Sunday, September 19, 2010

In the Swing of Things

It feels like I'm starting to get into a little bit of a routine after being here for only a month. It feels like a lot longer. Everyday there are new things to take in. Last Saturday I was walking to the Saturday market with my Nanay (host mom), and there was a god awful screaming sound coming from a block away. What ever the creature was experience must have been horrible. I we got closer to the sound. It was a pig with a prison shank stuck in it's throat and 3 grown Filipinos holding it up while it bled to death. Nanay and I walked on and the pig kept screaming.
Once we were at the market Nanay led me around the market telling me what different things were. behind my back she would put her hand up by her mouth and whisper "Peace Corps" while pointing at me explaining to the people who were talking to her. If there has been one unforgettable experience in Palo so far it's been going to the market. There is everything from used clothing, hand-made machetes, fruits and vegetables (prutas ngan utan), weird chunks of meat that have been deep fried to hide their identity. They all taste the same. The several city blocks that the market consumes are covered in blue tarps to help keep people out of the sun. The best time of day to go to the market is around 5 in the morning. The meat is still fresh, and it's cooler out.
On the way home from the market, we walked by the pig scene, and in the 20 minutes that we spent walking around was long enough to clean the pig and shove a bamboo pole through it's body. They will then put this pig over a deep concrete pit with a fire in the bottom, and roll the pig back and forth for a few hours until the pig is done. When it's ordered at a street vendors or at a fiesta it's called lechon.
My week days are filled up with language training and technical training. The language training is fun but challenging. I bought some envelopes the other day using the native language, and felt pretty proud of myself. Technical training is what it is. and that's all I have to say about that. The last couple of weeks I've been teaching twice a week in a 6th grade class. There are about 42 students in the class on a full day. The students have great handwriting and there English is impressive. We have a great time together. I've really been enjoying my time with them. I look forward to being with children on a daily basis.
Back to the food scene. It's easy to find things to eat that aren't "normal" Last week I ate belut. Balut is a duck egg that has been boiled a couple of days before it's due to hatch. Inside the egg, is a little duckie. It tastes a lot better than it sounds. A little salt and Tobasco will make anything taste like salt and Tobasco! I also ate a century egg. This is an egg that has been covered in salt, then clay, then horse manure, then buried in the ground for a month. After a month it is finally rotten enough to eat. The whites are brown and the yolk is grey. It tastes like a yummy salted hard boiled egg. Just takes longer to get, and it's covered in horse poo.

Till next time. Thanks for checking my blog. I read your posts several times. It's nice to hear from you all. Siget, Paghinay (Take Care)


  1. What amazing culinary opportunities you have! It's great to hear from you! Your descriptions of the market sound delightful and I'm glad you're enjoying the kiddos. We miss you lots here! Not quite the same without Taylor around. Take care of yourself!

  2. We all love the Blog. I'm so glad you are sharing with us. Roman says hello.

  3. Oh my! It sounds like life is always interesting for you. What a once in a life time experience. You are missed around here! I agree with rachel.....not quite the same without Taylor around! Thanks for the updates and pictures. It makes us all feel part of your experience and just creates more curiosity! You take care of yourself! More later....

  4. Ewwwwww.......Pooooooo!
    We missed you at the Triathlon this year. Just not the same without you. Of course, Kris was easily able to take first this year with you oceans away.
    We all miss you very much!
    Big Hugs from the YMCA!!!

  5. Thanks for the wake up call KJ! I don't even remember picking up the phone or hearing it ring and then all of a sudden your vocal cords were as clear as day in my ears... or was it my head? It was real, right? I'm so glad you're doing so well and I loved hearing from you. Sorry i was a little out of it. I'm stoked for you photos. They're all so beautiful and a great illustration of your life you tons and look forward to hearing your vocal cords at 4 or 5am any time!

  6. Your American Nanay says, "You very smart, brave Son-Son!" It's good to hear they have Tabasco. What do your 6th graders eat for lunch? I have been refereeing soccer at lunch time. The kids sure like the bobby whistle you gave me! It's the best part of the whole game. How do they teach handwriting? Our classes can be pen pals, okay? We better get crackin' on the penmanship, though. We love you and all good times to you! xo, Pa and Ma

  7. How crunchy was the duck? I don't think I'd be able to hack it over there...I guess I would be able to hack it over there cause that's what I'd be doing if I had to eat duck egg. You're brave, that's what I like about you!

  8. I've been to a few crazy markets like that. Makes you appreciate some of our food regulations here in the states. Of course they probably have stomachs of steel and awesome immune systems. Nice job trying the egg buried in poo. I think I gagged just reading about that. It's fun to keep up with you, can't wait for the next post. Jade

  9. Hi Kelley,
    We are really enjoying your blog! It is so interesting. You are getting to do what you have wanted to do for a long time and we are happy for you. I think it is great to learn about another culture first hand.But that egg buried in poop was a bit much! LOL I suppose manure does get hot enough to cook an egg.
    How hard is it to find an internet connection? Looking forward to your next blog.
    Luv ya, Uncle Ken & Aunt Vicki