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11 - Picnic

Journey 10


Today, after breakfast, a few of us ventured into the Municipality (the town) - just a short walk to where the shops are.

Tasted the local bread in town - there are lots of varieties to choose from - the ones I ate looked like yellowish scones and tasted sweet - masarap!
Walk down to the quay and take a couple of photos.

We were overcharged for the vegetables - Mayen gets upset when we get home - the first time I have seen her cry - I, conceitedly, think that she is upset about us having to part at the end of the week - and try to comfort her - blah, blah - she 's actually fed up with some of her family members trying to fleece the golden goose.

At lunchtime, the nephews and nieces all return home from the local school for an hour and a half - some of them will be absent from school this afternoon.

Mayen had promised that I would get to try a local delicacy - one of her favourite foods - sea urchin - fresh from the sea. I had no idea how fresh - the family had previously arranged with, and paid, a fisherman to collect a great pile of sea urchins, which was strewn amongst the rocks down on the seashore. We were going to have a picnic - Filipino style.

We all trooped off, carrying plastic containers of rice, noodles, a variety of banana which had been baked [tasted more like potato - not sweet at all, just a starchy carbohydrate] and walked down to where the fisherman had deposited the harvest from the sea.

To eat a sea urchin - they were all still alive - their little black spines bristling away - you smash open the top, remove virtually all of the inside leaving behind the strange, sponge like, buff coloured ribs that are lining the inside of the shell. This is the edible part. The whole process stains the fingers a deep red. The taste is unlike anything else - full of Iodine - it tastes very medicinal, slightly salty of course. I tasted the chewy part of a clam that had also been collected - got stuck in, as by now I had learnt to, noodles, rice - the bananas.

All the time out in the hot sun - ignorant of the fact that my feet were gradually getting extremely sunburnt. Mayen hadn't noticed, but advised me to go and sit in the shade - suggesting that I don't sit directly under any of the coconut trees, for obvious reasons. I just got on with photographing the whole happy scene.
I would regret not heeding her advice for the remainder of my trip as my feet got very swollen - at times making it difficult to walk - and attracting even more unusual stares from passers by. "It's alright" I would say "All Englishmen have big, bright red feet."

I didn't write much about today - so I'll let the photographs tell their own story.

I play a little more on the keyboard later on in the day.
After the evening meal, Mayen and I walk down to the sea again - she tells me the story of the night her brother disappeared at sea - she was at school at the time, on another Island when she heard the news - and the valiant attempts of her father, hiring a local pump boat and crew at great expense to scour the coastal regions for any traces.
We just sat there listening to the gentle sound of the ocean.
Back to the house to get our rest and "make babies" - in silence.

There once was a time,
Quite how long ago
I just can't recall.
There once was a man,
And who was he?
I don't know at all.
Some say it was me,
Before I knew you.
All this could be true,
But it escapes me now.
For I cannot imagine,
Or think of how,
There once were days
Without your trace,
A heart without hope,
A dream with no face.
This brand new world's
A far happier place,
And I'm learning to walk,
Hand in hand with Grace.

Click the flags to read about all the alarm bells.


Tim Cumperhttp://www.bebo.com/Ellumbra

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