Parental guidance still advised

OK, I know, yesterday's post was a bit brief even by my standards and, no, the parental guidance title wasn't just a teaser, it still stands if I can get a paragraph or two knocked off here.  All this is dependent on me not getting an invitation to some social gathering which seems to happen increasingly frequently here, it really is a very sociable town.

I'll start you off today wth an amusing little sign I saw down in San Miguel one day.  I simply had to take a photo.  If you are unaware a Lapida Maker is what we would refer to as a monumental sculptor, he makes headstones and the like.

I'll bear it in mind.
The guy here was doing some very good work but it was the tomb remodelling thing that caught my eye.  Next time I need a tomb remodelled, I'll bear him in mind.  It is just one of those quirky little things you see round here.

I shall lure you into a further false sense of security with this image of yet more delicious food.

Manok and Chorizo.
I really am becoming quite addicted to this barbecued food with rice, it really is delicious.  The round things on skewers are called chorizo, obviously a relic of the Spanish colonial times.  It is very slightly spicy, not hot at all, and is wonderfully tasty.

Some of the Baboy's crew.
For a man who didn't even want to run a bar, my mate Mac seems to be doing rather well in spite of himself.  Sundays can be quite a big day, especially if there is Formula One racing being shown and a lot of the expats tend to gather here.  We have been fortunate at the minute as the races have all been in places where the time difference is not too bad.  It is going to change now when it goes to Europe and the races will be late at night here.  To the left side of the bar you see some members of the Roadrunners M.C., Dumaguete Chapter, who I hang out with.  They really are nice guys.

So this is where it starts to get messy.  You may wish to avert the kid's eyes here.  My mate Mac, who will never be described as an Adonis, at least not outside a "Home for the Bewildered" had one night let out his own cabin to one of the bikers who was slightly the worse for wear and had to bunk down on the floor of the bar.  The guy certainly knows how to make a peso or two!  I returned home not knowing this and wanderd round the back of the bar to get my nightly bottle of water and this is the sight that greeted me.

Oh dear, oh dear!
I promise you that I did not pose this in any way.  Do you think I would want to touch that?  This is exactly what I was confronted with and I retired swiftly to bed for a fairly fitful night's sleep.  I am sure I have been scarred for life!

And the horror does not end there.  There is a culinary "delicacy" which I believe is specific to the Philippines called balot which is a semi-fertilised egg boiled and eaten usually with chilli vinegar.  I had actually arranged a balot eating competition on Boracay with my crazy mate Claus who is up for just about anything.  Sadly we never got round to it, maybe next time amigo.

I think I have mentioned Claus on this trip's blog and certainly on the previous trip where he and I painted Phnom Penh various shades of crimson one night.  Just a quick recap here to save you scrolling back for pages.  Claus styles himself the Biking Viking and is a proper traveller in every sense of the word.  Just a couple of his exploits were cycling from Alaska to Mexico and my favourite when he cycled from his "home" city of Copenhagen to Tirana in Albania to watch a football match.  When I say "home" it isn't really as he has one small room in his father's place and is rarely there. 

Claus has what I think is the absolutely ideal lifestyle.  He works about half the year as a freelance tour guide (normally top end assignments for Danes) and saves his money so he can travel himself the other half of the year.  He has been doing this for a long time and I do envy him both the lifestyle and the sheer volume of travel experience he has.  I am glad to count him a friend.

Back, however, to the balot.  These things come in various degrees of maturity.  Thus far I have only tried the 16 day version.  I believe they also come in 17, 18 and even 21 for the real hardcore afficionado.  That is where you have to spit out bits of beak and claw.  Sorry, did I put you off breakfast?  Anyway, here is a 16 day example.

16 day balot.
What I am about to say is not intended to sound macho or anything else.  I genuinely like this stuff.  Here's a tip if you want to try it.  You need to get a good dose of the chilli vinegar on it.  The guy on the bicycle that plies the road between Bacong and Dauin has some of the most potent chilli vinegar I have yet had, it is pretty lively.  OK, anyone can take a photo of someone else's balot (if you'll pardon the expression) so here is the proof of me doing it.

Yum yum.
Perhaps I should start the first balot franchise in Europe.  No, cancel that, there must be at least 30 EU regulations in force to ban it.  I am taking great delight in sitting here and watching the EU / € falling to pieces in what I am decreasingly thinking of as home.  Long may it continue.  I am actually looking into the regulations now and the possibility that if my next trip lasts a certain period of time, I don't even have to pay tax in UK.  Happy days.

Standard late night snack.
From the pretty exotic to the still delicious but slightly more mainstream.  Late night eating options here are limited to say the least.  You have a choice of two bakeshops in Bacong, both of which are excellent.  There is a huge selection of breads, bscuits and cakes and for some obscure reason all the bakeshops here sell peanut butter which is much sweeter than the European version and goes really well wth just about anything.  I actually know the lady that made this in her home next door, so how is that for local produce?  This is just a small selection of some of the things on offer and it is unfailingly tasty and cheap as chips.  If you disregard the peanut butter which is the most expensive thing in the shop, the rest of the items on the plate would come to about 30 pence (50 cents US or thereabouts).  I love this stuff.

I'll finish you off with another awwwwwwww moment.  I don't think you have seen this one yet.  It's a long story why a small rabbit was in a bar that evening and my suggestion of a stew was shot down in flames.  Hell, it was owned by a Korean and they eat dogs, don't they?

It seems like an appropriate time to break here, I'll take you on a trip to a most remarkable market and some other places shortly.

Stay tuned.

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