JB and I went to the mall, and I absolutely loved the concept. They are similar to Sawngthaews in Thailand, but even better. They are a crazy cross between the decked out, painted up, chicken buses of Guatemala and a pick up truck with benches in the back. Each Jeepney holds around twelve people and you can go anywhere in town for about 10 cents. The people are friendly and they run everywhere at all hours of the day. Much like the chicken buses you would NEVER wait for one, and you would be able to get anywhere without any effort. I love public transport!

So I was off to the bank, a quick fifteen minute ride and I was standing outside the bank looking at a huge closed sign. Damn... I forgot that it was a holiday today (though don't ask me what the holiday was). Luckily there was a Starbucks next door so I walked in, ordered a three dollar coffee, and then climbed back on a jeepney for the ride home. The people in the back with me thought that it was hysterical that I was drinking Starbucks and riding in a jeepney. Apparently you just don't do that sort of thing here! 40 minutes after leaving I was back at the house happy as could be and ready to spend some time with my new family again.

We climbed into the car and headed for a Su Tu Kil for lunch. Basically a Su Tu Kil is a fish market where you pick out your freshly caught-and by caught I mean dynamite harvested-fish and have them prepare it for you however you would like it. After selecting a dizzying array of multicolored fish we sat down for a fantastic feast before heading to the mall to do some shopping at the ultra-hip boutique clothing stores. In one store I decided to try on a pair of jeans that caught my eye, and, DAMN, my ass looked great in those jeans! HAHAHA, joking! Looking at the price tag I quickly realized that even after getting them tailored they were still only going to cost about 17 dollars so I treated myself to another pair of jeans. 10 days ago I had not worn jeans in six and a half months. Now I have two pairs to send home, and I am anxiously awaiting getting home just to wear them again.

I didn't miss any of my clothes on this trip, I was just wearing traveling attire, and, since no one really gives a damn what you look like when you are traveling, I never thought about the fact that, due to a lack of wardrobe, at times I ended up wearing some pretty goofy combinations of clothing on this trip! It's funny how the simple act of just putting on a pair of jeans, something I do everyday at home, can remind me of just how far removed I am from my everyday life!

Sorry the post was pretty lame, just not a whole lot to talk about right now. I head to Myanmar (Burma) on Saturday. From opulence to one of the worlds most isolated countries. It will be an interesting change of pace to say the least! Perhaps then I will have some more interesting things to say.

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