What Flips Most About a Pinoy Expat’s Life

It has been over twenty years. A stretch of time, long enough to own a journal of thoughts that tickle the funny bones. A weave of episodes for a Pinoy expat who continuously adapts to the nuances of a language. Surprisingly, he does navigate with an American driver’s license. Living with American work skills but in the mould of a culture left behind. There is no stopping the recall of the humor there is in being an expat for a decade or two.

Am I dyslexic?

I grew up using the Pinoy vernacular to point to directions. Most of the time, the sun is my compass. But what about when the sun is out? The house has West by the patio. I’ve fixed my position quite straight here. It’s the driving that gets the laughter most of the time. Scared of driving on the highways, I skirt the back roads where driving passes my speed limit. Driving the main streets with lights that direct my time drives to work is easy huh? When the going is straight, and it’s the back roads, I would see a procession of cars trailing behind me. When they finally pass my lane, I overhear horns blowing, and voices follow. I don’t understand; they sound like a rowdy lingo! And, I don’t yell back. Americans do not make eye contacts. They are not confrontational. So I keep still, minding my driving, pray that soon, I will get to where am going in time. Yes, I need to be an aggressive driver!

Where’s my GPS?

I finally got the road hustlers out of my way. My written directions work better than a GPS. When it drops silent, am afraid am totally lost on the roads I less take!. I knew I skimmed through it on my Google maps (the boss says mapping is outdated), but for me, it works, am a bookworm you see!. With my index finger, I keep tapping until I know which McDo or Walmart I pass by on my standard drive. Then the drive goes smooth. I realized I needed an upgrade for my apple mini iPad (the boss is jealous!). The new version got a built-in GPS (did they say Samsung did an intellectual piracy, who was first then?). Both mapping and the GPS needs updating; they can’t seem to serve my needs on the road!

To each his own

I have never been buddy-buddy with my dishwasher not until recently. It had given the most laughs as far as I can remember. From soap suds oozing out (wrong TIDE soap used) to weird noise (silverware got into the spinner and its fighting for itself to function). Sometimes its use is a confirmation that I will never get to own it. The wash turns cloudy. So many times I would see the same silverware I just washed back in the sink (4-6 of them). The house boss could not have used that much in so short a time! Then when the discourse is light (see he is not confrontational (again), he knows when to get to the tiger when it’s tame!), he’d say by way of a comment what I did with the dishwasher. Again I’d be silent. Deep inside I cringed. After all these years, I have never mastered washing silver wares the right way. No big deal, I wash them by hand, less when am in a hurry. My most giggles come when my cousins are around. Polite, they take over the dishwashing but would always complain there’s too much in there, they can’t wash! Hey whether I leave it full or empty is none of your business, it’s my dishwasher and dryer!

The Gourmet goes a cooking

Am a Food Channel addict. I could pan my X-Men radar when Rachael Ray is on that big tube doing her 30-minute meals. Andrew Zimmerman picks up a scorpion from some outskirts in Malaysia. Then it’s ready for soaking in a vinaigrette dumped with a thousand load of spices; he doesn’t tweak! Yes, I know being with him in most of the BIZARRE FOOD FINDS. I never took notes on the food I seem to like making. You see I want original recipes. If I like what I see, I would twitch it and still bows as my own. Everybody does that. My friend tweaked my recipe and published it as her own after including me in her contacts on FB. Can I fight a newly found family member?. But again when the writing needs to level up, I hate data scaling. Without fail, the topic speaks of my victories; I can go on and on and be pleasing with my keyboards. The treatment of a recipe book is a no, no to me. I would buy one and let it rest in my kitchen to display. The house boss teases about how I can cook without one. If I do the same dish over and over, would I not have memorized making it after the 2nd, 3rd tries? I don’t need a kitchen Bible to perfect one. Repetition is the master of perfection!

Amazing Things About Coorg

Coorg is popularly known as the Scotland of India.

Due to the admirable beauty and the symmetrical upsurge of urbanization Coorg. It was the name given to this splendid place during the reign of British.

This one is for the coffee lovers. If you are a huge fan of coffee, then this is exactly the right place for you. The huge estates of coffee in Coorg are in abundance. The amazing thing is, Coorg is the largest producer of coffee in our country. You will definitely want to buy some coffee powders from the local stores to take back home from the largest producers.

It’s time for the religious tourists to feel happy. You will get to know about the sacred river Kaveri at Coorg. There is a place known as Talakaveri wherein a temple is built in the name of Goddess Kaveri.

Have you ever been fond of the Tibetan culture? If Yes, then this is the tourist attraction for you. You will find a whole community of Tibetans at the Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar. The Namdrolling Monastery is the religious place as well as the most visited place in terms of beautiful Indian destinations. A clan of around 70,000 Tibetans lives here. Grab this million dollar opportunity to learn more about Tibetan culture.

If honey makes you sweet tooth, then visit Virajpet which is one of the main towns in Kodagu. It is a serene sleepy town which is famous for honey. Feel proud to be at Asia’s largest producer of honey.

We suggest taking home coffee, honey, spices and homemade chocolates.

There is also something special for the people who believe in myths and legends. There is a temple famous for erasing the sins. Amazed? I was too! The Omkareshwara temple is believed to unveil all the secrets and wash away all the sins. The story behind this is that once there was a king who killed a Brahmin for his political benefits and soon the dead Brahmin became a devil who haunted the king. So, the king made the temple to fade away the haunted soul. This temple is the major attraction of the religious and curious tourists.

Coorg is also known as Kodagu. Earlier it was recognized as a state but now, has become a district. It is one of the smallest districts of Karnataka.

Beware Dear Solo Travelers

There’s a gazillion tour companies now floating through the world wide web. Most travelers want the lowest price possible to escape and go straight to “cheaperosity.com” before they even narrow down their dreamy bucket list destination! This can lead to disaster or in the least, a waste of time and money on a place that will underwhelm you. Let’s say a friend encourages you to visit Nepal. You’re clueless, but you Google local tour operators. Over 1200 show up. You pick “Yak on a Budget Travel”, ‘cuz they are dirt cheap and you send them a deposit by PayPal. Five months later, no one greets you at the airport upon arrival. Outside, Kathmandu assaults your senses, but you manage to hail a taxi to your 2-star hotel bordering on a youth hostel. No breakfast, bad bed. Your guides are subpar with thick accents. You get half-day tours daily instead of full days as promised in vans with no AC. At each famous site, the guide says, “Need money now for entrance fees.” And the story goes on and on for 8 long days of disappointment as you watch other tour groups gleefully exiting deluxe motor coaches and heading to the front of the lines for the best vantage points.

A gentle reminder dear travel lover – Do your research on tour operators credentials first! Choose one with a proven track record of reliability. How? Carefully read their company profile. Is the company Owner-run or is it presented through a travel agent who doesn’t want the expense nor responsibility of being the Principal? Is it a cheesy website with template blocks to cut and paste in your contact details, looking like something designed by a teenager? Be extra cautious if stock photos are inserted instead of real people who actually traveled with this company.

Ask how long the tour operator has been in business. A year or less, I’d run. Are they fully licensed and bonded? Do they have IATA license and other credentials? Any reports to the Better Business Bureau is a huge red flag. Find reviews on Google. If an emergency happens, does the company have insurance to protect you? Understand that countless tour operators go out of business each year. What protection do you have if you paid for a trip in full and they close shop a week before you depart?

Consider companies that have successfully sent groups around the world for a long time. Look for repeat travelers. Check out their website to feel the passion and integrity that comes from their information. See that they use Non-Stock Photos showing real people on their trips. Glance over hundreds of happy testimonials, each honest and trustworthy. Invest the time in researching who you’ll book with. Find a company that will deliver what they promised. After all, it is your investment in a thrilling adventure to provide you forever memories.