Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year

After a tiring few days we're back at site, somewhat ready to actually work. Christmas was good, but at about 7pm Christmas Eve I started vomiting violently, every 10 minutes for about 3 hours, followed by a night of repeated bathroom trips. I'm still not sure what the cause of it was. At first I thought it was food poisoning from some leftovers I ate, but then it seems like I passed it along to two other people, so it must have been a virus. Needless to say I was in hell on Christmas Eve and so drained Christmas day all I did was sleep and lie down. Abby had a good time, our friend Carrie came down, so they just listened to music, made jewelry, ate and drank all day, followed up with National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which was on tv and made us all feel a little closer to home.

Still a little under the weather but feeling better, we all went up to Puerto Galera to meet another friend and spend a few days on the beach. It had been raining here for weeks, but we got lucky with a few days of sun on the beach, so it was a really nice time. Unfortunately my bug got Carrie the day after we got there so she spent most of the time in bed feeling like crap and then went back home instead of coming with us on the rest of the trip. We went on a hike to a waterfall, ate a lot of awesome Italian Corner pizza and just generally relaxed, which was exactly what I needed.

After we parted ways with Carrie the three of us went down south to Gloria where our friends Adam and Beth live to celebrate Beth's birthday. We walked up to the house at about 5pm to the blaring sounds of videoke and some drunk Filipinos, which pretty much set the tone for the rest of the night. Their pinoy friends all came over, and so did some of our Peace Corps friends for a big dinner, with lots of spaghetti and Beer na Beer. The next morning as people left Abby and I were lazy and decided to hang out for another day so we just laid around playing dominoes and doing nothing. That night a friend from the batch previous to our's sent us a text that said "where the hell are you guys I thought you were coming to Boracay?!" We had cancelled because everyone had dropped out and we couldn't afford to pay for the hotel room by ourselves, but they had a house that a bunch of people were sharing, so with one change of clothing a piece, we set off the next day for a few days on Boracay.

Boracay is the main tourist destination in the Philippines, where most foreign visitors go. It's also a huge New Years Eve hotspot, and we thought it would be the most fun place to celebrate. It's an interesting island because it's still very rural, except for the tourist area and a sprinkling of huge houses throughout the countryside. The beach is everything you could possibly ask for from a tropical beach: pure white powdery sand, turquoise waters, palm trees lining the beach... And of course tons of great bars and restaurants. New Years Eve was really great, spent drinking on the beach with a huge fireworks display. We spent most of our time there, again, doing nothing, just swimming, eating, snorkeling. It was strange to be there though, because the beach part of it felt so un-Filipino. There were filipinos there, but they were well dressed, light skinned rich Filipinos from Manila, and then of course so many white people. I haven't heard that much English spoken by strangers in months.

On the incredibly over-crowded boat ride back to Mindoro I just stared into space and thought about work, since I officially can't read on boat, even with motion sickness medicine. I'm really excited about this new year, we have a budget again, my counterpart is excited to get going, the department has some decent and obtainable goals and I came up with some really killer ideas while I was sitting there. I think even if things don't pan out perfectly, people are interested in the work and that's all that really matters.

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