My stay in Olangapo city was quite enjoyable. I got to spend time with Dave before we parted ways for a very long time. He is planning to go to CO, buy a condo and create a home base in the US. He still would like to travel and live in the Philippines but without volunteering with All Hands he gets a little bored. I know where he is coming from because traveling for traveling sake is very tiring and at times boring. When you do the touristy stuff you don’t learn as much about a culture compared to when you volunteer or work with them. This is why volunteering with All Hands is so great and interning with HOT is useful. I have learned so much more about the mentality and thought process of Asians through having to work through problems with them.
Anyways, back to Olangapo city. Dave and I took advantage of the facilities of the old base. We ran on the track and played tennis. There is still a security station you must pass through to get to the base from the main side of the city. They are completely different worlds- the old American base and Olangapo city. Though the base closed in 1991, there were still many Americans and foreigners found at the base. A lot of them were from a navy boat that had just landed, while others were there for businesses or economic ventures because the base provides reliable electricity, shipping access and useful infrastructure. (On the other hand, I heard that corruption is high and you need to pay large fees to have a business there).
Yesterday, Dave and I had a spa day. That is definitely the biggest asset of the Philippines– spas. Since labor is so cheap (partly because Filipino families are so large. I see so many young pregnant women. Some have braces, others look like they just got out of highschool. There is no other place in the world where I have seen so many pregnant women under the age of 30. And I am also very impressed with the way they carry themselves. They are out and about until they go into labor). The massages were pretty amazing. They were mainly Swedish with a little Thai (or stretching) involved.
We also have been known to getting a little rough on the ping pong tables. Dave normally wins but we make some good entertainment for the Filipinos that are bowling there. We also work up a sweat.
Now the time has come for me to leave good ole Philippines and head to Jakarta. From Olangapo I headed to dau bus station where I had to get two jeepneys to the airport. It is a pain going to Clark airport because only jeepneys and cars can get through, not motorcycles. I finally made it to the airport and had to repack my bag due to my tennis raquet being a possible weapon. I don’t think there has been a trip I have been on that doesn’t require me to repack my bag…