So you may have noticed that I've been even quieter than usual. For once my excuse is not, "I'm an awful human being that should not be allowed a blog". As you may have guessed from the photos I've been away to the Philippines.
I can categorically state that the Philippines is brilliant. I think the thing I liked best about it though wasn't the country itself (although it is totally beautiful) but the fact that the people are actually mental. Even more mental than Irish people. No, I didn't think that was possible either.
Firstly, they have no stop button for social situations. They just say what's on their mind and even if it's offensive word vomit it's out there. And if they've offended you? Well, they just don't give a fuck. I like that. In fact, I find it massively amusing. Two brilliant examples are:
1: A man telling me he felt sorry for me because my boyfriend hadn't married me. When I reassured him that I don't really want to get married and I was happy he just reiterated how sorry he felt for me. It's nice to know he cares.
2: Basically I had massages pretty much every day because it was so fricking cheap it was rude not to. Five English pounds for a fully body massage. Don't mind if I do. (Ditto drinking and smoking. I did both in excess even though I don't smoke any more because it was so cheap I'd have been cheating the Philippino economy not to) Whilst I was having one of my massages the lady said, "Maam, you want foot scrub? You're feet need it. And also hot oil hair treatment. Your hair - so dry". Yeah. It was true but you know sometimes you gotta have a bit of tact. Not these ladies. Oh no. But they were l-o-v-e-l-y. We had some nice chats about the state of the coral around the island and global warming affecting their seasons and fucking up tourism (pretty much their only source of income).
Add on top of that snorkeling, island hopping and glass bottom boats and it was fantastico. The island is bizarre though. It's only had electricity for 20 years and is really touristy but it's kind of overshot itself and mushroomed more than it can cope with. We had a few brown outs, mainly when there was a tropical storm and the Heavens opened with such force that all the sand was washed off the very sandy path.
They are also bananas Catholic and there's a grotto shrine to Mary just in the middle of the sea. When the tide is up you have to wade out. Once you get there it's like a party in a rock. Neon light? Check. Tacky statue? Check. People taking photos with the statue, neon light and beach type accessories like giant inflatable flip flops? Check.
Manila was just as fun but in a grimy OH MY FUCKING GOD I'M GOING TO DIE IN THIS FUCKING TAXI RIGHT NOW BECAUSE EVERYONE DRIVES LIKE MENTALISTS ARGH kind of way. Once you had got over the fact that you could go up to the big man in the sky at any kind it became exhilarating and fun. I won't lie - some of our number never quite got over that fact and spent most of their time in the hotel. One word. B-O-R-I-N-G. Taking our lives in our hands meant MonsieurB and I got to see all sorts of excitement like mueseums, crazy indoor markets that are silly hot and proper ghettos that make you thankful for what you have. Which also made me feel a bit guilty for seeing proper poverty and then going back to our five star hotel with air conditioning and free booze every night (DISCLAIMER: We could only afford this as my best mate from uni's boyfriend works for the hotel group and sorted us out a silly discount. The Sofitel was amazing and plush and all you could hope for from a lovely hotel).
And so I'm back. And zen. People from work are eyeing me suspiciously and I think they suspect I purchased hooky Valium as I'm so serene since my holiday. Alas I did not purchase hooky Valium but I did realise that there's a lot more to life than busting a gut for The Man so when something annoys me at work now instead of blowing up, swearing like a sailor and stomping off to make tea I just go, "Oooooh", and carry on with what I was doing. I think my colleague's shock at this new attitude actually stems from disappointment. I am no longer their performing, angry, entertaining monkey. HAHA to them.