Sunday, October 5, 2008

Twelth Post

Hopping Spiders, Cute Lizards, and Fearless Frogs

There are some strange creatures here. There is a comical little gray spider. Tiny little thing. Tapping the area to their rear with a fingernail results in a hop several times their own length. Amazing . . . and fun to watch.

Then there are the geckos. I have yet to find one who rattles on about GEICO Insurance in an Aussie accent. They scurry around on the walls and ceilings here doing whatever it is that geckos do. They seem harmless and are very shy. I tried to shoo one outdoors at the behest of one of my female acquaintances. Said behest was screeched out while she stood in a chair. I didn’t want to hurt the little fellow, and was trying to swish him gently out the door with a broom. He kept trying to hide rather than leave peaceably. In the end his tail broke off. I was then able to sweep both wiggling halves out. He may be the first lizard in history to lose his tail on account of a little piece of head.

When it rains and it tends to rain a lot, the frogs move to high ground. When I first moved into my apartment there was a frog who stayed on my threshold on rainy days. My apartment is a step higher than the walkway and with the door closed there is a narrow ledge. It was totally unperturbed by me sitting next to him while putting on my shoes, sitting there for a couple of minutes while I fussed with sandal straps, but it did hop away, however, when I asked if he were the storied princess who had a hex cast upon her by an evil witch. (That’s how I determined he was a he.)

They are a little too fearless for their own good, however. Automobile flattened remains litter the streets after a heavy rain.

And speaking of rain, this is the rainy season which is being accentuated by typhoons and tropical depressions. The Philippines insist on using their own names for typhoons. Frank (Fengshen) did a destructive number here. It caromed around the islands like a ping pong ball gone berserk, killing over 2,000 people, an untold number of domestic animals, sinking a 26,000 ton ferry and 54 fishing vessels from this island alone. Nan (Hagupit) charged through the Formosa Straits a couple of weeks ago and Ofel (Jangmi) followed in its tracks. Rain bands from Nan gave this place a soaking and Ofel did more of the same. There was another unnamed tropical depression that sprang up between here and Guam. It looked a lot like the foregoing two. I pity the poor folks in Northern Luzon and Taiwan. Two typhoons back to back a week apart might be a tad wearing, fortunately the third storm turned northeast and lost strength but still gave Japan a good bit of rain.

One of my friends needs to travel to another island in October. She refuses to travel more than short stretches by water due to the monsoon. There are only two flight destinations from this quiet little backwater; Manila and Cebu. Both are international airports, but air travel here is almost as big a pain as it is in the states. (And to think that I used to enjoy flying.) Bus travel here is largely over rough roads, so it comes down to water or air travel from here.

The hot, humid weather brings mold and mildew. The jacket I wore to SFO back in February has a leather collar. It now has splotches of gray powdery mold all over it. Women are cautioned by their gynecologists to NOT dry their undies in the bathroom. I make it a point to dry bath towels outside.

It’s raining as I write this. There is a huge festival scheduled to start in a few days. I sincerely hope the rains abate. If you’ve not seen videos of a Filipino festival you’ve missed a treat. The costumes are lavish and the choreography dazzling. This one is called Mass Kara. If you’d like to see some stills, google “masskara bacolod.”