Categories
Food Living in the Philippines

They say not to drink the water but…

… I must have messed up, because I had some serious problems over the last two days.

We’ve had a lot of work going on around the house, including work we’ve been doing ourselves.  I’ve been pretty exhausted and getting sick on top of it really wore me out.

All of these things combined to create a disaster that ruined a bag full of noodles.  If you’re eating, you should save this for later.

So, it was early morning and there I was, sitting on the toilet having a problem.  After I was done, I had another problem.  The pipes are kinda screwy here so the toilet clogged. There’s no running water right now because of a drought so dumping water into the bowl is the only option. I couldn’t get it right so I just left it that way and passed out again.  That evening, I was in there trying to wash up and mess with the toilet at the same time when I felt an urge.

A serious urge.

With no toilet available (due to the damn thing still being clogged) I made a mad dash through the house, naked and covered with soap mind you, and grabbed the first plastic shopping bag I saw, which I assumed was hanging on a doorknob for placing garbage in.

I then ran back to the toilet and handled business.  It’s not the weirdest thing I’ve done.  I’ve utilized empty boxes in the middle of the desert in Iraq before, so why not?  Better than the other alternative.

So anyway, the next day my wife came and asked me if I’d seen the noodles she bought at the grocery store.  I said I hadn’t so we looked around quite a bit.  I’m pretty sure no one stole the noodles, though she does have hungry brothers that roam the house occasionally.

Then it dawned on me.

After I finished laughing like a hyena I felt bad because I had really wanted to try some of those noodles.  Not to mention my wife was pissed.  But you know… shit happens.

Categories
Living in the Philippines

Pumping Well Water

My wife’s parents have a set of apartments in Porac, in Pampanga province. It’s a medium sized building on a pretty good sized lot that has four separate apartments built into it. Each unit seems a bit small. The two middle units could comfortably house 2 people at most, and the end units 3 each, since they have a second floor.

Apparently, construction goes pretty slow in the Philippines. The building has been receiving off and on attention over the last 4 years or so and it still needs some finishing touches. It’s a matter of money. You can’t build when you don’t have the capital. The interiors need more insulation, plywood to cover the bare steel beams in the ceilings, and some renovations to the bathrooms and kitchen areas. Still, they have potential and when they’re complete they should be pretty nice.

Even though they’re not complete, my father-in-law has been living out of one of the 2 story apartments. It’s comfortable enough, but up until we got there it didn’t have running water. That was kind of a shock to me. How do you live in a place for four years without running water, when all you have to do is pay a few thousand pesos to have the water company come hook it up? If I were going to live out of a house, even one that wasn’t completely done, the first thing I’d do is get the water hooked up. Well, maybe the second. It would need electricity too. For the past 4 years, my father-in-law had been using a well in the front yard to pump water into buckets to carry into the house or to do laundry with. Maybe it’s a matter of perspective, or how you grew up, but running water seems like a basic necessity to me.

We only stayed in the house for 3 days before traveling to Antipolo, in Rizal Province, to visit with my wife’s brothers, but those three days were a real pain when it came to doing anything that needed water. Cooking, bathing, laundry… it all took twice as long and four times as much effort as we were used to. So, by the end of our second day there, we decided to front the money (about 3000 PHP or 60 USD) and have the water hooked up, not just for our sake, but for my father-in-law’s sake. He’s not getting any younger and hauling buckets of water is something best left to younger people. Younger than me or my wife too, apparently, because it was exhausting.

The situation reminded me of stories my grandmother used to tell me about having to haul water from a well when she was a kid. I think she said her family’s well was located at the bottom of a hill too, which was much worse than what we had to deal with. The well in front of the apartments was only 15 feet away and on level ground. I used to brush off her stories as something amusing to laugh about, but now I have a greater appreciation for the effort involved in using a well for a water source.