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Friday, Mar. 08, 2002
I suppose our wives were a bit apprehensive at the thought of attending an anniversary party for someone we barely knew, but knowing the host has never stopped us before. From attending parties, that is.

Stu and I unloaded yet another furniture trinket and trundled it into the immaculate little home of the Senator, who conveyed his considerable delight by fetching two beers for us. His wife, whose English vocabulary probably did not extend much beyond "hello" and "thank you" was perfectly understandable in her invitation to view the contents of the food table.

For Stu and I, food is the universal language. And oh man, what a spread she had laid out. Egg drop soup, lumpia, sweet and sour pork and chicken, rice cakes, sliced and spiced beef and a dozen other dishes which looked incredibly tasty. While our wives were busy trying to assume a state of conversation with a handful of Filipino women in the living room Stu and I loaded up plates and headed for the garage with the other men.

Yeah, seems that division of the sexes is still alive and well in other cultures.

It was a warm night and the Senator had left the garage door open. Not a bad idea, because within minutes the entire conclave of relatives began showing up for this shindig. Car after car, complete families, laden with ever increasing amounts of food and gifts for the anniversary couple rolled through the garage and into the kitchen. The line at the buffet began to grow, and Stu started to get a bit anxious about his chances for a refill on his plate but he needn't have worried. There was enough food to feed two Mafia's and then some.

Curiously, the children of the Filipino guests would enter the garage, bow heads slightly to each adult, take the hand of the adult and press it briefly to their forehead as a sign of blessing / respect. I hadn't witnessed this before and found it a touching act of contrition. Respect for the elders. Wonder how my three kids would have reacted to that.

The Senator stopped by and briefed us on his upcoming journey back to the Philippines. Three planes and a car ride totaling some 21 hours each way. He was going back to view progress on the house he was building there. Seems that for one million pisa's, one could have a three bedroom luxury villa constructed there. Which meant very little to me until he converted it to 20 thousand dollars. When they say that American dollars go a bit farther in other countries I have visions of exchanges at the Canadian border, but 50 to 1?

I had an immediate inspiration to retire to the Philippines. Where I would have cottages built throughout the land and eat wonderful food all day and have small children press my hand to their head in contrition. I might not be called a Senator or a Governor but I suppose you have to be native born for all that.

They could call me Feudal Warlord and it would suit me just fine.

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