Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Japanese Conspiracy

Like I said in the last post, I went back to the states for a few weeks.

Normally, I would have done something obnoxious like start a countdown of the weeks, then the days and then the hours until I was kissing the ground at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, but I was surprising two of my best friends. And since they are two of the three people that read my blog, I kept my mouth shut. Which is a really a miracle in itself.

On my way to the states I had a 5-hour lay-over in Japan, which was really quite torturous since I couldn't catalog my every move via Facebook, Twitter or TUH because of my covert operation.

So I wrote the following in the airport...


The Japanese are conspiring against us. I'm sorry, but it's true.

First of all, what's up with those funny letters? Nobody understands that business... I find myself staring at airport signs thinking that if I look long enough, maybe I can decipher the code. Think about it... they did this on purpose.

And that whole bowing bit? It turns into a series of bows that just becomes awkward. They bow, I bow, they bow, I bow, they bow, I bow... it never ends... and it makes me look stupid. Their plan, I'm sure.

Now, if things weren't bad already... get this.... They all decided to wear masks now. I can literally feel the symptoms of H1N1 taking over my body right now... just by looking at them.
They are weakening my defenses.

Also, look what I found in the bathroom...

Yes. That is a toilet
Yes. It's a hole... in the ground.
Yes. I took a picture in a public bathroom.
And no, I don't know how to use it either.

Those things should really come with an instructional video...

The upside to the Japanese bathrooms? They have super powered hand dryers, made by who else? But Mitsubishi! Awesome. I've been hanging out in the bathroom for a large part of my layover... which kind of makes me sound creepy and weird... or it's all part of the plan to keep us distracted.

To make things even worse... it took me about 30 minutes to find food. If you know me, you know what happens when I get hungry... it's not a pretty picture. All the signs and directories pointed me to shopping and smoking areas.

So basically, they want to take our money and/or give us lung cancer... They hid the restaurants behind, "Narita 5th Avenue." I had to wade through Chanel, Gucci, and Burberry to find food. They obviously know my weaknesses... well played Japan, well played.

I should have been more prepared when coming to Japan, that is for sure. I didn't learn any Japanese... I am only here for 5 hours... but I should have at least learned, "Thank You," or "Excuse Me," or something polite, even if they are conspiring against us. I blame it on my "arrogant americanism," but it's not my fault it's in my blood.

On the upside, not knowing Japanese led to some awesome conversations in the restaurant which included me speaking English, the waitress speaking Japanese, pointing, sign language and bowing. Most incredible.

Also, what the heck is a Yen? I mean I know what it is, but I need to know the value in relation to an American dollar, or a Filipino piso.... even a Euro.

Lunch = 2000 Y

My expert math skills... a.k.a... punching randomness into my phone says, that equals $176 USD.

Now that can't be right... I'm either deliriously tired... or a little bit drunk... probably both. If that's the case my spicy shrimp bowl, glass of wine and an orange is way over priced. Japan is expensive.

This only heightens my suspicions....


P.S. - After much needed rest, and a bit more sobriety I figured out my lunch cost about $24 USD... I think.

P.P.S. - Happy Thanksgiving from the Philippines!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Vacation Cliff Notes Style... Well, sort of.

I haven't written in a while... mostly because I've been in the states, which was marvelous and terrific and wonderful and every other word that means awesome! I have plenty to say about that... but I have yet to finish the stories of my vacation. Stories which involve Lee being a sucker... adventures of searching for the perfect hotel room... toilets with super powers... a prostitution beach and a potentially deadly floating bar.

Sounds like a lot for one vacation? I know.

The point is... I have to finish these stories before I can write about anything else, because everything must be in chronological order... because I'm OCD like that. So here is the rest of our vacation... in Cliff Note form. Enjoy!

"Lee being a sucker"

Many a blog entry has been written due to the things that come out of Lee's mouth... Example...

And here is one more....

Lee is a sucker. Plain. And. Simple. He's the guy who listens to the wild tales of homeless people and every con man's sales pitch. (One time... Lee bought "VIP" tickets for a club in Vegas, from a guy on the strip named "Z." Eighty dollars later we found out that there was nothing VIP about it. Not that I was surprised. Never trust a guy with one letter in his name...)

So.. these people know he is an easy sale...

Souvenir Selling Lady #1: Ma'am you buy from me! Ma'am you buy!

Me: I'll look, but I'm not going to buy. Thanks.

Souvenir Selling Lady #2: Sir! You buy from me sir! I'll give you good price.

Hassan: No.

Souvenir Selling Lady #3: Sir, you buy from me?

Lee: Ok.

Souvenir Selling Lady #4: No Sir, you buy from me. Sir!

Lee: Ok.

Souvenir Ladies: No, Sir.. buy from me. Sir please, please buy from me.

Etc... etc..

Within ten seconds he was surrounded by five women... he was trapped.

When he emerged he carried 4 koozies. (Although they are really more like baskets than koozies... so not really very practical.... but hey, if you ever need a beer size basket, Lee's your man.)

Me: You're a sucker.

Lee: Whatever. These are pretty cool.

Me: *silence*

Lee: Ok... But they surrounded me! I didn't know what to do! How did y'all get out of it?

Hassan: We just said no.

Lee: (defeated and pissed) Yeah, ok... I'm a sucker.

That night at dinner...

Hassan: I swear, just about every straw I've gotten here is broken... these straws suck.

Lee: Yeah, and these toothpicks sucks too. Everything sucks here! They can't make toothpicks or straws... They spend all their time making shitty souvenirs.



After two nights at Coco Beach we wanted to check out something new. After riding through the choppy water in a death capsule we made it to Sabang Beach. We didn't have a reservation... but once we were safely on shore I decided the resort I wanted to stay in just happened to be the big white one... on the opposite end of the beach. So the three of us drug three suitcases, a beach bag and a computer bag through the sand and over the rocks all the way across the beach.

And that was only the beginning...

We then proceeded to look at just about every room in the facility... we went up stairs and down stairs, around the pool, through the restaurant, upstairs, then downstairs, to get a key, to unlock another room, to see a room that was under construction, to go back upstairs, to go back downstairs, and then do it all over again.

An hour later... we ended up in our a room a sweaty mess... but it was totally worth it.

Not only because the room rocked... but because it had a cereal bowl shaped bath tub in the middle of the room and a toilet with super powers!

I got in the bath tub immediately. Because seriously... what is cooler than a cereal bowl shaped bathtub? In the middle of the room? And I didn't even mention that it had claw feet! Of course... there was no time for me to actually fill the tub with water... so naturally I just sat in it. No water. Fully dressed.

Photo: Courtesy of Hassan... an unplanned action shot...

Then he realized you could see Lee's reflection in the mirror... so we continued with the cheesy photo shoot.

Then... we found the toilet. (Which wasn't too difficult seeing as how the bathroom only had half walls and there was no door. I made it clear very early on that any bath room breaks of the number "two" variety would need to be taken in the lobby bathroom facilities. ThankYouVeryMuch.) This was a toilet like no other I've seen. I didn't even get a picture because I was too shocked to think clearly.

Me: Hey! Come look at this toilet. It has a remote control!

Hassan: Sweet!

Me: Look all these buttons... what do you think they do?

Hassan: I don't know... let's find out.

Button Number 1....

Me: What is that?

Hassan: What's it doing?

Me: Oh no way.... a little arm is coming out from under the toilet bowl...

Hassan: It's squirting water!

Me: Awesome!

Hassan: Ok, try this one.

Button Number 2...

Me: Dryer.... very nice.... So, what do you think the smiley face button does?

Button Number 3...

Lee: What the hell is that?

Hassan: Hahahahaha

Me: Oh-my-god! Turn it off! The water is hitting the ceiling!!

Lee: The water is coming over the wall and getting everything wet!

Me: Smiley face indeed....


Soon after we got to the hotel things started to happen which ultimately led us to discover we were on a beach built for prostitutes.

Me: Hey... there are condoms in the mini bar! Condoms! What the hell? What kind of place is this?

This was Clue #1...

In the part of the Philippines where we live, girls don't even wear two piece swimsuits... they play religious songs in the mall... and they blast prayers through a mega phone throughout town. I have yet to see any form of contraception... even in drug stores... so you can imagine my surprise to find three condoms for 30 pisos in the hotel mini bar.

Clue #2... was found walking towards the restaurants and bars later that night....

Me: Check out some of these girls outfits... talk about sass! O.M.G.

Clue #3... at the "bar."

Me: So... there are a lot of older white men here with young filipino girls... Where do you think they are from? Do you think they all live in Manila?

Lee: Yeah, I don't know.

Me: They probably just come down here on the weekends.

Clue #4... later... at the "bar."

Me: Have you seen that girl over there?!

Hassan: Umm... yeah!

Me: What the hell is she doing? I can see her panties!

Hassan: I know. Did you see what she just did to that pool stick?

Me: Yeah... that's really dirty...


Me: So guys... I was thinking... and I think we are in a whore house.

It was like all of a sudden everything became so clear...


(The next day we saw this sign in one of the bars... it used to say: "The most shooters in one night at the point bar 2,068 New Year's Eve 2006. Can you beat it?" Someone had since erased the "s" and changed the "t" to a "k"... and it now reads: "The most hookers in one night at the point bar 2,068 New Year's Eve 2006. Can you beat it?" Awesome.)


Dear Lonely Planet,
While I enjoy the assistance your guide offers while traveling in the Philippines, in the future I would appreciate a bit more detail when it comes to the description of beaches such as Sabang.

Your current description states:

"By day it's relaxed while divers dive and drinkers sleep; around sunset a metamorphosis takes place as watering holes open, barflies settle in, music cranks up and all types of nightlife emerge."

Watering holes open? True.

Barflies settle in? I guess you could say that.

Music cranks up? Sure, why not?

Now, the part I'm having trouble with is the, "all types of nightlife emerge." I feel that a more accurate description would read as follows:

"... watering holes open, barflies settle in, music cranks up and shameless old men can be seen with one, or maybe two, of the scantily clad ladies, of the whorish variety, whom stand post every few feet. "

Please take into consideration these changes before printing your next addition of, Lonely Planet: Philippines.




If the sign wasn't enough, our suspicions of prostitution were confirmed the next day when we talked to some creepy man on a potentially deadly floating bar. Apparently, everyone goes to Sabang for one of two reasons... diving and/or "nightlife," and everyone knows it. There's no shame in it. In fact, I'm sure everyone thought we were the weird ones... 3 young Americans... 1 girl... 2 guys... and zero hookers. Hmmm....

Floating Bar. In theory... excellent idea. In reality... death trap. With every wave I thought the top level would come crashing down on us, as it squeaked and buckled under the pressure of the wind and water. Not to mention that I was almost thrown overboard trying to get to the bathroom. And I would like to point out that I was totally sober... imagine what happens when drunk people need to pee! That bar is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Then there is the slide... looks awesome I know. That is until the random little kids climb on board and start running around the bar, jumping off the second level, and shooting off the slide.

Me: There are kids... in a bar... this is inappropriate.

Lee: I know, right! I mean, I don't care if their mom's are whores... they shouldn't be here.

Ha! I love him.


Later that night we set out to find out all about Sabang prostitution...

The chef at one of the resorts told us you can get them delivered to your room for 50 USD a night. Interesting...

We also found out that there are no ATM's on the beach... which is strange seeing how prostitution is a cash based business.

Lee: I don't have much cash left we need to find an ATM, but I haven't see one yet.

Me: Well, they have to have one... it's not like hookers take credit.

Hassan: Hey man, we need to get some cash... do you know where we can find an ATM?

German Gentleman: Sorry, don't know. We came prepared.

Hassan: Ha... alright, thanks buddy.

Me: Sick.

The only ATM was in the town 30 minutes away. Now, that's just not good business...


Later, we got beat by a hooker in pool... repeatedly... she beat all three of us. A few drinks in and I started to ask her questions... I found out...

- She's 21... so legal... that's a plus
- She was "entertaining" an Austrian, who was actually about our age. He was there with his Dad. Classy.
- She taught me how to flirt in Tagalog. Well, not really. She taught me how to say "Nice ass," which in my book is more sexual harassment than anything else. But when dealing with hookers, one probably doesn't need to work on their pick-up lines...


So that's was our trip... all in all I would say it was very.... umm... educational.

Gah! This post was long... so much for Cliff Notes...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Carabao Adventures

*Highlights of our Carabao cart ride Adventure*

Right off the bat... we break the axle on our cart... it was so Oregon Trail.

(I just Googled to find a screen shot of the Oregon Trail Game so everyone could remember what an awesome game it was... and Google told me I could play the original Oregon Trail Game! Online! For Free! I have been trying to do that for the past 30 minutes... Google is a liar. Now I have about 10 useless plug-ins and most likely a virus. Thanks a lot Google....)


On our way...

Stop for a potty break...

(Note to Driver: Next time, "Privacy Shield" should be held up a bit longer in order to avoid Keely getting drops of liquid poo on her forehead...)


Hidden Paradise

Photo shoot with a stranger begins...

(Note to French Man: I am not a photographer... Yes, I will take a picture of you, but no I do not want to spend 15 minutes taking your picture from various angles... (even though I did.) And no I will not put your camera strap over my head... it reeks of B.O. I am not an idiot... I will not drop your camera in the water. Additionally, you are certainly not a model... no matter how much you "adjust" yourself in your tiny man shorts, flex your abs, lean "seductively" against rocks, and stare off into the distance. Please stop. Not only are you embarrassing yourself, but I don't know how much longer I can keep a straight face...)


Me: That looks dangerous... I don't think we should go any further...

Lee: No, we are exploring. It's fun!

Me: Well, I'm getting parched... it's tiring being a pioneer...


(Note to Lee & Hassan: You guys are assholes. I am hanging on for dear life, hoping I won't get washed away in the rapids and you guys are laughing and taking pictures instead of helping me. And no Hassan, I do not look like a cat who can't get out of water...)


My husband... he has no fear of death...

(No... not death... just fear of something poking him in the butt. Awesome.)


Me: I don't want to go this way... I've had dreams about places like this... see all those vines... in my dreams they turn to snakes... and it totally sucks.

(Obviously... they didn't care.)

And to bring the day full circle... Lee sits down for lunch... and crack...

Lee: Wow... I'm really not feeling good about myself... first the axle and now the bench...


Friday, November 6, 2009

I'm glad my parents aren't Brits

At Coco Beach they try and get everyone involved at dinner on Tuesday nights with a frog race. Well, try to get people involved and try take your money. The frogs have to race each other out of this circle of death.... and you bet on which frog will make it out first.

Pretty intense, right?

Earlier in the day we met a sweet little english boy, I'll call him Oliver... like the orphan. In reality, he had an equally awesome english name but I always liked that bloody orphan. (Yeah... I just said, "bloody." It's this thing that I do when I talk about, or to british people.

I can't help it.

I just keep saying over and over in my head..."Oh! Bloody hell!" or "Jolly good." or my fav... "Brilliant!" All in my completely accurate english accent. It's embarrassing or awesome... I can't decide.")

Oliver and I choosing the winning frog.

I told Oliver that whichever frog he chose, I would bet p500. And our frog won! It was brilliant! (See..I did it again...) And we won p1500! Oliver chose the frog... and I cheered really loud we were a great team. So... it's only fair he gets his share of the winnings right? Wrong....

The next morning....

Me: I'm glad my parents aren't british. Those accents are totally intimidating.

Lee: What do you mean?

Me: I got reprimanded by british parents....

Hassan & Lee: ?

Me: Well, I tried to give Oliver his half of the winnings last night, because after all, he chose the winning frog. But his parents reprimanded me....

Hassan: Reprimanded you? What did they say?

Me: Well, they said, (in my completely accurate english accent) "OOOHHH NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!"

Lee: Ha! That's it? That's all they said... and that was intimidating?

Me: It's not what they said... it was the way they said it. All british and scary. Then they said I could buy him a coke instead... tomorrow... because he had already had one with dinner that night! He won...

Lee: Maybe they are trying to teach their kid not to gamble...

Me: Ooohh.... that's dumb.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

King of the Jungle

On our first day at Coco Beach we went to the pool for happy hour. We were doing our typical people watch/trying to figure out where people are from based on generalizations and stereotypes.

Hassan: Lee, go figure out where those girls are from.

Lee: What?

Me: Yeah, go flirt with them... and find out.

Lee: Go flirt with them...?

Me: Yeah!

Lee: What? Why me? I'm married...

Me: Oh, yeah right. It will be funny, just do it.

Hassan: She's at the bar... go.

Hassan: He's talking to her...

Me: Hand shake... very good...

Hassan: Ha! She's scooting closer to him!

Me: Wow, an ass scoot? He's better at this than I thought!

Hassan: Now, both girls are over there...

Me: This is hilarious!


Me: Wow Babe, I am totally impressed! I didn't know you were such a good flirt.

Lee: Yep. I told you not to let me go over there... You let the lion back in the jungle... it's all instincts now...