Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cool at night; Jim Valenzuela; ducks at dinner

The weather has gotten cooler, to the point where sometimes we have to use a thin sheet to stay warm at night. On cloudier days it only makes it into the low to mid 80’s. Sometimes, when it is maybe 75 degrees with a slight breeze and we are at Ronilo’s for dinner, he says, “It is very cold for me.” Since he has never left the Philippines it is very difficult for us to explain what real cold is, but we do explain that where we are from, it gets so cold that lakes freeze over and you can walk and even drive cars across them. We can remember going to Michigan State football games in November when it was too cold to think about anything but your frozen feet, ears, and rear end. We are missing the games but not the weather back home about now.

This past week, Jim Valenzuela, a professional photographer, visited the island. Like Steve, his father also served on Corregidor. Jim’s Dad was with the 92nd Filipino Scouts, and eventually went to a neighboring fortified island across the south channel named Carabao, or Fort Frank, where he fought and was captured. Jim came to take some photographs which he will use to update the postcards sold here, which are very out of date. Jim has done lots of photography at Pearl Harbor, among other places.

Jim worked closely with the island’s resident photographer, Ronilo’s roommate Gilbert. Gilbert and Ronilo are both from islands south of here and spoke a different language before they arrived here. Sometimes they speak it to each other, and Marcia and I, trying to learn the local language, Tagalog, get even more confused.

Last night Jim was supposed to be back with us after a couple of days in Manila, but he was not feeling well. Ronilo had bought squid and Gilbert prepared squid adobo. The little creatures are very odd looking and are two to four inches long. They are better to eat when they are young. Fortunately they taste pretty good to us, but their ink turns the sauce black, and the first bite was kind of scary. We’ll try to get a picture, but basically if you know what a squid looks like, that’s what we’re eating. They are kind of chewy and have a unique flavor, although you would certainly guess you’re eating seafood.

While we are at dinner we are often visited by cats, ducks, and chickens who think that they also have invitations. The ducks belong to Ronilo, while the chickens belong to others who live in the area. Some are banded for identification. As far as the cats, they seem to be on their own, and are semi-feral. Occasionally the animals get some rice or fish bones tossed their way. Small squabbles often break out as eating rank is determined.

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