Friday, January 20, 2006

Here's to lazy afternoons on the veranda

We went to the market to do some shopping this afternoon. We bought 1 kg of pig leg for 120 pesos (about US$2.40). Strangley all the meat -- chicken, beef, pork -- seems to retail for the same price. I tried to take a picture of the market of Tagbaya but as so often happens here people rush to get into the picture and it makes a big stir. I didn't want to make too much of a commotion so I just took these three pictures of the meat guy and his friend and also of the chicken lady.

Sunday is the Ati Ati festival in Tagbaya celebrating Saint Anino. Hopefully I can get a few photos without too many people playing up to the camera. We will roast the pig leg on a stick and somebody gets to wave it around like a sceptre. Tatayi also went to the fish pond near the sea and in helping the owner harvest some of his fish managed to take home a few of the sea denizens for himself including a giant shrimp (or whatever they are called) that is about 10 cm long and 4 cm in diameter as well as a few other types of fish.

But now I'm off to my book to study some Tagalog so I can talk with the friendly people in this neighbourhood. Speaking of which I could have sworn that my friendship with Albert (see a post I made sometime in October) was over when he came over and got drunk on Rosi's parent's veranda asking for an interest free 500 peso loan to be paid back at an indeterminate date sometime in the future so he could go and gamble with the money. My immediate reaction was to say no, but I wanted to check with Rosi, and she agreed, so I did /say no because I don't think borrowing money for gambling is a very hot idea. Not to mention the fact that if I started loaning money to people in this neighbourhood I'd get tons of people chasing after me to give them money with no way of getting the money back.

I'm not working right now, and with any luck I won't have to work until my baby is born. Then I can take Rosi, Rowena and Charlize to Korea for a new job. If I start giving my money away to people who want to call me their friend, I can't see my nest egg lasting long enough to last us. So far, I think we are doing well by staying with Rosi's family. We are spending little enough money each day that I think I'll have enough to last until Charlize is born and we can get together the necessary documents for the whole family to get to Korea so I can make some more money.

Anyway, Albert was really pissed off when I told him I didn't want to loan him money for his gambling urges and he threw down the photos of himself and his wife that I had given him as a gift earlier, storming away back to his house. But the next day he came back apoligizing for his behaviour but still asking for the money. Luckily, I learned how to say no at some indeterminate point in my childhood. But it is so hard to say no to people who have so little money. Nevertheless, Albert was bragging to me when I met him in October that he was a rice farmer because he liked being able to leave his work for another day so he could lie around and drink and enjoy the afternoons. That helps to waylay some of my guilt.

Afterall, in the last 20 odd years of working I can easily count the number of afternoons I've been able to relax on my veranda with a beer or whisky in hand -- the number of times does not go very far into the double digits.

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