Thursday, December 31, 2009

Entertaining ourselves; the "blue moon"

People often ask us, “Just what do you do to entertain yourselves on that remote island of Corregidor?” Well, most of the time we write and/or edit, go exploring, take lots of pictures, and spend time relaxing in our “dirty kitchen” area with books, the occasional Sudoku (Steve) and music. We recently purchased a CD player in Manila, and we brought our CD collection with us from the U.S. in August. We enjoy visiting with some of the tourists, and some days there are tours to guide. Some evenings we head down the hill for videoke sessions, too, a Filipino favorite activity. At night we lay in bed reading (Marcia) or watching videos on the computer (Steve).

Just this morning Steve went to Battery Grubbs to watch the moonset. The pictures he took do not do justice to how great it was to watch the moon set over the town of Mariveles, Bataan. The full moon will officially occur at 19:15 GMT this evening. When two full moons occur within the same month, the second one is called a blue moon. Hence the expression, “Once in a blue moon,” meaning a seldom-occurring event. What makes this full moon extra special is that it will be a blue moon on December 31, 2009, for most of the world, but here in eastern Asia the full moon doesn’t occur until 3:15 AM. Hence the first full moon of 2010 in this part of the world is on January 1, and we will see our blue moon on January 30, 2010. That has to be the blue moon of blue moons, occurring not only in two different months but two different years!

We were recently exploring Morrison Hill when Marcia found a small, heavy piece of metal that looked like it was the tip of a bomb – see picture. We sent several photos taken from different angles to some friends who are informed about such things. The most specific response came from Shawn Walsh: “Looks like an M1907 powder train time fuse for 3-inch shells.” Ooh, that sounds dangerous. In a follow-up email we asked him if he thought the fuse might still go BOOM!!! Shawn replied, “Not certain...looks like the booster is gone...but the powder train may still be inside the fuse. I'd never throw it into a fire to find out!” Okay, Shawn, you have our word we are not going to try roasting the fuse any time soon.

And speaking of going boom, the other day we had beef soup for lunch and a pork soup supper. It was a bit more meat than we are used to in a day, along with lots of other, shall we say, gas-producing produce, such as munggo beans and malunggay (horseradish leaves). Add to that a couple glasses of Red Horse Beer and you have the potential for a very interesting evening.

Steve had the first reaction, a sudden gas release with a sound loud enough to wake up the neighbors - if we had any. But like many instances of loud gas-passing, it appeared to be odor free. However, it was soon following by a much quieter and much more noxious round, which sent Marcia scurrying out of the bedroom gasping, “The least you can do is go somewhere else!” Steve apologized, but explained that it happened too quickly to be able to evacuate ground zero. Now feeling relieved, Steve thought that his intestines were going to behave themselves, which they did until lights out. All of a sudden Steve felt another, lesser, passing of gas. He quickly said, “Air raid warning,” which was the family code phrase while our kids were young. At that point, Marcia began laughing uncontrollably. Steve could not believe that she was laughing at him, but then Marcia said that she was retaliating for his earlier attack, which then sent Steve into hysterics. Maybe our reenactment of the bean-eating scene from Blazing Saddles is one of the ways we stay sane on this minimal-entertainment island, especially given our choice to live without TV. “Let the one who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

Our New Year’s Eve plans are again low-key, a charcoal roasted chicken dinner with the few friends who are still on the island – most are with family off-island for at least a day or two. We are not late-night people, so there’s a good chance we will allow 2010 to sneak in while we sleep. We will, however, be wide awake when 2010 arrives in Minnesota and Michigan!

Once again, we wish you a very Happy New Year from Corregidor, Mariveles, Cabcaben, Bataan, Philippines!

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