Thursday, January 29, 2009

Going bananas; Tom and Remi; bombs

On Sunday, famed Corregidor explorer Tom and his wife Remi came to the island, Remi for a day, and Tom for a week. We had the privilege of meeting Remi for the first time, while we knew Tom from meeting him here in 2006. Tom and Remi met as a result of his volunteering for the Peace Corps in the 1970’s, and Remi being one of the local Peace Corps instructors. They currently reside in Dallas, TX, but plan to relocate to Tagaytay in a couple more years after their daughter is finished with college.

We began Monday morning with our usual routine of fresh fruit, if we have some on hand. We walked down the hill eating bananas, and then spent a couple of hours walking with Tom and Remi. When we were done, they suggested that we stop at MacArthur café for merienda, which is a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. They ordered turron, cooking bananas wrapped in a filo-like dough and deep fried. They are similar to lumpia, meats and/or vegetables wrapped and deep fried. Of course, like anything cooked that way, they are dangerously delicious. Lumpia is also served fresh rather than fried, but we have not eaten it that way yet.

A couple weeks ago, we had an over-abundance of ripe bananas on hand, so Marcia peeled, mashed, and froze them. Last time we were in Manila we found Hershey’s chocolate syrup at a store, and of course we bought a bottle. Our late lunch Monday was slushy bananas with chocolate, almost like an ice cream sundae. We would have quite a challenge to get frozen foods back to Corregidor, so the only ice cream we’ve eaten has been during our Manila trips. We do plan to get a cooler, and dry ice can be gotten from a few businesses, but it may be more trouble than it’s worth.

On Tuesday Steve joined Armando’s tour group to become more acquainted with leading tours, since he has been asked to lead his first official Sun Cruises tour on Saturday. Included were ten Baptist Missionaries who are from the United States but who are serving missions in the Far East. One man had a University of Michigan cap on. Steve found out that he is a missionary in Sydney, Australia, but had grown up in Toledo, OH, and Grand Rapids, MI. When Steve asked him if he had heard of Eaton Rapids, where we lived for the past two years, and where Marcia worked for almost ten, he said that he had an uncle who used to own the restaurant a mile south of town. We assume that this is now Robin’s Nest. How about that? Also on the tour was a Filipina whose father fought on Corregidor. She has his journal from the war and says she will send it to Steve so that it can be placed in the proper museum.

Marcia took the morning to gather bloodstones, which are rocks that look like they have dried blood on them. Most people who come to the island never notice them, since they are mostly found along the south beach, and day tourists don’t walk there. Bloodstones, according to tradition, contain the blood of fallen Corregidor soldiers, although of course the blood is actually an indication of iron. Since they are considered relics and thus part of the island they are not supposed to be taken away. We will use them to decorate around the yard.

Just like Karl has a knack for walking right to things in a dense jungle, Tom has the knack for finding artifacts. Tom, the dean of discovery, found a couple of WWII bombs that had washed up on the enlisted men’s beach. One had pretty much rusted away, and he gave it to us. The other, however, was whole although covered in barnacles. We reported this to the Coast Guard, who took pictures and made it a restricted area. Since we didn’t have our camera we have no pictures. But it was about 15 inches long and looked like a mortar shell about 3 inches in diameter, give or take the barnacles. Chances are the bomb, more than 60 years old, is harmless, having sat in saltwater for all these years, but better safe than sorry.

We do not get to see a newspaper very often, so when Tom gave us a couple of ones from earlier this week we were surprised to see that a partial eclipse of the sun happened over Manila Bay on Monday at sunset. This would certainly make an interesting discussion in science class. The downside of being away from media is that we can miss exciting events such as this, which would have been easily observed from very near our house. We have attached a couple of pictures that were in the Philippine Star Tuesday edition. Notice that the photographer, Jojo Vincencio of Reuters, even managed to get a boat in the picture.

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