Summer in the City

Around ManilaForeign Service Life
April 16, 2010

I’ve come to a very important realization in the last few weeks.  Cold temps I can do, but extreme heat is an entirely different story.  And I’m not talking the 90’s here people.  Those were the good old days.  I’m talking 100+, high humidity, sweat-in-your-cleavage-in-2-seconds kind of hot.  I refuse to go out between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm because it makes me so miserable.  I’ve already found myself wishing for monsoon season, which is what we get come June.  I even taught Norma my head-in-the-freezer trick this week and it was an instant winner!


Since I’ve already described that it’s hotter than hell here, I should tell you what kind of impact that has on the city.  Allow me to introduce you to my new favorite term “Brownout”.  A brownout, for those who were only familiar with the “white” and “black” kind (like me), is a rotating power outage across the city.  In short, the electric company can’t meet the power demand, so they move the outage around the city for 2-3 hour blocks at a time.  So, for example, last week I went into a McDonald’s to get my afternoon Sundae and everyone’s sitting there in the dark, just waiting around.  I walk up to the counter and ask what’s going on, to which I’m told, “Brownout, mam.  No food available now.”  Grrrr.  Can you even imagine the riot that would ensue in the States if a back-up generator didn’t come on it .2 seconds?


So that brings us to the concept of generators, which pretty much don’t exist here.  I am so grateful that we are one of the few buildings that has a back-up generator!  It makes the Brownouts much more tolerable because the power only goes out for a few seconds before the generator kicks on.  The only part that’s started to annoy me is losing my unsaved documents on the computer and having to reset all the clocks multiple times daily.  Honestly, I’m not complaining though!  I’ve never been a bigger fan of AirCon, as they call it here!

In-Grown Toe Nail Surgery

Thanks to my Dad, I have grudgingly inherited the problem of in-grown toe nails.  Be happy if you’ve never gotten them, because this is my third affected toe and boy do they hurt.  The first two I actually had to go in and have a mini surgery (both big toes).  This most recent one is my second toe, which is currently inflamed, pussing and oh-so-painful!

Happily, Wonder Woman Norma came to the rescue.  She took one look at it and told me she could fix it.  So we did in-home surgery this morning.  She clipped and chipped with my pedicure tools and by jove, I’m pretty certain she got it out.  That woman is a Godsend.  Here’s the growing list of all the things she takes care of in this house:

  1. Grocery Shopping
  2. Cooking
  3. Cleaning
  4. Mending
  5. Dishes
  6. Laundry
  7. Ironing
  8. Pedicures/Manicures
  9. Back massages when I tweak my back
  10. In-grown toe nail surgery

Honestly, we are so screwed when she leaves.  We can’t even find cooking utensils in our kitchen anymore, let alone cook a meal!  We are so blessed to have her for this period but I’m already dreading the painful readjustment period back to Washington, D.C. in July 2011…

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1 Comment

  1. It’s Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

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