Saturday, November 23, 2013

Manila Things

A few times a week we get out to the pool. We have one on the ground floor and then one on the 41st floor that is more geared towrds doing laps but the kids can still play in it. After school we tend to go to the upstairs pool so I can do some laps while the girls swim. On the weekends we typcially opt for the ground floor as it is a bit nicer lay out and more kid friendly.

Ground floor pool. Notice how covered up everyone is - during the day it is most often frequented by neo euro expats tanning away - and in the evenings more asians - all has to do with culture and effects of the sun.

Emmerson is quite good at doing the "fake I'm falling" thing. If Ada tried she would be in the pool. I am somewhat ashamed to say but I have admitted, at least to myself a few times, that it was chilly by the pool. It has never dipped below 75 and the pool water is always pleasant. But after months of 85, I guess 75 feels a bit chilly. It is 10 degrees in Chicago - two days prior to Thanksgiving - that's chilly.

Girls Rockin the Jollibee! Alicia is in Singapore so its a free for all this week. At least they are not still wearing their pajamas.

Kiana in the back, then Ada, Emmerson and Elli. At the girlscout over night at our school. It rained and the tents leaked so the girls slept out of doors on the padded playground area that was protected by a roof. Amazingly no mosquitos - but they do all have some strange groupings of bites that they (the girls) are calling "German measles" .....

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Manila ISM Family Fun Fair

Annual family fun fair at ISM. Well put together event and not too painful for the adults. 

I guess Coke made a better offer than Pepsi.

Family fun.

Kids are strongly encouraged to participate at ISM in whatever - and I think it is Filipino culture as well - not a whole lot of self-conciousness going around. Lots of singing and dancing in all sorts of places. You will actually see girls and boys from kids to adults planning out and practicing dance routines on sidewalks, in parks and such. The outdoor stage had kids performing on it throughout the day.

Ada getting a super cool face painting. I was tempted but refrained ... 

Ada's cool lion creature transformation.

Emmerson's cool balloon creature transformation!

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Manila Random

Here is Emmerson after being debraided. We finally got Ada's out and she refused to go with the lion look at all - showered immediately. I think Emmerson went one day with it - mainly due to her aversion to showers. Bagels and instant Udon - hows that for fusion cuisine.

I forgot to mention a harrowing event that took place while Alicia was in Singapore. It just so happened to be a particularly busy week with me involving lots of after school things and evening things and the girls had to tag along. Wednesday I am playing/learning "touch rugby". The staff plays against the ISM girls team for practice. I am not going to go into the specifics of "touch" but it is quite involved and I do not havea clue but at least it is a run around. My girls loved the large open space that makes up the high school track and field and one of my Australian girl students took them under her wing and ran around with them - good times and thanks Tayla. Unfortunately "touch" ends in peak traffic time. I haven't left this late in a while and was not expecting what I got into. I went the "river road" route and once I got up against the traffic pile did not move for 20 minutes. Even more unfortunate was that my gas tank light had been on E since the previous day. I turned off the car but realized this was not a good situation. So I actually backtracked back to the area around school as it is more developed than the river road area and figured it would be a better place to run out of gas. After getting back to the Fort (area around school), I drove around trying to get to the gas station that was also, unfortunately, on the opposite side of the street than I was on and blocked by about an hours worth of traffic. So I tried going back roads to try and access the station from another way. After about 1/2 hour of driving - keep in mind - all of this driving has been in about a mile square area- I got to the station. The girls stopped crying, I stopped all the things I was doing, and we relaxed. To celebrate, we parked and walked across the street to KFC, which was too crowded but McD was conveniently located right next store. We waited out the worst of the traffic and enjoyed a happy meal to celebrate our happy state - well that was the plan but they did not have any toys left for the happy meal which made me not happy ... anyway. We waited it out in the oasis that McDonalds - for all its down points - can certainly be to a dad stuck in Manila traffic with no gas and two really hungry and freaked out kids. Thank you Ronald, thank you.

Don't want to blow this picture up as it might frighten but this is Dolce, our 50 something year old yaya's reading selection. She arrives at our house around 4:30 am and I am pretty sure and hope, that she takes a break during the day - relaxes, has a nap and reads "Bolang Apoy"!

This is what Tagalog looks like.

Countries of ISM students.

Enjoying some Frozen yogurt and Christmas creche ducky. Llamas in the back - not sure how they got to the manger from Peru but hey Jesus worked some serious miracles. 

Blurry poses in front of the fall colored Christmas ensemble.

Ada with the "miracle llama of Christmas morn" ... not sure how this story was kept out of the bible.

Another creche.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Ada Reading with a Friend

My favorite new picture of Ada. her teacher is always sending us pictures of Ada and telling us things that she does during the day. Here she is at the book fair with one of her clasmates. She still hasn't agreed to taking ourt her braids so they are looking quite the disaster. Also, Alicia has been in Singapore all week so they have been on their own as far as hair grooming and clothing selection. Ada is so excited to be able to read after all these years of watching/listening to Emmerson reading. And now listening/watching her read is beautiful.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Here is the final installment of the fall break holiday to Thailand. From Bangkok we flew to Phuket and then taxied an hour or so to the Centara Hotel on Kata Beach. Nice resort with several pools, very kid friendly, quick walk to the beach.

Phuket is an island on the west coast of the tail of Thailand (classic example of a prorupt state - a country which has an elongated extension with both positive and negative potential situations, culturally, politically and economically) As you can see, the island has a hilly interior which extend down to the ocean. We divided our days between time at this pool and the beach.

Very kid friendly - Emmerson and Ada mad a few friends and made the most of all the pool offerings.

In the "cave".

 They come up with elaborate games/situations, often involving various characters with different hairstyles - which I think is going on here.

At the beach. The girls both got braids - which took about 2 hours to get and laid open their scalps to the tropical sun so we had to get bandanas for them to wear.

Quite a challenge to keep them pasty white in the tropics but we managed for the most part. 

Doing something.

Doing something else.

 Some decent sized waves - down the beach I realized their was a surf break - on the evening of the last day we were there - unfortunately. But we were able to do some body surfing and just getting pummeled by the waves.

Celebrating by lifting Emmerson over my head - style points as always for Emmerson!


Various warnings - most likely set in place do to the tsunami that ravaged the area in 2006? This was the part of Thailand that got absolutely devastated. It has been completely rebuilt, no signs of the tsunami except for the signs.

I did have to give the girls a lecture in the realities of rip currents and how to deal with them. They are very legally conscientious and wanted to make sure that they were doing the right thing while at the beach involving the warning signs.

  Tsunami signs.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Chao Phraya and Khlongs

Bangkok is a "river town". Much of it is oriented around the Chao Phraya and the khlongs that criss-cross the city. It is a wonderful way to travel - if you like boats and canals and such - if not, then it is a horrible way to travel. You can get to quite a few places by taking the river ferries or the longtail boats that ply the smaller canals - and it is considerably cheaper than the other forms of public transport. Most of these images are from the obligatory longtail boat river and khlong tour ... which I always enjoy.

Big old giant tradtional Thai house. This is one of the private residences of a major player in govt. finance.

Fish feeding frenzy. The fish outside the waters of temple are off limits to fishing, from what I understand, but some allow feeding them. You buy a loaf of bread from the accomodating "fish feeding bread vendor" people and then enjoy the show. The fish are huge and make quite a scene. The girls got a kick out of it but were also a bit freaked out by it.

 I kept trying to get Emmerson to lean way over the sided of the boat so I could get a good picture of her and the fish, but she wasn't having any of that ....

House boat.

House on one of the khlongs. Notice the mailbox on the porch - delivered by boat.

Girls on the longtail boat tour. This is out on the Chao Phraya itself. The Chao Phraya is the principle river system in Thailand, draining much of the central plain and flowing into the Gulf of Thailand, South China Sea, Pacific Ocean.

My three girls getting ready to board the longtail boat. The engine of the longtail boat is exposed and has a long shaft extending perhaps ten feet into the water. The propeller is affixed on the end of the shaft. The engine can be moved around and thus changing the angle of the shaft. This allows longtail boats to go in varying depths of water by changing the angle of the shaft and thus the depth of the propeller.

Temple from the boat.

This was on one of the river taxi/ferries that ply the river. Emmerson and a monk kid checking eachother out. In the Thai form of Buddhism, many people go and live in a monastery for varying degrees of time - no particular time commitment is necessary. Many will do it as a part of their religious life experience.


Three tugs pulling a long line of barges upriver.

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