West of the Town

Friday, 30 March 2018

Easter Cake

This cake is baked in the bamboo with coconut plug "baking tin". The ingredients are put in and a hole dug in the sand in which a fire is started. Lots of these are then assembled on the fire and buried in sand for about a day.
It is an expensive process, this example cost 180 pesos (70 to the pound, but 180 is half a day's wages for a worker), so they are made only at Easter.
You open it with a meat-cleaver and club hammer as you can see. And this sticky brown log is the result. Ingredients? Ground rice, coconut, and hard brown sugar. It is unusual to my taste but nice enough.
I put in a picture to show how sticky too.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Sticky fruit

In our brother's garden opposite is a tamarind tree. You can see the fruits on the ground in these pictures.

Although they may look like something the cat left in the gravel, they are in fact very tasty! You can easily crack open the crisp shell and the seeds inside are covered with a very sweet sticking liquid. This is what you eat spitting the seeds out once they are sucked dry.

The tree is very tall so a long pole is a convenient way to dislodge ripe fruits. 

And in the same garden is a turkey. A January turkey, I think, is rare - so here is a picture of a turkey that escaped Christmas! (Too skinny I was told)

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Driving License

The crowds gather outside the LTO which is the land transport office. They resemble basking sea lions waiting for the moment to catch a fish. In fact we will catch several different sorts of fish on this single visit.

First to discover the process. I have a British passport and a French licence. After earlier visits I now also have a translation of my licence into English with the translator's signature verified by the French embassy in Manila. Just in case I have my passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate , and several photos.

We collect a simple form to fill in and are instructed to visit the medical office where we are to photocopy parts of my passport and the French original licence.

The medical wants my height, weight, eye colour, hair colour, complexion, build, and blood group. They take my picture and my blood pressure and check my hearing. We return to verify the result and collect a waiting ticket. As someone over 60 I have a priority number. Fish 1 swallowed.

Then they take my photo and signature electronically. We wait again.

The next fish is payment. The cashier smiles and remarks that is is much less than the translation which is true! We return to the basking herd.

Sign against my name on a clipboard. Wait again.

Go to the back room for another photo of me and my finger prints. We check the data entered on the screen giving all my important details. Wait again.

And then back to window 7 for a receipt and the licence, pictured and coded and ready to use.

Done. In about 2hr 20 because I am priority. We leave the younger seals to continue feeding.

I use my new licence twice before getting home. Once in the restaurant and once on the bus. Each time it proves my age and earns me 20% discount. That's going to be the best bit!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Saturday, Sunday, Monday

3 photos of our garden. On Saturday we had 2 lakes but after a night of tropical rain on Sunday we had just a lake and no garden.

Sunday was dry(ish) except for flooding on the roads so by Monday we were back to 2 lakes.

As you can see, the house is elevated over the garden so the house stayed dry.

Visitors are recommended to the dry season

Fish and Lights

Some meetings are in the church buildings; others are where the people are. One such is on the beach where several families live in home-made houses.

These are fishermen and their families. Some fish on the river which is one side of the single road that gives access. Others, those who own a boat, fish in the sea which is the other side of the road.

Because we meet after 6pm it is always dark. So we sit in a circle on the sand under an LED light. Later the men will go out in the boats to fish.

So on the way home we stop at the next "village" where Evangeline is friends with one of the families. We park and follow the lady to the seashore. The night is very still which is good for fishing not least for safety reasons. The boats are those small thin ones with outriggers.

As photos go, it is not smartphone friendly. Just starlight, candles and torches. So the flash photos is the best I got.

However, for buying fish it is ideal. The boats have just returned and the men are still throwing the catch from the nets onto the sand. We fill a bucket with small fish called "lady of the farm" in Filipino and return to the house to weigh them and pay for them. They will have to be gutted when we get home.

The next night we returned from the church building at Reserva village. As we pass through a town on the main road, their Christmas lights are worth a look. The big tree is last years winner made large for this year's display. The smaller trees round the edge are contenders for next year.

All the trees are made from local materials, often recycled. The winner is already selected but we liked one best that wasn't even placed.

There is a video playing and stalls selling food, nativity scenes and lots of people. Most large towns have one but this was the one on our route.

Today, lunchtime and some of the ladies of the farm are in the frying pan. They should taste good!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Tea for two

Tea and scones with cream and jam served by Harrods. So where are we?

Kuala Lumpur of course.

But is this supper, or breakfast, or afternoon tea; or maybe midnight snack?! For us, it is 2:30am and our flight is at 4:15.

But it is breakfast time here and this is as suitable as it gets.