I’ve been traveling in the Philippines the past couple weeks, visiting my Dad and his girlfriend here. I have a few pictures. I had a LOT of pictures, until for some strange reason I found myself on the memory card screen and managed to hit “reformat”. No good, but not deadly. Clicking “Okay” after that — now THAT was bad. So there went the record of the first half of the trip, including some interesting stuff shot in an isolated Muslim village (were the population is something like 70% children — giving it at times the feel of a ’60′s sci-fi movie in which all the adults have disapeared), and also some shots catamarans crowding the ferry when we arrived in the port city of Zamboanga. We had a nice time, in that southern province, despite US State Department warnings not to travel there because of terrorist activity. Folks were nice to us, though they don’t see as many foreigners there as in the rest of the country, so we prompted a lot of stares. There were armed military stationed, one per hotel to protect travelers, but that is about all. It’s not exactly the Afghan hills out here. We were a couple blocks away from a McDonald’s afterall.
But being on display like that gets old after awhile, so I have to remind myself that its only natural curiosity. What can you do.
Also Korean and Japanese tourists far outnumber Americans this trip, which was not true two years ago. There’s your weak US dollar at work. Thanks for everything Mr. Bush. I’ve talked to a few Brits and Aussies here — and the attitude toward to US is friendly, but not really surprised at the way we’ve handled Iraq. Most Americans I have talk to here seen pretty fed up with the States as well. This is true of the red-staters just as much as the blue-staters. I hadn’t expected that, and I’m still trying to sort out the reasons for their dissatisfaction. My preliminary theory is that they are worn out by the political infighting as well. Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Rove, Cheney, Bush, etc, have so demonized the left that our public discourse has become distasteful to even their own supporters, dwindling though they may be. Though the way the Democratic congress continues to roll over to the White House, what’s the point of putting them back in the majority anyway.
It would be nice not to have to go back. At least I should begin planning my own exit strategy. One thing that is especially tedious about walking down the street in, for example, Seattle, is the sheer smugness that drips of people. I notice this especially when I’ve returned from overseas. A little humility at home would be nice to see.
Now we are in a place called Bacolod, where we’ve got a chance to catch up on email, do laundry, and, since it has rained all day every day since we’ve arrived, it’s also a reminder of Seattle.
Next is a beach town: Bacolod. If it is raining there too, we may head back to Manila early.