Furniture Boulevard

We took a bike (motorcycle with enclosed sidecar and seats behind and beside) up to a certain point, but the motorbikes aren’t allowed to cross a couple of the busier highways, so then we had to get out and walk a few blocks to the other side, and we took a cab a few more blocks to the furniture stores. We are considering a bench/couch/fold out into a bed thing if we can afford it. The stores are working shops, really, with open fronts.  They are set down about two feet lower than the sidewalk. The steps down are steep and there are no handrails. It’s a busy area of town with a lot of businesses. while we were wandering I heard somebody calling “Brother, Brother!” rather insistently and it was English, so I looked around and there was a man from church. He’s a welder (in the green shirt) and works next to the furniture stores. He was super excited to see us and the next week at church he was even friendlier than usual (he’s always been super friendly, even though he has no English and we have no Visaya to speak of). He’s kind of a big guy, and his wife is this tiny little wisp of a lady. They come to church by Bicycle most of the time- his bike, just an old regular two wheeler. He has attached a board somehow, to the bar in front of his seat. It’s maybe three inches wide. He gets on the bike and then his pretty little wife perches on the board with her ankles demurely crossed, looking as comfortable and lady like there as she does in church or would if she were royalty riding on a howdah.  Here are some of the sights I took while we were shopping:

Men with roosters, waiting for a jeepney



Cool handcrafted furniture

hand made carts for kids

2nd story clothesline or maybe not, maybe this is the closet.


Nifty chaise lounge

bench/couch w/storage

home-made bed frame.  Guy in green shirt is our welder friend.

Tiny sari sari store.

Tiny SariSari store

Tiny SariSari store man hangs out here.


While I was waiting for the guys to talk prices and size, this baby in an apartment over the furniture store (the youngest child of the carpenter, I learned later) shouted to me and then flirted like an accomplished ladies’ man.

Rooftop Baby

Rooftop Baby close-up


What do you see? What’s happening? What do the pictures tell you about?  I don’t have answers, just questions, and an immense sense of wonder and curiosity.  Also, at this point in our outing, a deep and abiding need for some ice water and an air conditioned place to drink it and a desperate need to get out of the sun because I’m sweating so much my cotton blouse is about to be see-through.  Maybe that’s why the baby is laughing.

Posted in Davao Diary | 2 Responses

Parts of Speech with Aesop’s Fables and Silliness (1 of 5)

Parts of Speech with Aesop’s Fables and Silliness (1 of 5)
I put this together for my husband, who is teaching a middle school grammar course for a few weeks, and over half his students are not native English speakers. It only includes adjectives, nouns, verbs, and the occasional preposition because those are the parts of speech the class is reviewing.

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Rambutan: sweet, juicy but not messy, much firmer than mango, not quite so firm as a cherry. Sweet with just a bit of tang. Not so tart as kiwi or as sweet as a honeycrisp apple. Very tasty. The prickles aren’t prickles and they don’t feel sharp, just bumpy.


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Books Read in July

Murder on the Blackboard, a Hildegard Withers story,  I like these, but I think mainly it’s because they are set in another time, a time I do not altogether miss (the cops sometimes rough up a suspect, and Hildegard encourages that).  Hildegard Withers is a strict spinster schoolmarm.   The historical touches amuse me.

Sharpe’s Fortress: Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Gawilghur, December 1803

Author: Bernard Cornwell; This is the second of his books I’ve read, the first was an Arthurian tale, so set a few hundred years earlier.  I liked this one better.  One of the earlier chapters had some pretty bawdy elements that I would have preferred not to read, but it is a war story set in the early 1800s.  However, once that bit of verisimilitude had been added, he didn’t continue the theme. It was a very interesting story, and the characters feel like real people.  It’s perhaps a G.A. Henty sort of tale for adults with discriminating taste, or maybe Horatio HOrnblower.  It’s not that Sharpe is quite larger than life, but in order to squeeze so much first hand history into the story of one man rising through the ranks it is necessary to add a fair amount of improbabilities, but Cornwell does it very well. 
Murder in the Paperback Parlor (The Book Retreat Mysteries 2)-
Ellery Adams.  I am very ambivilant about these. They should be fun cozies, light, effortless, and they are. But there are a couple underlying themes I find disturbing.  One is that there is a secret library which exists for the purpose of keeping dangerous books with dangerous ideas out of the public’s hands and this is a good thing. I find that notion abhorrent.  And the other is a common failing of many modern books- we periodically interrupt this story to bring you some shoe horned feminism which is probably irrelevant to the story, often wrong headed and dumb (‘I don’t need a man to protect me’ spoken by a woman who actually would need help from a stronger, bulkier type in the situations she gets herself into if this was real life),  and the occasional intervention of other irrelevant to the story political opinions.  They are often so forced that it forcibly ejects you from the story. It’s exactly as pleasant as if there were lunchmeat or ketchup advertisements incorporated into the story every 10 pages or so.
Susan Elia Macneal, love the WW2 setting, see the problems with interjecting feminist claptrap into the story whether or not it fits.  Sometimes it is done more deftly and then I mind less. It’s when something that comes right out of a modern gender studies university program drops out of the air into the 1940s setting that I want to tear out the page and throw it away, difficult since I am reading on Kindle.

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary: A Maggie Hope Mystery, see above.

Author: Susan Elia Macneal
Jacqueline Winspear, this was fabulous. It is not a mystery, it’s delicate and lovely novel of relationships between various every day people, including the center, a young married couple.  Bring your hankie.

No Shred of Evidence: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery Author: Charles Todd  Set in the north coast of Cornwall not terribly long after the war, amongst a community devastated by the War- heirs have died, brothers have come back maimed and unable to function forever, and four upper class girls who have all suffered loss are involved in a boating accident where a young man who didn’t risk his life in the War dies.  Accused of killing him, can they prove their innocence? Are they actually innocent after all?  I thought it was well done, but rather on the sad side given the nature of the story. Todd isn’t another Innes by a long shot, but I would put him on a list of authors to look for when I’m all out of Innes, Allingham, Marsh, and Edmund Crispin

The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O’Keeffe (The Pot Thief Mysteries Book 7) The pot thief steals pots, ancient artifacts, and finds them good homes.  I found these quirky and interesting and mostly delightful.  This author, too, does a bit too much (at least in this book) inserting his political or social opinions and the problem isn’t the views, it’s that they aren’t really seamlessly.  They don’t feel like part of the story, they feel like an abruptly inserted message.  however, it wasn’t nearly as egregious in this as it is in the Maggie Hope books.  There was a tad bit more sex than I like in my bookss, but I like zero, and on a scale of 1-10 this was probably only a 3 and the book wasn’t saturated in it.

Leading with Cultural Intelligence, David Livermore- Quick, short, very basic and introductory.  This is more for the person who isn’t completely convinced that ‘cultural intelligence’ is necessary, but is willing to learn why it might help his or her business.

Little Tiny Teeth, by Aaron Elkins, I think what I like about Elkins is the slight air of cerebral mystery.  Innes does this better, but Elkins is good.  I am reminded also slightly of the Lockridges.  This one is set in the Amazon and the description of the humidity is something I saved to use when describing the Philippines sometimes. It was spot on.

The Creators: A History of Heroes of the

Civilization: The West and the REst by Niall Ferguson.  I only read 20 percent. It’s an interesting read, but I don’t really agree with his central premise about what made the west successful and what made the east kind of plateau and I ran out of time with my Overdrive loan.

An Alan Bradley three book bundle:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie; The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag; A Red Herring Without Mustard

As Chimney sweepers Come to Dust– Alan Bradley- I love these macabre, improbable, impossible murder mysteries where the lead detective is a prepubescent, sarcastic, chemistry savant from a highly dysfunctional and strange but on rare occasions and in a strangely twisted way, somewhat affectionate family.

Start with Sweetness.  There is a major plot twist overall in the book just before Chimney Sweepers, so you don’t want to read that one out of order.

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Beehive Ginger


Beehive Ginger- (Zingiber spectablis, the spectacular ginger)  It can be up to six feet tall.  It likes humidity and shade and tropical conditions. It can sprout a flower on every single shelf, 20 or more, but it doesn’t do that at all once. The flowers start at the bottom and begin blooming up, but only a few are ever showing at a time.  Water can pool in the little brackets, and mosquitoes can breed there.  It grows in many parts of the tropics, and it is used variously in medicinal and food preparations, as well for ornamental purposes.  A stem of one of these beehives, or pinecones (they are, of course, neither, but the science of identification and description  is a world chock  full of analogies) will keep for a week or more in your flower arrangements.

The colours can range from a chocolate brown to a red.  The chocolate is a variation.  The red tends to be the result of having  been in full sun (which is, again, not their favourite condition, although the red is quite stunning so I like it).

From all I’ve read it is supposed to be scented, but I couldn’t smell anything, and now I feel a bit indignant about that.

The inflorescences are basal,” whatever that means.  “An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches. Morphologically, it is the part of the shoot of seed plants where flowers are formed and which is accordingly modified.” (wikipedia)

There is a two page long paper about the species here.

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