Friday, December 8, 2006

ASEAN Summit

Here in Cebu, they are getting ready to host the ASEAN summit on December 13. That means that the government is making all sorts of improvements to the infrastructure, to try and get the place cleaned up in time for the summit. You know, things that should have been done and would have been done twenty years ago, if the money weren't going into someones pocket. There is new pavement on the roads, fancy new street lights, and a new convention center being built. Who knows if it all will get finished or not? The odds are great that everything won't, that work will still be going on after the summit is finished, if for no other reason than to make a good impression in the eyes of the delegates and other countries.

What does this mean for us in Buaya? Well for the most part it seems to mean power outages for hours at a time, almost every day. Sometimes it happens a couple times a day. That is something that better not happen during the Summit, as the Shangri-La Hotel :

where it is taking place is only a couple miles down the road. But who knows- maybe the New Peoples Army or Abu Sayyaf or the MILF will attack the power plant during the conference, so that the delegates will have to sit in the dark and not be able to watch cable tv.

It also means that they are putting up these bamboo thingies, two bamboo poles with two bamboo crosspieces, to hide the ugliness of the squatter areas. There are a whole bunch of them in front of Buaya, as it is not the prettiest place on the way to the Shangri-La resort. Closer to Lapu-Lapu City, I saw that they had a couple of pointsettia plants in each one, to brighten things up and get the delegates in the Christmas mood.
(No matter that most of them won't even be Christian. Here in the Philippines they start celebrating Christmas in late September. No kidding! I mean I love Jesus, I love God, I try to read my Bible every day and be a good Christian, but I hate the Christmas season and commercial mess it has morphed in to. So I'm not exactly doing handsprings when they start playing sappy Christmas music continually, putting up decorations, and having Christmas sales three or four months before the end of the year).

It also means that twenty or thirty times a day you have police convoys zipping up and down the road, practicing their escort duties. Mostly what they do is make the drivers on the road pissed off, because they have to slow down and pull over while the higher ups in the police force, and probably their mistresses and/or kids get to ride in the fancy new cars and play VIP. The kids here are happy, because they get three days off from school. Maybe so they don't get run down by the speeding convoys. Or maybe so they do. It would make quite a story on CNN.

As for me and my wife, we will probably head over to Moalboal,

to hang out on the beach and do some snorkeling. Why not? It is supposed to be one of the best places in the world for snorkeling and scuba diving. I was told all you have to do is put on your snorkel mask and put your face in the water, and all the beautiful tropical fish are everywhere.

I might even take a scuba refresher course. One of my wifes friends owns a resort in Moalboal, where we can hang around the beach for cheap. Her cousin owns a multicab, and can pick us up from the bus stop and take us to our lodgings.

It is probably best for us to be in Moalboal during the summit,

otherwise my wife would probably have to stop me from standing on the side of the road shaking my fist at the delegates, and yelling nasty things at them. (Especially the Indonesians. I have half a mind to make up a sign and protest their burning of the jungle in Sumatra, and causing all that haze we get in Malaysia. But my wife would probably have her male relatives lock me in the concrete outhouse and stand guard with bolo knives, until I promised to be good).