Off to the Philippines

Tomorrow, it’s off to the Philippines with me.

I’m looking forward to getting away, but there’s something weird about celebrating a winter holiday in a place that doesn’t get winter. (Obviously, it gets plenty of other awful weather, but this isn’t a meteorology blog, so I’m not really going to go there unless it’s relevant.) We did see some Noble Firs for sale, at over $100US for one six feet tall. They’re imported, like so many other goods and services around here. It’s a step price, but if you’re serious about getting a Christmas tree it’s not a bad deal. I suggested, once or twice, that we could decorate a ficus or fern, but the idea was vetoed. Some things, it seems, are better imported.

Take vodka, or any spirits, really. After looking at the vodkas and rums for sale at the grocery, and seeing prices of 100RM (about $33US) or more, I thought that maybe I could look at the bargain rum for 39RM (about $11US). You can buy dirt cheap booze in the United States, and it’s typically fine for mixing. Not here. My 39RM bottle of rum tasted like the bathtub it was probably distilled in. A little cola, and it was palatable, so I thought nothing of it. A week ago, I had one shot of equally cheap vodka, again mixed into cola, and almost instantly became incoherent. In the morning, I woke up feeling like someone had beaten me with a sock full of nickels. Whatever was in that bottle was not vodka. Wood varnish, maybe. Rubbing alcohol, likely. This is apparently not an uncommon mistake, and it can end badly. I was lucky to have a brutal hangover, but I have heard accounts of people ending up in the hospital from drinking liquor laced with a little too much methyl alcohol.

Anyway, this was a post about heading to the Philippines. The next post will be from there.

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