Expat

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A New Yorker?

A shopping strip or mall without a Pizza Parlour or three is a rarity here in the Philippines. The major chains with their home delivery being the main culprits and now that we are in the throes of home renovation this food service is one which we are availing ourselves.

Our current favourite is the so called New York pizza. Pepperoni, bacon, olives, mushrooms, bell pepper, tomato sauce, Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese, how close it is to its name sake is anyone’s guess. Ah olives, Kalamartta olives to be precise, mmmmm, teamed with tomatoes, zesty cheddar, some crackers and a bottle of red, a meal fit for a king, but I digress.

With change from 500 pesos, 3 tired munchkins can dine on this motor bike delivered meal with scant regard for the washing up. We have tried three brands to date, Pizza Hut, Dominoes and Yellow Cab.

Topping this lot is Pizza Hut, their New Yorker is a good pizza from a chain although their web site (you can order online) has a variety of prices for the same item, don’t worry the highest price is the one they will charge. Dominoes, a very large chain in Oz but with only one shop here, don’t actually have a New Yorker as such but they will make one with the required ingredients if requested, the end result is OK, but one feels their heart isn’t in it. Yellow Cab comes in at a very poor third, way too much MSG resulting in a raging thirst an hour or so after consumption.

You are, so the saying goes, what you eat and MSG just says to me cheap, tasteless ingredients. Now where to find some plump, fresh Kalamartta olives?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Eye Sore or What

Driving into Manila on the South Luzon Expressway at night, as I did a few weeks back returning from the Batangas Weekend, is like entering a fun filled fairyland of bright lights and eternal dreams. On either side of the highway are huge billboards, all brightly lit expounding the delights of all types of products to fill a consumers heart with joy.
It was a ride down a tunnel into the unknown but one that was friendly if you have the cash, by day they look kinda tawdry, especially those that flank the EDSA.

Given an open space with passing traffic here in the Philippines and there will be hoardings erected. On the median strip that flashes past at eye level to towering monsters vying with the high rises to block out the sky they extol their virtues of all and sundry. From the benevolence of the local political incumbent to the quite dogs foot fetish each has its pitch in a graphic language that reflects the aspirations of their intended audience.

Want to know how where you fit within your society these silent sentinels will tell you. Those to which you have a positive reaction, emphasize with, those that offend or annoy, they are your barometer. Which fiction resonates, which repels, for they are fictions, but like all fiction are based on reality.

The beautiful babes gathered round the bottle of booze has more than a grain of truth to it as many a bloke with one or three too many under the belt will attest, although, perhaps not till the next morning. The heels that lengthen and accentuate do compensate for what nature has forgotten to lure the moth to the flame.

They may dress our hard facts in glittering vestments but the facts remain. And as we stagnate in an EDSA grid lock the visuals will at least match the babble from the radio.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Finding Not Killing

Yesterday was the 4th World Day Against the Death Penalty with events organized around the globe to bring an end to state sponsored murder. Like slavery this muddled thinking that leads to the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of our neighbours is slowly going the way of the dinosaur. The Philippines was the latest country to see the light when in June this year it abolished the killing of its citizens as an official policy.

When a state condones the killing of its citizens it is a no brainer that the citizens of that state will adopt the same behaviour for the resolution of their personal grievances. The USA re-introduced the death penalty in 1977 and as at 2002 the homicide rate per 100k people was 6.1 from a low of 4.7 in the 50’s via an all time high of 10.7 three years after the its re-introduction in 1980. Compare those figures north of the border in Canada where the death penalty was abolished in 1973 where the homicide rate has been steadily declining to an all time low in 2003 of 1.7 per 100K people.

The Philippines with a homicide rate running at 3 times that of the US will hopefully follow the Canadian trend but one suspects that the real deterrent will be detection and prosecution. And this is the arena in which a lot more work needs to be done. The host of unsolved murders of journalists and political activists must be addressed for the country's leaders to be taken seriously.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More Milenyo




A couple more pics taken and subsequently worked into art from Milenyo to see them all go here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

An Uninvited Visitor

It is only now that we are getting our lives back together again after Milenyo paid us a fully blown visit last Thursday. The strongest typhoon, cyclone, hurricane, call it what you will, to hit Metro Manila and the island of Luzon for over a decade. Although not a Katrina it did manage to dispatch 26 good souls to meet their maker in the city and another 40 in the provinces.

After changing its name to Xangsane it headed off to Vietnam leaving those of us not quick enough to get into pubs with generators to spend 3 nights by candle light and phone less especially after the cell’s batteries went flat.

Typhoon Palms

At the height of the storm a section of our roof decided it had enough of Manila and then was a good time to see the rest of the world. After rigging a tarpaulin to minimize water damage it was onto the roof to replace the missing iron to dissuade the rest its mates from joining the exodus. The next day was spent cooking perishables to extend their un-refrigerated use by date, 3 cheers for gas stoves, and affecting more permanent repairs to the roof than could be done in the wind and rain.

Aftermath

Now 120 hours after the event life is back to normal, the debris is being cleared away, schools and all government departments are back at work and I’m back online.