Saturday, December 9, 2006

Typhoon Durian

All is well here. Typhoon Durian passed up north of us, and hit Luzon. All the damage was done up there. Here in Cebu, the only effect it had on us was that it was overcast for a couple of days. We didn't even get any rain, at least none that I am aware of. Typhoons aren't anything new around here- the Philippines is in the "Typhoon Belt". About 20 of them hit a year, global warming or no global warming.

Most of them aren't too bad- or at least the ones I've been through here. They were basically like tropical storms- lots of rain, some winds, but ok. One typhoon that went through when my wife Trien was a girl ripped off the tin roof of their house, and destroyed the family photographs. There are no pictures of her as a young girl, or of her mother and father as young parents.

Right now we are staying with her family, in their house. Before, it was sort of a thatched hut. Now, it is basically a concrete shack. There is no running in the house, or toilet. There is a concrete outhouse outside, right next to the well.There is no longer a hole in the back wall of the outhouse, and they did put tile on the floor, part way up the walls, and on the steps leading to it. For some reason, though, it is cemented the long way slightly in to the wall, so that you have to spread your legs really wide when you squat over it. Being that it is cemented into the wall, you can't sit on it, not that there is a seat on it anyway. As for where the sewage goes, well I was afraid to ask. I did ask, and it goes into a septic tank next to the well!

The water from when you take a "shower" (which is basically drawing 2 buckets of water from the well, and pouring it over yourself with a cut-off bleach bottle), goes through a hole in the side of the wall and out into the open "sewer". Where it is drunk by the ducks and chickens and turkeys.

That's right- her family has a trio of turkeys that they raise for food. The Philippines is probably the only country in the world where at night you will see a turkey roosting in a banana tree. They are all over the country- not just here in Cebu. My guess is that they were probably brought over for American servicemen to have Thanksgiving dinners during the American occupation of the Philippines from 1898-1941. (I guess the Japanese occupation was too short for them to instill in the natives a love of sushi.)

They also have some chickens, and some ducks, also for food. I guess you can call them free range, but as most of the day they run around eating garbage or table scraps, I don't think you can call them "organic". The ducks are really delicious, and they are a change from their normal diet of rice and fish, and nothing else, for every meal. (I'm surprised that they don't have some sort of rice and fish for desert).

I just realized that there is no animal cuter than a baby duck.
They have 13 of them running around, and they are so cute and funny, well, it makes me want to barf! I want to get some when we get back home to Malaysia. (Which I've come to think of home, after being there for two years.) I know we can't, because where would we put the things?