Thursday, May 31, 2012

The coolest airport in the world... well, one of them, anyway.

So I'm back in the US of A, my home.

But in my travels, I do get to see a lot. this is why we go around and explore... to experience new and unique things in life.

The best airport to be spending some layover time in is now in my book Incheon International there in South Korea.

My God, they sure know how to build things!
The architecture is superb and it reminds me of Bush International in Houston. Very sleek and modern and love all that steel and glass panels.
Koreans love their country and it shows in how much they spend on infrastructure. (that's a topic for another time)

But what takes Incheon over the top is the amenities.
Free massage chairs... sloped lounge chairs you can sleep in... small hotel rooms you can rent... good awesome food... there's even small chapels for whatever denomination you happen to believe in. There's a small museum, children's play area... the place is just chock full of things to do, it's like a small traveler's theme park.

The business lounge is another world altogether.  there was a 24 hour buffet with more massage chairs and free showers.
The free showers... oh... never was there a better stocked bathroom than what I saw in that place. It's even got free toothbrushes and razors along with small toothpaste kits and aftershave tonics. It really is a slice of home... well, if you lived in a home and garden magazine.

Of course, these amenities are available because people don't abuse them and take like say, 10 bars of soap from the free soap rack. We can learn from that. If only everyone takes what they need, then there is plenty for everyone. It's really simple but many people just don't get this concept.

There really isn't a reason to hoard things when there is so much in abundance.
So in societies where this is practiced, people only take what they need... one bar of soap per user.

This dovetails into a discussion about things held in common.
The showers and bathroom aren't really free, of course. Every airport user pays for them through airline tickets. Some of the funding also comes from Korean taxpayers who want visitors to their country to feel right at home. Imagine that... they care enough about it so that foreigners have a good stay --even if it's just for a layover.  And see what we get when we pool our resources like that...
Which is why I am a firm believer in sharer societies.

This system we're used to in our own country... where each man is out for his own or each little social group only takes care of its own inner circle is a medieval concept whose time is now past. It's time we really accepted the idea that we all want to be treated well no matter where we go. It's a universal concept to be sure.
Here, it is common to see our airports stocked with those small torture chairs (so nobody sleeps on them, I am sure). Probably an anti-hobo tactic, but hobos are gone now with the added security measures. We really should emulate other countries when it comes to these things.

It has been proven that collectively, we can do so much more than we can all by ourselves. No man is an island. This is what I always come to learn in my travels meeting with people.
We all collectively share in many things.
And societies that actively use that principle are some of the most advanced and most peaceful countries in the world.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Preflight jitters

Getting ready to leave after a 4 month sojourn is getting a bit hard this time around.
Each time I go, there always seems to be a loved one I no longer see next time I come back. We are all getting old and the old folks are departing us one by one.

But I am thankful that I was able to bond with my relatives these past months. Time spent with some wonderful folks is a life well lived.
this whole trip was a happy one.

Now, it is hard to leave once again. But have to.
Gotta make money of course. And I did leave some family members Stateside so I gotta see them as well.

in 2 days I fly.
Got jitters but it'll settle down once it's go time.

Good night and good luck!
See you soon, America!

coming back

I'm coming back Stateside soon.
Got my medicals and dental done as best I can. I need to lose weight and eat right according to the Doc. Well, it's the same advice and I really need to stick to it now.

There is a bittersweet moment here knowing that the stay in a new place is over. I guess it's back to the road for me now. I am going to watch my sister's house while she takes a vacation. In the meantime, I can use that stay to further finish a book I failed to finish during my stay here.

Good night and good luck.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

TooToo Much of a good thing!

Too Much of a good thing!
Yeah, I suppose there can be too much of a good thing.
Each time I come back to the land of my birth here in the Philippines, I am not far from a wedding, a funeral and many birthdays and anniversaries. I guess it's the huge family network that is present here.
Because of that, one is not far from many of life's events.
Each time I blog on here, it's one banquet after another.

Even at funeral wakes, they serve a good spread. It's a tradition and it's a 24 hour marathon that can last a week with relatives and friends coming and going. It's a somber occasion to be sure, but it is a tradition to serve guests some good food even while visiting a dead loved one. (Perhaps we got this tradition from the Chinese --at least we no longer leave a plate of food for the deceased.)

The truth is, the parties I or my own household hosts are only few --maybe once or twice a month at best.
But if you know 20 other households who also host parties at least once a month, you do end up going to a party 3 times a week, every week. It can be dizzying and it can lead to a lot of overeating (especially in my case).

Yesterday and today are back to back occasions. Yesterday is a wedding feast and today is a grand aunt's birthday (she is 87). A busload of relatives came in force. There was a huge roasted pig. It's a common dish during parties here. The way it is roasted is soft on the inside, crispy on the outside. I got a plateload of tenderloin as soon as people began carving into it. The crispy skin always goes first.
A good pair of days.
Soon, I'll be back in Texas with my beloved home on wheels.

Tomorrow, I'll go to the clinic to have a blood checkup. Hopefully, the damage won't be so bad. :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our Animal Friends

Last night I was driving in the rain. I drove slow because I see a lot of frogs hopping in the road.
I slow down or even grind to a halt if I see one hop to the middle.
They will avoid you as long as they are given time to do so.

A lot of other drivers don't care. They just run over animals like they were worthless trash.
I have come to view this as a very insensitive attitude of many drivers.
A lot have a callous disregard for life. It doesn't even matter if the driver was pulling out from church. It also afflicts drivers of all types; young, old, men, women... soccer moms, executives, professionals...

People have become so arrogant in their belief that the only lives that matter is their own.
These animals... whether a frog or a cat  always take a risk when crossing the road. And they always have to look out for us. But a lot of us never look out for then. It is completely one sided and we expect them to know the dangers of a huge automobile like they were people.

It is grossly unfair to expect that of them. It is already unfair that they don't even have their own crosswalks.

I dunno... I always take care never to run over anything.
The majority doesn't care. Even educated people will think nothing of running over a squirrel. I saw a middle aged lady do this without even slowing down. For God's sake! What's the hurry when the light at the end of the road is red, anyway?

Well, that's my rant for today.
I just wish more people cared. These creatures deserve to live as much as anyone else.
When they are all gone, we will miss them.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Back in Business!

So I am back in full health once again!
Happy once more to be blogging.
Hope y'all are doing well and are in good health. Being sick just reminds us of what a treasure it is to have good  health. It really cannot be traded for money. When we are at our worst, we'd do anything, pay any amount to relieve our suffering.

Luckily, what struck me was far from deadly serious. An ear infection isn't like a damaged kidney so I am rejoicing that my health challenges have been very minor.

Today, I went to a children's party. I'm not really overfond of clowns but it seems this is sort of a tradition here, I am finding.
As a blogger and an opinionated person, I can cite the many things I found to be objectionable about the many children's parties I have already gone to here.

If ever I had a child, I won't:

1) hold a party with Lady Gaga blaring at full volume. This isn't a teenage rave. I find it quite bizarre that otherwise educated people (my dear friends are lawyers, engineers and doctors) would subject their kids to
this. The base is pretty much socking your gut with each beat of the drum. doom, dooom, doooom, dooom...

this is a kid's party! Does anyone know the Wiggles?

2) the clowns and their "kiddie contests" feels like they are training the kids to be future crass talent show contestants. Maybe the clowns grew up watching those things as kids and so it is absorbed like osmosis or something...

Having said that, everything else was really good.
Food was great. It's one of those spreads that make you throw out your diet for just one day.
Take a hiatus for a while.

Beef with thick creamy mushroom sauce, ox tongue (a different kind of beef), quails eggs with mixed vegetables, fried dory fish with sweet and sour sauce, spaghetti with meatballs and fried chicken.
On the side they hired an ice cream stand and a flavored french fries stand. sort of like what you see in the malls or state fairs except they just give you all the fries you want.

I am typing this with a full belly. don't do what I just did. It's rare that I overeat but you get carried away with just chatting, going back to the buffet and then chatting some more... Pretty soon, you're just stuffing more and more fries in your mouth absent mindedly (like when you are watching a movie) then you realize... hey, wait, I'm already full!

Well, a good time was had by all.

Good night, America!
Sleep well and may the night be cool and breezy.
(It's boiling humid here)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Been sick lately

Been down with an ear infection. iOtitis Externa and it does hurt on one whole side of my face and ear. No fun at all.
It's a time of recuperation and a lot of reflection.

First off, I got lucky again that this struck me as I am spending time here overseas where healthcare is cheaper.

I guess it's on a 50-50 chance since half the time I am always here, anyways.
The Philippines has sort of a public healthcare system but it is only for the very poor.

Here's the breakdown so far:

Ear Nose and Throat specialist: (ear canal draining) $70 (yes, I waited 2 and a half hours, so what? I wasn't dying.)
Antihistamines (14 tablets): $2.50
Nasal spray: $10
Ear medication drops: $5 (don't tell me countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia --not even mentioning Canada---have the balls to collectively negotiate for lower prices while America, the base of most of Pharma doesn't?)

Before this, I was also able to have:
2 dental fillings: Php: 3,000 divide that by 40 (actual exchange rate is 42, but for simpler math) =$75
Mom's dental implants --3 teeth: Php: 30,000 which comes out to $750--$250 per tooth. (yes, I shouldered that since their benefits were reduced this year.)

I still feel lucky I haven't been struck with anything more serious. I have made paypal donations to another artist who is waiting for a kidney transplant. This is what we are reduced to: fund raisers for people we know who get sick. I did not contribute to another one that I was messaged for because he already has a lot of backers in his medical fundraiser so I can afford to rest my paypal (which is getting rather thin lately).

In the end, it really is only a matter of time before I am struck by something far more lethal and therefore more expensive... and when that happens, I guess I'll just go into the wilderness, go as far north as I can, wrestle a bear and die with dignity.  Someone else will have to beg money for me.