Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Barber Shop

I've been going to the same barber shop as Marlo now for 4 months. Its a nice little place 10 steps down the street from our market. Inside there are 5 chairs, 2 TVs, and lots of mirrors. The walls are cream colored, as are the tiles on the floor. Its in a row of 5 barber shops and it seems like most people just pass ours by. Maybe its facilities aren't as nice, or maybe people just don't like the guys who work there, or maybe they just have a small and devoted clientele. For whatever reason there's never a line.

It may be small and stuffy and is certainly no salon, but the barber shop is constantly one of my favorite places here. When I walk in, my barber is always available and quick to get me into the chair. He knows exactly how I want my hair cut, and goes straight to work. He doesn't know my name and I don't know his. He doesn't ask me questions about my work, where I live, what I do, why I'm here. I don't have to speak in another language. I don't have to speak in English. The most communication is when I give a slight nod to indicate that my bangs are even.

When he's satisfied with his work he dusts off my neck and gives my shoulders a little massage. We both silently agree that my hair is as good as its going to get on this occasion. I pay. I walk out the door and hope my hair grows fast.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What Do You Think?

I'm used to the "Hey Joes" by now. Everywhere I go some Filipino thinks its cute to yell "Hey Joe" at me. That's cool. I get it...whatever.

Recently though they've stopped with the Joe and have moved onto American movie stars. Because I have brown hair and glasses I've gotten Harry Potter, Spiderman, and as always-- Superman. My students back in the US called me Superman, and so I'm sort of okay with that...maybe that's a weird ego thing. I would love a second opinion. Which is most like me??

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Special Summer Promo

I live near a hospital. On the gates to the hospital entrance are several banners congratulating new nurses, or some doctor for doing this or that...who really cares? Well recently I was riding my jeep home from the market and noticed a new fun yellow sign. The new sign had a cartoony sun in one corner and a palm tree down the other side. In the middle written cute, green, dancing lettering were the words that so many Filipinos I'm sure were dying to hear:
Summer Circumcision Promo
500 peso all inclusive!

500 pesos is roughly $10 so I'm not totally sure what "all inclusive" would entail. So yeah...awesome.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Just went on a very short trip to Boracay. Boracay is Philippines' answer to Miami. It is a very long beach with lots of little dance clubs and restaurants along the beach. Its absolutely beautiful, but def. designed for tourists. Sadly, it is slightly out of the volunteers' budget in some ways.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me

My first birthday here has come and gone. I didn't do anything too big because in Filipino traditions the birthday boy gets to pay for everything...and that wasn't about to happen.

Another volunteer used her connections to get us into a very nice resort located in the foothills of our volcano. It was beautiful, but rainy so we weren't able to really take advantage of the fresh, cold-water pool. We did have a cook out though with some of our Australian friends.

The next day there was the Pasalamat Festival in La Carlotta City, about an hour from Bacolod. My coworkers took me to a party where there was lots of great food. Then we all watched the big fight. Only after the fight could we watch the parade and lots of street dancing. The costumes were very exciting.This is my favorite shot from the day. She's really selling it, even in the rain.
On my actual birthday I was a little sad that I couldn't spend it with my friends back home, but that's okay. There'll be other years for that. It was kind of the first time I've really really missed home though.

Anyhow, thanks to all for the birthday wishes!