Juxtaposition

As we rode the Air-Con (air-conditioned) bus into Subic Bay, Baloy, the rolling hills and the plots of growing crops reminded me of Ohio. Not really that much different . . . Except for the palm trees . . . And the fact that the crop was rice . . . Oh, and the guy plowing his rice field with a water buffalo. Come to think of it, it was more like seeing a picture out of National Geographic. Of Ohio? Well, I guess that impression lasted only about a minute. Subic Bay is much calmer than Angeles City. The streets are somewhat unfinished, not completely paved as they are in Angeles. *Aside* There is a lot of concrete construction in the Philippines. I noticed some brightly colored chipped concrete that obviously came out of someone’s remodeling project filling the potholes in one street. There is not as much hustle and bustle: more quiet, more laid back. More safe according to the residents. There is an SM Megamall, which is four stories high, but not nearly as big as the one in Angeles. The first day it was breezy, not too humid. Then it rained making the second day warmer and a bit steamy. Then it rain all night making the third day just plain hot and humid. Tom went diving two days, saw the wreck of the USS New York, took some awesome pictures (see above - there are more of them on his Facebook page), then laid the diving aside. The visibility is poor - from 8 to 25 feet - not giving him the diving experience he was hoping for. Besides, in two weeks we’ll be in Atlantis resorts for two weeks of diving every day and that trip is paid in full. This dives cost "real" money. *Aside* The USS New York was built in 1890, struck (removed from the Navy books) in 1931 and put out to pasture (so to speak) at anchor in Subic Bay. When the US heard the Japanese were coming in 1941, they scuttled the ship rather than allow it to fall into the hands of the Japanese. Now it is teaming with marine life, corals and sponges. At 380 feet long, it’s one of the largest intact wrecks for diving, presenting quite a presence even under the surface. Friday June 4, 2016 We decided to see if we could figure out the Jeepney system to downtown, the Megamall and Harbor Point. You catch a Blue Jeepney to a Yellow Jeepney then get off when you see the mall. Sure, easy. We stopped for breakfast at a little open-air corner restaurant. Our breakfasts - fried chicken, garlic rice and a fried egg for Tom and fried fish, garlic rice and a fried egg for Rebecca and 2 lime juices, please - cost us 180 pesos or $3.89. We caught the first Jeepney 24 pesos or 50¢ for the two of us. The connecting Jeepney was 14 pesos or 30¢ for the two of us. The trip took about 20 minutes. *Aside* Jeepneys, former U.S. Military Jeeps left over from WWII, tend to have chrome ornamentation and somewhat kitschy decorations inside and out. A Jeepney holds about 18 to 19 people with room to sit, but there were 24 with children on laps at one point. When yet another rider climbs in the back, everyone squeezes together a little bit more to fit them in. I didn’t see anyone refused a ride. As we rode to the mall in the morning, I wondered what it would be like to ride home at the end of the day in such close proximity to all those other people. It wasn’t too bad when we came back at 2:00, but I was grateful we didn’t stay later. At the mall, we walked around looking for a couple of small items - an electrical plug to convert three prongs to two and a lock for a suitcase. And of course, some bubble tea. *Aside* There was a stark scarcity of tapioca bubbles in the mall. Yes, they had milk tea, but no, they did not have the bubbles. There was a bubble substitute, which turned out to be a highly unsatisfactory substitution. On the way out of the mall in the local pop-up food shops, we finally found the necessary tea united with the much-desired black tapioca bubbles. Rebecca went home happy and we all know how important that is. For lunch in the megamall, we had Japanese: Ramen noodle soup; a tiny dish of “Asian” slaw; an even tinier, but really cute, dish of pickled carrots and radish; something like a California roll (but not exactly a California roll); and four tempura shrimp. Lunch cost $17. 95. That’s not really expensive but when you consider breakfast in Baloy was $3.89, it’s a little pricey. The lock for the suitcase from the Wenger store cost 750P or $16.21 USD. We paid the Jeepney 80¢ round trip for transportation for both of us to the mall and $16 for a lock. The jeepney driver would need 40 customers to pay for one lock leaving nothing for gas and oil. How does that work out? I know - probably the Jeepney driver doesn’t need a lock for his suitcase because he probably can afford to go anywhere. But that’s not the point is it? When we returned to our room tired, hot and sweaty, we decided to treat ourselves to a massage. We showered off, then headed down the block to the massage shop not far from our room. $20.53 USD bought both of us an hour and half massage, including a tip for the masseuse. Why on earth did we wait so long to get a massage? I still don’t need that 3-D mole we saw in the first mall. I wonder if the Jeepney driver ever had a massage?

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