Friday, April 17, 2009

Found Memory #4: Jeepney’s RULE!

So, i was going to add this to the Philippines post below that i just uploaded, but wanted it in its own “found memory” post…Driving around here always brings back memories from past trips, but one Philippine icon brings back a great little memory of Lissette and I…

My first trip to the Philippines was in 1995.  I had just met my beautiful love and we were just barely falling in love…we had only known each other for a few weeks, but it seemed like much longer since we saw each other every day and spent many nights on the phone talking when we were apart.  So, when I was getting ready to head home to take a semester of school I told her i wanted to go somewhere fun before I left.  I suggested Thailand, since I hadn’t been there and she said, “how about the Philippines”?  I really didn’t care, because all i really wanted was to go ANYWHERE with this girl – freak, i would have taken a trip to a Turkish Prison, as long as we could be  could be alone somewhere…

So, we decided to spend 2 weeks in Boracay on this amazing little island that takes (from Korea) 2 plane trips, a 3 hour bus trip and an hour boat ride.  It might be a little less of a boat ride, i can’t quite remember, but i do remember it took a full day to get there from Korea and i was amazed at how long it took!

The island was amazing and we had an incredible time there.  We really fell completely and madly in love over those 2 weeks and i know if we hadn’t of gone and spent that time we most likely wouldn’t have been married, or at least not as soon as we were (5 months later)…We even ended up going back there for our honeymoon, but this post isn’t about that – it is about the transportation to the island…

When we flew into the first airport in Manila, we knew we couldn’t take a shuttle from the airport to the other domestic airport because we were told it was too expensive.  So, by walking from inside the airport (shuttle: $40 dollars) to the outside (people asking if we wanted a ride to the other airport for $25) we already saved $15 bucks – we felt pretty good about ourselves at that point…but, we knew we wanted to take a taxi and have them use the meter.  That way the driver would be honest (boy, were we naive).  I’ve been here a ton since that first trip and have taken taxis in Manila several times and it is ALWAYS a nightmare – i’ve never had an honest taxi driver and almost got into a fistfight with one after he tried to rip us off on our honeymoon – but again, that is a different post.

At this point, we didn’t know how bad the taxi drivers were.  So, we got in the back of this taxi and asked the guy to use the meter.  He said, “yes yes, get in get in”…so we did and he started driving.  He didn’t start the meter and both of us are like, “hey, meter – yo, meter” and finally while driving he handed us a thick binder with all of these numbers on it.  I didn’t understand what it was and asked him and he said, “price sheet.”  Lissette yelled, “STOP THE CAR” and he was right in the middle of the road and he stopped and we got out in the middle of traffic. 

We were pretty upset at him and tried looking for another taxi, when we saw these vehicles driving all around with writing on the sides.  We tried to read what was written and lissette found one that showed “Dom. Airport” on it, so we ran after it and once it stopped we jumped in the back.  We asked a lady how much it was and she said, “5 pesos” – which at the time was about 2 and 1/2 cents!!!  WE WERE DYING…ever since then I have LOVED Jeepney’s because they are very cool (covered in tons of crazy junk and writing) and cheap cheap cheap!!!  Plus, kicking it with the locals is great as well…

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Here is a picture of a couple of Jeepneys from yesterday when El and I went to the Shawarma shop (see previous post “geek heaven”).  These are REALLY plain looking ones compared to most…you just jump in back and pass the money through the window between the back and cab and then jump out at your stop.

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Here is another picture of us driving next to one and you can see the writing on the side (the route it is taking)…you can also see the line of them in the right hand lane – as far as you can see forward they are jeepneys…

 

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This is what i mean by “covered in tons of crazy junk and writing” – love the BENZ symbol!

My Phil’s Trip – geek heaven!

WOW, 2 posts in less than 5 months – i must have lost my mind…i promise this one will have pictures for all of your wordphobic people that think i say to much and show too little (you know who you are my love :-)

So, I have a lot of different jobs and responsibilities at work, but i have to say that one of my absolute favorite responsibilities are my trips to the Philippines.  I’ve been coming here for the past 8 years, sometimes twice a year, and I LOVE IT…i LOVE flying, i LOVE airports (i know i’m crazy), I LOVE THE FACTORY AND EVERYONE HERE…If i didn’t miss my family SO MUCH, especially my love lissette, i’d want to stay here a month or more!  I love these trips that much!!!

The Philippines is always so consistent…it is always hot and humid…the people are always nice and happy, smiling and laughing constantly…the factory is a BUZZ with workers and watching our hard work at home turn into uniforms is the best…

I didn’t take a ton of pictures this time because my phone died and i didn’t have a charger for a while, but i did get a picture of two of my favorite things…

FAVORITE THING #1:  I like to plan my 2 week trips around a holiday, so i can spend the first week (while the workers are gone) holed up in my “cave” of a room surrounded by 5 computers at a time that i am cleaning up, formatting, updating, fixing, etc…i’ll finish one – take it downstairs – grab another and bring it upstairs to keep at it…I will work for hours and hours, not really knowing the time of day since i’m in the middle of the factory with no outside light coming in and i basically work until i collapse from exhaustion…i’ll catch about 3 – 4 hours of sleep – get up and do it again until i collapse…all of the time i have the music cranked and the computers a hummin and i’m in “geek heaven”…

I get a ton done while they are gone, so when they get back i can set it all up and then spend my second week making sure they are right, fixing others that I didn’t finish up during the first week, and working with them on things like Inventory, website, reports, etc…

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This is when I first arrived and started setting things up


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Here is a shot just before my camera died.  I only have 3 computers setup in this view so far, but you can see how i’m doing it…under the monitor is a KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switch…this allows me to just use a single Keyboard/Monitor/Mouse for all of the systems and when I want to switch to a different one it is just a matter of pushing a button.  This makes things VERY efficient and takes up a ton less space (not having 5 monitors, keyboard and mice is nice!)

You will also notice the bottle of coke…they buy me a case when i first get here and because i’m working 20 + hour days it is a requirement to have the fridge fully stocked :-)

This trip I’ve spent a lot of time this time working on the Embroidery computers.  They bought a new 20 head embroidery machine and needed their Embroidery computer cleaned up and a 2nd one setup for that room so they could work faster.  This took quite a while for me since i ran into some issues, but I have it working well and am glad my work here translates into making them more productive and having things go faster (which means we can make more product, which equals more money – economics 101 anyone???)

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Here is the new 20 head embroidery machine. 

 

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They are building a room to put this and the other 2 machines in (top of the picture in the back corner).

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This is the current embroidery room.  On the left is the 6 head and on the right is the 4 head.  In the middle are a bunch of hilarious embroiderers… 

 

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Here is a picture taken, believe it or not, out the window of my room right above my bed.  They are moving the cutters upstairs to make room for the embroidery area they are building, so i wake up each morning to them moving tables, inventory, etc. upstairs. 

FAVORITE THING #2:

The first week that i’m here i’m all alone at the factory, which i love, but since I don’t like to leave the cave while i have all of these prime hours to work uninterupted, i don’t get out much.  I do have a car and can go out to eat wherever i want, but i really like being holed up in the cave with the music cranked and the computers a hummin’…

So, when people return I love going out to see the outside world in the form of lunch!  I really don’t like how far we have to go to find anything decent, but i love going with people to lunch.  This trip I was lucky enough to go with several different people over the week (ron, el and kuya)…hanging out with them and talking about their lives and my life is the best…then coming back to the office and hearing them laugh and seeing them smile (especially if i bring all of them doughnuts) rocks…

So, one of my FAVORITE places here is a little shop that is next door to our old factory.  Our factory used to be located on Fields Ave (famous street in the Philippines where all of the “working girls” are and there are tons of Go Go clubs all up and down the street.  You can see these perv old men walking hand in hand with these young girls all over the place….yuck!) – So, we were right in the middle of that, and there was this little shop right next door to our old factory that sold Shawarma’s.  I’ve had Shawarma’s from various places and cultures, but these are by far my favorite.  We went there yesterday and I ordered 4 (which is a ton and I had to give one to El because I couldn’t finish them all, but i usually only get back to eat there once while i’m here and I want to make sure i get my fill.)  I love the owner because he always remembers me (even when I forget his name)…

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Ah, Shawarma’s…you can see they only cost about a dollar (55 peso’s) and it is worth every penny!!!

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Here I am with Mr. Shawarma himself (Jun is his name)…he is great…i have no idea how he works in the heat, standing right in front of those 2 fires behind the meat!!!  I was there for only about 30 seconds waiting for El to take this picture and I think i have 3rd degree burns from the experience…

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Here I am showing off my finished plate…do i look STUFFED???  Trust me, I AM!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Found Memory #3: dumping a girl

So, you know how 16 is an awkward age for pretty much anyone? Well, i had a pretty embarrassing experience trying to impress a girl that i just remembered.

When I turned 14 (in 1982), I attended EFY and loved it...i went back when i was 15 and again, had an excellent time. Well, when I turned 16 i decided to go to “Singing Entertainer” which was also at BYU, but was a week long “workshop” with BYU’s Young Ambassadors.  Yeah, i spent my summers during my 16th and 17th years singing show tunes at BYU, what’s it too ya?  :-)

So, i LOVED this as well and one of the reasons i probably liked it more than EFY had everything to do with the fact that there were only about 100 kids (EFY had several hundred, if not 1,000’s – I'm guessing about that number and could be way off, but hey, i was 14 – a crowed of 20 looked like a multitude to me back then)…

So, only 100 kids…oh, did i mention 95 of them were girls?  And the other 4 boys had NO CHANCE…seriously, who would want the other 4 – they sang show tunes during their summers…

Yeah, so i loved Singing Entertainer.  We practiced dancing, sang songs and hung out together.  Well, there was this one girl…sigh…ok, i can’t for the life of me remember her name, but she sang a solo during the week (that ended in a concert for our families) – it was “I got no strings” from Pinocchio and i thought she sounded really really good (plus, she was hekka cute – how’s that for Utah slang)…

Well, i tried to spark up something with her and it seemed to be going OK, but i couldn’t tell if she liked me or not…until one night.  We were hanging out with a few of the other kids, you know – singing around a piano (what’s it too ya???) and we all decided to go across campus and get a drink from the dorms…we went outside and she jumped on my back so i could give her a piggyback across the parking lot…i started forward, excited she was showing me this kind of attention because that meant I WAS IN BABY…and then i stepped off the curb…

At which point i pitched forward, dumping her on the asphalt, causing her to skin her hands pretty bad.  Well, lets just say she wasn’t too happy with me and her attentions were directed elsewhere for the remainder of the week.