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Archive for February, 2009

A great Birthday treat!

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I received a nice birthday surprise the other night: a huge chocolate/lemon cake with all the fixings, including a few plastic cockroaches on top! It made my day! With all the training we’ve been doing I say to say that chocolate never tasted so good! I must have had a quarter of it that first night. Normally I’m not much of a cake fan but Lucie, Tereza and Abi sure know how to bake! Thanks a million girls!

Another treat was a much-needed day off from training on Sunday. I tried my best to relax and do nothing. I was a bit upset with my camera having gone missing because I looked high and low for half the day, thinking I had misplaced it. Once I realized it was truly gone, as in stolen, I was quite angry…with myself mostly. I should have known better and kept a closer eye on my belongings. I’m now without an iPod, a video camera and a zip drive. It was a lesson learned, a birthday gift to myself.

With so much time to think one of the things I pondered during the day were the current relationships in my life. The more time I spend by myself the more I realize how important others are to me. Yesterday I didn’t get a chance to talk to the one I care about most, no thanks to time restraints, schedules, and a 16-hour time difference. Distance can do funny things to you. It can make you stronger or weaker. I have to say thus far, I’ve had both experiences. Personally, I’m stronger in the sense that I’m learning to tough it out and be independent, but I’m weaker because I realize how important the people in my life really are; I want them here. As far as relationships go, distance is a barrier for growth but also a great opportunity for communication. A relationship is futile without it. It’s a good thing I still have my computer and Skype!

With all the stress I am starting to realize that I need to just take one day at a time, listen to my body and learn to let things not bother me so much. And the girls here are teaching me that, to be a champion, I need to be a warrior! I’ve been beat up in more ways than one these last few days. A Doc says, via the Youtube video on Rebekah’s blog, I need to HARDEN THE…UP!

Cockroach!

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Jocelyn grabbed my video camera and videotaped me catching a HUGE cockroach that made its way in my room. I look like a bit of a panzy, but who wouldn’t scream if something that ugly crawled over your toes!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5793555275339550166

The Woes of Cycling

Monday, February 16th, 2009

sany0002

Without a doubt the worst part about riding a bike are the mechanical issues. In just the last 10 days I’ve had more problems with tubes and tires than I’ve had for the past 5 months! I don’t blame it on anything but chance and a little stupidity. My first flat was just that, a flat. Bad luck. No big deal. I’m sure it was because the tires I came here with were/are crap (Performance Brand El Cheapos. Note to self: never to be purchased again!) and I had the pressure a bit too high for them. A carpenter’s staple was the source of flat number two. More bad luck. But I remained relatively levelheaded. The third one, though, occurred because I didn’t quite get the entire staple removed from the tire. At this point I was ready to throw my bike at the monkeys that had congregated and made fun of me. When I first got here, I thought they were cute little creatures but now I hate them all! I won’t be feeding these monkey’s anymore!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1922666975716881096

In all, I’m down three tubes and two CO2 cartridges. Not bad. But not good. The best part, I guess, is that I’m getting plenty of practice changing a flat. Maybe in the future it will save a race or two!

sany0009

Since then, I’ve had only minor things go wrong: my front derailleur cable snapped, my rear cassette rattled loose after some rough hill climbing, and my gearing has been out of whack from the get-go. But thanks to Azmil any problems with the bike are easily reversed! He works harder than any bike mechanic I’ve ever met. And fast too. You go into the shop and within minutes you’re back on your bike. So much for a nice rest!

One other fix wasn’t so much a repair as it was an upgrade. I’ve swapped out my seat to one of those funky-looking Adamo ones. So far, I absolutely love it. No chaffing in the areas that require the utmost care! Last November, at 70.3 World’s, I was in dire agony during the run because this very thing happened on the bike. I dread to imagine what things would be like in a full Ironman! Thank goodness I’m making the changes I need to now, because rumour has it, I’ll be doing one sooner than anticipated!

Strange Sounds

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

sany0014

Subic is growing on me in more ways than one. I’m learning to say hello to every guard before they say it to me. I’m learning to weave in and out of cars on my bike with ease. And I’m learning to just deal with the heat like I’ve lived here my entire life. One probelm though: my skin is turning brown and I’m afraid by the time I hit North American soil, I’ll be charbroiled. I put the sunscreen on at least 4 times a days but it seems to do little. The humidity won’t let it stick. I don’t mind the tan, but I don’t want the wrinkles!

So far I love the team environment. We push one another and there is never a shortage of motivation. There is also a lot of respect for one another.

I’m not used to having a TV at my disposal, to watch whenever I like. I live quite meagerly back home and TV, to me, has always been nothing but wasted time and money. But here I’m taking full advantage of it, watching the ESPN network and the Discovery Channel. You never know what will be on, but whatever it is, it provides the perfect opportunity to recover and go mindless. Going mindless is easy to do when you’re completely wiped out after training each day.

Two things I’ve learned here:

* You don’t need all the best training facilities in the world.
* Negatives are a good thing in life – they teach you to cope!

There are some truly weird sounds here. When we are in the wi-fi conference room each night there is this crazy sound that comes and goes. Caroline and Lucie went on a mission to find its origins. To describe it all I can say is that it sounds like someone’s Skype message or beeper on the phone. But it’s an animal…a nocturnal one, and so we never get to see it. Of course, that’s not the only one. There’s also some unusual and incredible bird chirps, twitters, songs. I managed to have the camera on the last part of my bike ride.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4193089663157551025

Milo 1/2!

Monday, February 9th, 2009

sany0042
I woke up this morning and had my first NORMAL bowel movement in days! I was happier than a pig in mud! I’ve been eating some bland, not so healthy food, noodles mostly, so that I can get back to 100%.

Yesterday started VERY early for the group. Most the team participated in the local Milo-sponsored running event. There was a 3k walk, a 5k run, a 10k, a half-marathon and a full marathon. We all chose either the 21k or the 10k. I opted for the 21k. If I was going to get up so early to run I was at least going to get a run in! The race started at 5:30am, well before the sun rose! Our group barely made it to the start on time because we thought it all kicked off at 6 am. We pulled up all nonchalant-like only to see everyone else already lined up and ready to go! We had seconds to spare! Each race was packed and to be honest I was not expecting this.

My plan was simply to see how I felt since I’ve been feeling like crap for the last 5 or 6 days. I went out quite easily and just continued to go at my own moderate pace. I was surprised I didn’t fall apart; I was sort of expecting to because of how I’ve been feeling lately.

I ran most of the race with a local Philipino girl. I saw her at the start and could just tell that she had a solid run in her. At the turn-around we introduced ourselves and paced one another. Her name was Wanaka. She is part of the duathlon team here. I don’t know why I find it so surprising but there are so many great athletes here, and not just on the team.

At the 10-mile mark or so, Eduardo (a local here; we introduced one another at the end of the race), was swinging his arms to get me to catch up with him, willing me onward. I had to laugh. EVERYONE is so nice here! I know I say this often, but it’s true. I caught up and he yelled at me, “You third girl! You third girl! Go!….Go now!” He went on to pace me for ½ mile and then dropped back, “Go now!” He wasn’t going to let me slow down.

The last mile was packed with walkers (hundred!) so that we runners had to meanuever around or slow down. I took the last mile very easy because of it, more concerned with others at this point than with myself. I didn’t want to run some sorry old walker over!

It was a fun event. At the end of the race, free Milo was provided. It’s a milk beverage with chocolate and malt. It is YUMMY stuff and something I probably wouldn’t normally have if I weren’t still sick! Being sick has its rewards!

At the awards ceremony, the local high school was having a dance compeption. I caught on on film. MORE PICTURES at www.angelanaeth.blogspot.com

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7756635726487607562

That which does not kill you…

Friday, February 6th, 2009

sany0002

I’m adjusting as best I can here. My body is still on some insane rhythm right now, where I’m wide-awake at 4am. I’m napping when I can.

The biggest issue is that I’m having some troubles with the car fumes. Many on the team think I may have come from some La-la land, which I did: the Santa Ynez Valley is the BEST place to train, bar none. I haven’t smelled so many car fumes at once. I guess this is what they call the “real world”!

As I’ve said, Sutto is a good guy. He is also blunt and unashamedly tells me what I need to know. The first thing, in his words, “my swimming SUCKS”. No hesitancy, no mistaking it. “Form isn’t it, you need power!” I think we’ll make a good team! The more I’m told what to do, the better! And with that, I’m going to try the eggs, the water and the other foods that I think were the culprits of my illness. There’s no better way to build immunity than to give your body a chance to do so. Let’s just hope I’m over the crap! Literally.

After my food poisoning episode, my energy has been waning and I haven’t eaten a solid meal for the last few days. Hopefully, in the next day or two, I’ll feel like my old self again.

Which brings me to Nietzsche and the famous ‘That which does not kill you’ quote.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. I feel like I’ve been thrown head first into reality, and I’m glad I have. Sure, the fumes are hard to get use to. But the changes in diet and time zone, the humidity, the crowdedness, the noise, and the cars are all stressors and things that will no doubt make me a stronger athlete. I come from a place of safe-haven so this is all new to me. It is waking me up. I need to wake up. Wake me up!

About all this, Chuckie wrote a good email to me that I thought I’d pass along…

“All that shit sharpens your desire to be a champion—to get out of that mess and yet to cherish it at the same time. Keep in mind that the number one fighter in the world right now is a Filipino who grew up in a cardboard shack, fighting his way to the very top, literally and figuratively. He’s now a hero to everyone who hopes. Be that hero.”

The picture by the way is of LC at the track. She has been my lifesaver as of late!

A new coach and getting sick!

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

sany0239

Let me apoligize for such a lengthly post last time. I promise to make them shorter!

Yesterday I finally got to meet my new coach! As like anything or anyone new, you worry and think about anything and everything! But all my worry was not worth worrying over! Doc is nice and I like him. We didn’t get to talk much because it was swim time! We had a short swim practice and afterward I went with LC and Tereza for an easy spin. These first few training days are all easy and about getting our internal clocks back on time.

On the ride we saw a bunch of monkeys crossing the street! My battery chose that moment to die but I know I’ll have more opportunities. It’s charging now and I plan to get some pictures up ASAP! Tereza has a nice picture of the creatures on her blog.

Oh, I learned that the people I see all over the streets are the indigenous tribe. They live in the forests and get rides into the city to sell their produce, eggs, etc. They are darker colored and shorter than the average Filipino. LC shared this with me during the ride. She’s lived here all her life.

After the ride I started to get a headache and soon after shivers began. Oh, know. Chuckie warned me about this! “Don’t drink the water!” he laughed. But I think it was the eggs….I should have known as I made this video prior to eating them. I guess I knew beforehand but wanted to try them anyway…

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6001367341206220199

And this is the aftermath!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5409776079144268742

So last night I got sick. Not just sick…deathly sick. If it wasn’t the eggs it must’ve been the crab meat I had yesterday morning!

So all night I had a massive headache, intense diarrhea and shivers like I was having an ice bath. I’d lie in bed and basically have to rub my body because I was so cold. It was nearly 23 degrees all night (75 Fahrenheit) and I shouldn’t have been cold! My head kept pounding and my stomach felt like it was going to explode. It would come and go in powerful bouts. Ugh, it was awful and lasted throughout the night. I managed to fall asleep but woke up and felt like I’ve been drugged (which I had as I took some anti-diarrhea medication and Tylenol!) First things first: Throw away the eggs and crab meat and maybe even the sprouts I bought. Now I’m leery about everything!

My diet is going to have to change. The first day I was here I bought some canned sardines and because I was so tired, I didn’t look at the label. They have MSG in them and taste nothing like fish.

Our little e-mail/conference room here plays this crappy music literally all day…and loud! When I was getting sick all I could hear was the pounding from my room across the way. I couldn’t put the fan on to drown it out because I was freezing. When I finally went there to email Chuckie for advice (he’s traveled a lot and has been sick in places where you wouldn’t want to get sick!), I had to ask them three times to shut the crap off. The first time they turned it down a smidgen…then the second time they changed it to more easier listening music (more crap!) and then finally the third time, where I was literally going crazy inside my head, they turned it off. It was 7pm. My plan is to talk with them this morning about not having the crap on at all. Jonnyo, Tereza and LC hate it as well. We’ll gang up on them!

My entire body feels very sore right now. And I haven’t even let Doc beat me up yet! I feel like I’ve been used as a punching bag a few times. I’m trying to get in a lot of liquids right now as I know I’m very dehydrated after last night. So that’s my training right now: drink, drink, drink! Bottled water of course.

In the PI

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Well, I’ve been in the Philippines for two days now, I think.

I think, because I’ve slept most of my time away! Things were a bit overwhelming at first but once I got my bearings and found where everything was located, I felt like I was in my element…that is when I wasn’t sleeping!

I’m learning that stress is definitely a waste of time and energy. I was worried about what I’d eat, how I’d adapt, and the whole traveling escapade from North America. I worried about my baggage weight and prayed customs wouldn’t force me to throw away some of the nutritional bars and foods I packed. I packed more Standard Process and Raw Revolution bars than I can count…seriously. In the end, if you accept what is happening at the time and go with the flow, it’s easy! I think I’m learning how to live in ‘the now’ rather than in the past or worrying about the future. I’ve definitely been woken up in more ways than one. What I’ve seen so far (poverty, different lifestyles) is extremely humbling and at the same time inspiring. I like being in ‘the now’ here.

Feb 3rd – Day 2:

My day started early – very early in fact (3 am). Jonnyo (Jonathan Caron) is on the same messed-up time zone as me and his room is next door to mine. We both were up before the crack of dawn! I decided to make the most of time by writing, organizing and putting my bike together. I met up with LC and joined her as she rode the 7km to the track. I wasn’t ready to run just yet but wanted to see more of the area. You definitely have to watch yourself with cars no matter where you go here. I have a small bike-geek mirror on my glasses and am grateful I brought it! I suspect the others will make fun of me because of it, but I’ll be sure to see them in it as I pull away! In all truth, having eyes in the back of my head gives me a bit more awareness of the cars, taxis, and pedestrians that are making their way on the roads. There were a number of athletes ready for the workout that Melvin (Philippines triathlon coach) was providing. I’m not sure what I thought prior to coming here, but I didn’t think there would be that many athletes here. There must have been at least 20-30 and others running/jogging on their own at the track. Awesome.

It’s amazing how quickly one can adapt to a different way of lifestyle. I felt comfortable visiting the market (I call the city centre the market because it reminds me of a local farmer’s market and flea market mixed together) and have made two trips. Every few meters there are individuals all set up with their small box of smokes, fruits, and/or candies for sale. The vendors range from young kids to older gentlemen. I was bombarded with “Taxi? Mamm…Mamm, Taxi?” at least every 25 steps.

I didn’t bring my camera when Tereza (Macel), LC and I went to the market because I figured I’d have to carry a lot home and in the taxi! I promise to bring it next time! I finally was able to find some good vegetables and fruit. (The Jimeno family isn’t familiar with Subic and all that we found open that afternoon was the small convenience store I mentioned before.) At one point I rode in a motorbike and carrier with Tereza. The fumes were awful but the experience was great! But I now understand why so many Filipinos hold handkerchiefs up to their faces in the city. I may have to do this. The outside market reeked even worse, like rotten fish. Thankfully, though, the grocery store was great. It had everything we needed. I already made a great smoothie of cucumbers, nuts and a side dish of crabmeat. Mmmm!

Yesterday, after eating kare-kare (the unknown and mistakenly identified food that I tried with the Jimeno family), I decided that I’d try the non-refrigerated eggs. I guess this is what they also do in Australia. I was a bit hesitant but needed some protein besides canned tuna. I even bought some chicken but was a bit scared to try it, as it had been open to the air and only minimally ice-packed. It looked fresh and Jonnyo commented earlier that he tried the beef. He’s still alive and kicking, so I’m assuming I’ll be OK! Another great food I tried is the pilo nut. I bought a small bag of them and absolutely love them! It’s a mix of sour and sweet, peanut and cashew!

In the afternoon, I decided to go for an easy 1-hour run. I went later in the day because my energy was waning from going to the market and being up since 3am. The heat is really not all that bad. Maybe Lompoc’s heat helped me prepare. It’s more humid here though and reminds me a lot about my days in Missouri, where I went to university.

Elsewhere, there are a number of police and security men everywhere here. To get where we’re living, you have to pass a few blockaded entrances, all which have security personnel guarding them. I caught one guard singing his lungs out to the local radio while I ran past. He just smiled and continued singing (and of course, saying “good-evening”!) I ran past another entrance where a younger man lifted a rope so that the barrier would lift up for me. I’m not quite sure what they do or the purpose of them being there, but I guess their presence helps with the massive amounts of people or gives a sense of security. They don’t check anything and just say hi to every car, person that passes.

Its funny but everyone here loves to say ‘hi’, and stare at you. I guess this is what it means to be a foreigner in a different country! During my run there were lots of people walking to and from jobs and houses. I’ve yet to figure out if they live around here. Some do, but some look like they’ve been working in fields and then head home after work. They bring their produce and try to catch the taxis that come around every half hour or so. A number of them also pile up in the back of pick-up trucks, to cut costs I think. EVERY single one of them says “good-morning Mamm, good-evening Mamm.” I get honks from every car. They do this not to be obnoxious, but to just let me know they’re there. So far, I love this community! Everyone is so friendly, and not just to me but to each other. It’s heartwarming.

Day 3: Feb 4th –

I’m wide-awake at 3 am again today. My sleep patterns are anything but normal. The good thing is that I’m not being bothered by the monkey noises outside! I’ve yet to get a picture of them but will try today if I get a chance. At 3am there is not much to do but twiddle your thumbs. I don’t watch much TV but was surprised to find a cross-country running race in Scotland going on! An Ethiopian runner won. No surprises there. Her smoothness was amazing! She basically attacked in the last kilometer and left her competitors in the…mud. I was also able to watch the men’s race. It was almost identical to the ladies race. An Ethiopian blasted away from the field and won convincingly. Now, I’m more than ready than ever to get the day going!

I finally get to meet the man today, the fearsome Doc. We’ve only corresponded by email (the same goes for my Canadian pals Tereza and Jonnyo). We all talked a bit yesterday and it will be interesting to see what he has planned for us. I just happened to be in the conference room (where free Wi-Fi is located) when Keegan told me that the plan is to meet at 10:30 at the pool! I plan to check out The Bike Boutique and get a new chain and pump. I also hope to get a huge mug for my tea. I should have thought of it yesterday, but my thoughts are still in another time zone. I hate those tiny ‘cups’ they give you in hotel rooms and that’s exactly what we have here. My camera will be coming with me this time!

Arrival in Subic!

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Jetlag and sleeping patterns are crazy for me right now, so excuse any mistakes. It is high noon, Angela time. It’s 3am Philippines time. As I type this, I have the window open and I hear monkeys and other strange animals roaming about. But as hot as it is here in Subic Bay there’s not a chance I could sleep with the window closed.

Here are three video’s including my two stops before arriving at the Manila airport.: LAX and Hong Kong! Check out the pictures at: www.angelanaeth.blogspot.com

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8061446660065115517 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7776614889880581105

When I arrived at the airport I had never felt so miserable. I held my name overhead on a sign I’d drawn and then walked outside with my obese bike box and luggage in tow. I was hoping to find a friend of Chuckie’s, who was to pick me up and help me settle in, before driving me to Subic. The sweat was starting to form, as I didn’t get the chance to change from my compression tights and socks and long-sleeve top and pants. The humidity was overwhelming and I hadn’t even stepped outside!With name in hand I finally reached the airport’s exit doors. There was a barrier between the outside population and the throngs of arriving passengers. I felt like I was coming out of prison or maybe looking at one. Police were directing everyone but no one seemed to listen. Before long Chuckie’s friends found me. Their car was an econo car not much bigger than a refrigerator. After some maneuvering, we departed the airport’s chaos, with my bike box tied down in the car’s tiny trunk and my luggage in my lap. Sweat continued to flow but I gave up caring.

Chuckie’s friends were JR and his girlfriend, and JR’s mom ‘Fe’ (Iron!). They were so unbelievably gracious. We headed out onto the streets of Manila.

The traffic was as unbelievable as the humidity. Cars were weaving in and out and then back in, but going nowhere slowly. Everyone limped along at 25miles per hour, tops. There were literally thousands of motorbikes and cyclists with carriers. I was shocked by the sheer floods of people. But it wasn’t like LA traffic where everyone is out for him or herself. Here, they seemed to show respect for one another. Even though it appeared crazier than Los Angeles, it had a rhythm that seemed to make sense, though it’s hard to explain. Horns beeped to acknowledge your wanting to get into the lane next to you (although no one actually drove within the lines!) and every single car would let your car in. It looked like millions of ants – all with a singular purpose. Pedestrians crossed wherever they wanted while cars were literally centimeters away from one another, but there was no road rage present.

We soon started passing miles of shacks – often made out of warehouse material, cardboard, etc. Of course they weren’t shacks but homes. At first I was overwhelmed with the “poorness” I saw. But then realized that this is their way of life, and all they know.

JR pointed out “Pegasus!” and smiled. I was informed that it was THE whorehouse for the rich. It was sad but funny at the same time and we all laughed. The hundreds of taxis on the highways were basically like the back of a pick-up truck – people just hopped in and out.

First we drove to the Boyd’s family’s house (Boyd is Fe’s other son) where I met his wife, little girl, mother and father-in-law and niece and nephews. Their house looked like a warehouse opening to a narrow side alley. The entire place was no more than a few hundred square feet, including the upstairs. 9 people live there.

The family took me in with open arms and everyone was so friendly and genuine. These are people that own very little, but in truth, they have everything. I was in shock in more ways than one.

“JR” and his girlfriend not only picked me up in Manila (a 2+ hour drive from their house) but they didn’t sleep that day, as they just got off night shift at the call centers they work at (apparently all the call centers – TELUS, Verizon, UA airways are situated here in Asia. From North America, you call their information centers and are transferred across the world!). After our brief stop at their home, they ended up driving me all the way to Subic Bay, in the opposite direction of Manila! They never balked or made me feel bad (though I felt awful!) but instead, they were sincere with gratitude that they got to offer their help. I have never experienced such kindness from strangers before.
In the picture here I’m trying to show the respect for elders that is ingrained into this society. The children take the back of his or her hand and then taps the elder’s forehead. The grandfather is teaching his granddaughter how to do it. The young one did it to me when I arrived but I couldn’t capture it on film and I didn’t know what it meant at first.

Charmi, Boyd’s wife, was very helpful and gave me a cell phone to use for the duration of my trip. Just like it is back home cell phones are everywhere here; the difference is that I’m able to call Canada and the US for only 5c a minute and I don’t have to sign into a contract or anything! In Canada it costs more to just own a cell phone, let alone use it, than to have one here and call all over the world. I’ve already called home a couple times. I will be doing so a lot I think.

The Jimeno family – Boyd and Charmi, JR and his girlfriend, Fe and their older brother (I didn’t get his name!) took me out to lunch for some authentic Filipino cuisine. I’m not sure what I ate but it was delicious! There was rice, something pronounced as “boulley” (which had stomach and other insides of an animal in a peanut soup sauce), a fish dish, chicken, and a few other unknowns. I tried a bit of everything. The only thing I was certain I didn’t like was the texture of the stomach. Uugh. Here is a video of “Raj”, Boyd’s nephew. He loved the camera!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7116466842832050412

After lunch, we proceeded to try to make our way to Subic. I asked how long it would take and Fe said, “3 hours.” I was still amazed. Nothing fazed these people! No matter how far, how long, they were going to get me to my destination in style. Fe even insisted I try to sleep. I guess it was obvious jetlag had me in its grip as I could barely hold my head up! I was out in seconds, to the soothing sound of cars honking and roadside roosters.
When I woke up, I was shocked. I was on a beautiful road with very few cars and was able to see for miles. The countryside was incredible: endless grasslands, volcanic mountains jutting up in the distance and smoke rising god-like from the grasslands. I saw well-fed cows (or I think they were cows!), untouched greenery and grass huts everywhere. I felt like I was in a dream.

We went through 4 or 5 toll stations and almost ran over a runaway rooster as we made our way to the freeport zone in Subic. We managed to find the Forest View hotel after asking a few locals. It’s where I’ll be living for the next three months. The place is nothing like what the website displayed, but it will do. It will have to do! I almost stepped on a cockroach the size of a golf ball as we entered the house. Charmi quickly just walked over and stepped on it without a second thought. It was an everyday occurrence to her. I wished I hadn’t screamed so loud!

Next, I had to pick up some local currency, pesos, to head to the local grocery store. The Jimeno family drove me down and wanted to be sure I had enough food to eat. I guess they expected me to be bigger! Again, I was overwhelmed by their hospitality.

The grocery store was more like a convenience store. I was in trouble. I asked where the fruits and veggie section was. They looked at me with a puzzled stare. There weren’t any, of course. Luckily, there were a few stands out on the sidewalks that had some apples and oranges for sale and I scooped nearly all of them up. For someone who eats a lot of vegetables, this looks like it’s going to be a problem. All that was available was processed food, with labels I would never comprehend (not unlike ours back home, really!). I ended up picking up some canned fish (though I just found out my hotel room doesn’t have a can opener!) and two packages of frozen peas and carrots, with no known expiration date. Apparently there is another market nearby that opens in a few hours, so I’ll try to venture over there with a teammate, if they’re willing.

I’m happy to be here, even though I feel lost! After all the hustle and bustle I made it safe and sound. I met up with one teammate already, LC (who is from the area). We were both getting ready for bed in the same complex. I plan to meet the others soon, when they wake up!