Archive for July 16th, 2008

I found these useful:

  1. Bring only cash you need for the first week. Budget a certain amount per week and bring traveler’s checks for succeeding weeks. Note that traveler’s checks may be hard to cash.
  2. Place your passport and traveler’s checks in a safe deposit box.
  3. Carry a smaller wallet and place in the front or secure pocket. Check constantly.
  4. Bring two packets of sturdy facial wipes per week. Keep one in your pocket. Smog and humidity will make the wipes necessary. Plus, available bathrooms do not stock paper.
  5. Do not drink more than necessary. It cuts down on bathroom breaks, as restrooms are hard to find.
  6. If you must drink at locations you find somewhat un-hygienic, drink bottled or canned soda.
  7. Eat little if you don’t feel comfortable with the food being served. Better safe than sorry.
  8. Keep antacid strips and Imodium on hand. These kept my stomach settled.
  9. Always ask for the meter in taxis. But do keep a watchful eye on the meter, as some funny business might occur. Never agree to un-metered negotiated rates; you will always be on the losing end.
  10. Travel light and avoid porters.
  11. Watch your stuff and don’t be a mark. If you look surly, they will leave you alone.
  12. Internet cafes are everywhere. The one at the major malls may charge 50 pesos per hour, and the one around the neighborhood may charge 10.
  13. Use your credit card only at respectable establishments; use cash as much as possible.
  14. If you are prepared to walk around, you may be able to get a deal around the corner. Coffee at a Starbucks might costs 75, and the same at Bo’s Coffee Club will costs 55. My best cup of coffee costs 40 at a strip mall.
  15. Be careful of strangers offering to be your friend.
  16. Get immunized before you go.
  17. Travel on jeepneys as much as possible. A taxi ride to the mall costs 50 while a jeepney ride will costs 7.
  18. Try to blend in by dressing similarly or behaving the same way. But note that you can’t hide all your mannerisms, so go quietly.
  19. Pack all over-the-counter medications you might need.

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My new SUV

Ha ha. I wish. This unit probably costs millions.

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I was cornered.  No matter what I did to change the subject, an old friend just wouldn’t let me go without doling out advice.  And so I said “this is only meant as a thought, but suffering is not necessary“.

She was taken aback.  She expected me to pass judgement on right or wrong, the grey zones, blame society, or reality.  Her eyebrows were now contorted, evidence of confusion.

I continued, “Reality feeds on itself.  One reacts in response to stimuli, and it goes around and around in circles.  Before you know it, you begin to accept it.  If anger or sadness occurs on a daily basis, you also begin to accept it as reality.“.  She feigns some understanding.

I added, “Until you step outside of your own reality and change things, your version of reality will go on indefinitely.  To be happy, you have to work at it.  That is how I know suffering is not necessary.  Just something to think about“.

Yes, it is easier to say change than to change.  Maybe, just maybe, her life can be happy instead of sad.

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So I overstate reality.  But it really does resemble approaching the edge of reality of sorts.

Here are a few ironies.  A charity has high walls to protect its wards, but my dad saw these high walls as evidence of wealth?  The word for divorce is annulment–but the latter is a dissolution not an equitable division.  Scratching an existence bordering on survival leaves its mark physically, but it is heroic and defining as well; ask a parent who does this balancing act each day and you know you have it easy.  The place is so green, but air quality is not a concern in cities.

Foreign travel shapes perceptions.  Can’t help it.  Maybe my perceptions won’t change too much.

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