I recently went on a long trip to the Philippines with Mrs. Gamer…4 weeks. Flight was three legs…short domestic flight…14 hours to Abu Dhabi…9 hours to Manila…8 hour and 5 hour waits…a long ass trip. The Abu Dhabi airport was pretty much like any other airport except you exited the plane and a standing room (mostly) shuttle took you to the terminal. Lots of high end shops and a Burger King and a fast food featuring local cuisine like shawarma. Security check when you entered the terminal, even from a shuttle where you had been thru security. Multiple checks makes defeating security more difficult.

Hiked up the Taal volcano with my sister-in-law’s church friend who was also the driver and a cool guy who works as a ship’s cook. There were steam vents and some picturesque views I’ll add here later. We took a motorboat to get there that had outriggers and a roof, but was built like a big canoe…it was a partly cloudy day, but still, lots of sun…a 35 minute, picturesque ride. The boat arrived at a local barrio on the beach that had the usual livestock smells and lots of boats beached. A photographer took our picture and discounted the picture heavily after we returned. There were lots of horses on the trail, so we had to keep dodging them while hiking…dodging them was part of the fun…a 45 minute hike up and 35 minute hike down…maybe ten dollar cost for the boat ride…cheaper and more fun without horses and you get some cardio. Mrs. Gamer and her sister stayed behind in a tiny “shack” and chatted.

Rested a day to try to recover a little from jet lag. Then it was off to a place called “The Junction” in Tagaytay where we got 50% off. This was part of a high school reunion for Mrs. Gamer and the motel’s owner is part of her HS class. There was a dance party at the attached restaurant with a live band and free food for the reunion people and their guests. I danced a lot with Mrs. Gamer and also with a few ladies at our table. Once I asked a young woman to dance and she refused. I asked the woman’s mother right after that, and the mother quickly accepted with relish. Teaching the daughter a lesson…women are competitive and even blood doesn’t come before a hot guy’s attention.

Food was a continual problem for me this trip…autism and illness combined to lessen my appetite. I had more of an appetite for familiar food…don’t care for seafood or sweet potatoes or ginger (ginger actually makes my stomach hurt). Have to watch the raw veggies and fruits, but it was not much of a problem this trip compared with other times.

Mrs. Gamer and I got an upper respiratory tract infection from this trip and it took a week to get (mostly) healthy. Don’t know if we got sick from the plane or the motel or the restaurant or possibly from the driver. We had to take antibiotics because the infection went into the lungs.

We got antibiotics from the local pharmacy…I don’t think that you need a prescription to get them, but we were seen by a lung specialist…no insurance, but one of my in laws is a doctor and he got us seen. The infection caused us to sleep a lot for a couple of days and we lost our appetite for a few days following. A little vomiting, but no diarrhea. A low grade fever for a couple of days…around 101F. It took a week for our appetite to return, and even then we didn’t eat a lot at meals…that gradually increased.

I got to ride a jeepney this trip, but not a “tricycle” (a bicycle or scooter with a sidecar). Also the Light Rail Transit, where I stood up for the 30 minute trip. This was part of my trip to Quiapo with one of my brothers in law, who is a cool guy…Quiapo is an area of Manila and is dirty and smelly with lots of stalls and people…great fun! I bought a couple of cheap touristy T-shirts at Quiapo for pasalubongs (shit to give away to friends).

More later on this trip…stay tuned!