Monday, August 29, 2011

Just Like America . . . Almost

Saturday was a busy, busy day.  Kathryn, one of the secondary English teachers (we met at PFO), and I went to Carrefour with some Filipino coworkers in the morning.  Kathryn hoped to find a new cell phone and I desperately needed a new SD card (my new digital camera FINALLY cleared customs after a three-week incarceration!).  Sadly, we found neither of those things.  So, I have a wonderful new camera that can only have twelve pictures at a time on it.  Sigh.  Can't catch a break with these camera issues, can I?

We did, however, take care of various little odds and ends that we've been desiring.  I, for one, was quite delighted to finally locate a toothbrush holder, something which I couldn't find the last time that I was there.   I also found a new hair straightener.  I had bought one in the States that can accept the correct voltage, but the plug will not fit, even in my plug adapter.  After our shopping, the Ymases treated us to Subway for lunch.  Yup, we have a Subway!  It was just like the ones in the US, except for the fun of trying to explain what we wanted on our subs.  I kept saying "bu yao" ("don't want") and pointing at the iceberg lettuce, but the fellow gave it to me anyway.  The real fun came when I was happily eating my sandwich . . . and bit into a piece of paper!  Ah, the fun surprises one occasionally finds in food here!

I had two major accomplishments on Saturday:  I managed to tell a taxi where to take me, in Chinese, twice!  And we actually got where we wanted to go!  Well, almost.  For going home, the driver didn't know exactly where my apartment complex was.  I forgot the word for "turn left," so I couldn't correct him when he headed for the yacht club instead of the complex.  I kept saying "no", but that did nothing.  Finally, realizing that there was no way I could correct him without the word "left", I just called out "Gou le!  Gou le!" (thinking that that meant "We've arrived.")  As I realized today, what I actually said to him was "Enough!  Enough!"  (I should have said "daole".)  Oh well; he stopped!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"