It’s been five weeks since we left Hangzhou, and tomorrow we’ll be home. Physically we’re all a little worse for the wear: too long on restaurant food for Dad and “Romb-rahb-rob” (still working on our ‘m’s here); meanwhile Owen is coping with an overnight arrival of pink eye and a painful new tooth, in addition to a minor but very upsetting papercut incurred while flipping through the issue of Harper’s Bazaar that he found in his seat back pocket on the airplane. It’s time to go home. And get some antibiotics.
Hopefully the army of masked bird flu inspectors doesn’t decide to quarantine us in Hong Kong!
Our arrival in the Philippines was great. This was Bayley’s conversation with an older Filipina woman on the plane:
Woman: Do you give the baby milk powder? [How else do conversations start in Asia?]
Me: No, I feed him myself.
Woman: You breastfeed him! Fantastic! Wow!
(now I take out the nursing cover for privacy and feed Owen.)
Woman (nudging me repeatedly): Breastfeeding? Right now breastfeeding!
(an hour later, after Owen had steadily made friends with all of rows 4 and 5, and fully examined all the possible uses and angles of the tray table)
Woman: You should get him an iPad. Then you won’t have to carry toys with you.
Woman: Toys are heavy; an iPad is easy!
Me: But an iPad is really expensive for a toy.
Woman: Well, get your mother to give him one. He will love it.
Note to Grandma: we do not want an iPad.
We spent the last three days in and around Manila. The Philippines, or the Manila area anyway, is unique: a strange yet strangely comfortable mix of Malay Filipino people, Spanish/Mexican culture and religion, Minnan Chinese presence, and American language and pop culture circa 1955. The Japanese put a terrible end to the city’s glory days in 1942, but the it’s still a pretty fun, if somewhat rundown, place to spend a couple days. In addition to exploring the city, we also made it out to the famous World War II island of Corregidor, where we encountered a mix of American, Filipino, and Japanese tourists, as well as a family from Hangzhou with an 18-month-old son. Lastly, we ventured out to a volcanic lake south of the city. It wasn’t exactly tropical paradise, but it was tropical and sunny, and that’s all we needed before returning to the gray rainy cold of Hangzhou.
So, fortunately for our remaining readers, this’ll be our last travel post. Rest assured that Bayley will soon be taking back control of this blog and re-inserting more quality (and more Owen) into what we throw up here. Stay tuned.