I guess the answer to that question revolves a lot around your conception of just what ‘fun’ really is.
Recently I was emailing a friend regarding some of the trial and tribulations another online friend had been going through as he tried to get settle din after his recent move to the Philippines.
My newly arrived friend has had a lot of irritations, false starts and annoyances to deal with. many (he admits) are self-induced because, in his own words, he expects a 15 minute job to actually take 15 minutes.
Well if you are in a similar frame of mind, you better think twice about moving to the Philippines … because that just is not like to happen very often.
I am fortunate that I don’t suffer from hypertension, ulcers and many of the typical ‘type A’ disease issues that many guys my age do … but I certainly can be impatient enough to make things annoying on a regular basis.
Yes indeed adjustment can be a big problem. Hell I still suffer adjustment difficulties from time to time. Don’t think I wasn’t tempted when I was ‘adrift" (on my own without wifely supervision) in Colorado for three weeks.
You know what I thought was ‘coolest’ on this trip? The almost ubiquitous use of ATM machines, especially self checkout lanes, and just the push of a button and ‘whoosh’ cash pops out along with your receipt. Cash back. Wonderful convenience. You would have laughed when Ian and I went to one of the many clean, spacious, well equipped post offices to get envelopes and boxes to mail some family stuff that I had taken in my luggage to mail for my dear wife.
Why wouldn’t I just mail them here in the Philippines?
Ah, well that would be another post of a different color. I’ve written before about how insanely lucky Americans are to have the good old USPS (The Post Office).
I know, I know, people whine and bitch about costs to mail a letter, lines at the counter, late mail delivery, being forced to tie up their dog … you name it and people will find a way to bitch about it in connection with the post office.
But seriously, you who still live under the umbrella of the USPS are so, so lucky.
Here in the Philippines we have “PhilPost”. It’s a sad imitation, believe me. In fact you will see your local PhilPost delivery person very rarely, because the mail is so unreliable that businesses won’t use it to send their bills, as just one example. It’s pretty hopeless, actually … hence my overstuffed bags carried to the USA to use a ‘real’ post office.
Anyway my son and I walked into one of the many post office branches in Pueblo (OBTW, did I mention there is a huge parking lot right at the door? Amazing) where I selected several mailing envelopes, a small Overseas priority mail box from the self service racks and then started out the door. My son thought I was drunk or spaced out I guess, he said, "Dad, where are you going, you haven’t paid for that stuff".
"Pay? I responded, "Aren’t you a taxpayer? This is provided for us through the generosity of Uncle Sam."
A few days later we went back to the post office to have the completed packages weighed and mailed. After the very courteous and help fully counter clerk lady (must have spent 10 minutes explaining to me my different options and costs in sending one of the packages to Australia), a total was reached and I swiped my ATM card in the reader.
But the familiar "Cash back" buttons didn’t appear. The clerk saw my look of puzzlement and said, "The USPS doesn’t give cash back on ATM cards, sorry".
"What"? "You mean as an American taxpayer I can’t come to the post office and get paid cash to mail letters’?
OMG we all had a good laugh.
You know I think I laughed more and had more fun with people in stores and such in those three weeks than I do in a year here. Frankly, it’s much more fun in the USA 😉
When I bought my car in the Philippines, my wife wanted me to buy some add-on running boards. It’s an AUV (Asian Utility Vehicle) and it sits a bit high … which is a great advantage in driving through floods .. a very frequent occurrence here.
Well it’s been nearly 6 years now and the running boards never got purchased for one reason or another.
The dealer will be happy to sell me a pair ‘all in’ (tax and installation included) for P15,000, but I am sure I can do better.
Yesterday the car had a minor issue to deal with so I sent our driver/assistant Philip to a local repair shop we have used of then get the little tattle fixed and instructed Philip to ask the mechanic to give me a price for ordering in a set of running boards and installing them. The guy does relatively cheap work and has been fair with us in his dealings so I figured he might as well have a decent big ticket item to make a little profit on before Christmas.
Know what the answer was?
“Oh I don’t sell them, tell your boss to go find them on his own.”
As my old fiend Mr. Spock has been known to say from time to time, “Does not compute, Jim.”
Here’s a local guy, independent businessman, wife and family to feed, gets a request to make up a price for something definitely “high ticket” in today’s market, and he knows the car belongs to a ‘rich kano”, and he can’t even be bothered to find a set of factory-style running boards for me and charge me for the service.
Happens all the time, folks, all the time. A couple years back I had the car in a local body shop and asked them to price me a set of boards, installed. The answer? The same, “go find them yourself”.
The Philippines can be a very hard place to spend your money. Frustrating at times. If spending money is fun, it is surely not “more fin in the Philippines”. Are you sure you are up to it?