3/21/04: Wow, it's been a while since we went to Caylabne with the Malone/Kilama family, but it's still well worth keeping a note on.
Remember a while back when I said that a Sunday warranted a post all its own? Here it is.
Tina Malone is a fascinating person. Besides being just warm, friendly and open, she's done so much before, like a stint in the Peace Corps. A stint in the Peace Corps in Niger, no less! It's actually funny how many folks we've bumped into in our short time in the Foreign Service who have been to Niger. David Ball (who recently evac'd from Port-Au-Prince and was 108th mentor for the 110th class) was in Niamey teaching at the University while I was in middle school at the American School there. Bob Lane, here in Manila too, knows my dad from when we were in Algeria. OK, it's not Niger, but still. He's admitted that crossing paths with the child of a former "co-worker" has made him feel old. Sorry, Bob!! But wait, I digress.
Right, Caylabne with Tina, Kiko and the twin boys, Meka and Sefo. Tina has a map book that is more than a map book. It's a guide that suggests different resorts, tells which roads to avoid and gives tidbits of information about what to expect in different areas. We've have bought a book on the 100 best resorts in the Philippines because we can't seem to find the same book they have, but will keep looking. When Tina picks up the book, it's almost like she's saying "Where will you take us to next?" This time it was to a beach resort called Cayubne, a couple hours south of Manila, beyond Cavite. We drove up some small mountains, through a magnetic zone (cell phones really don't work there, just like the sign says), through Marine training fields and an environment protected range (where we actually saw monkeys, like the sign said). The areas are right next to each other, which must be interesting for the monkeys. What do powerful magnets and gun fire do to a monkey's psyche anyway?
We reached our destination and found the resort basically deserted. Other than one other umbrella that was in use with rotating beach comers, the area and all it's sand, seaweed, crabs and changing rooms was ours. The kids of course had a ball, with Jonathon being the only pain in the butt. Everytime we go to a beach I feel like I have to shout out "You think you can do these things, Nemo. But you can't!" Replacing names of course. He walks straight into the water with not a care in the world, which means an adult has to be gluid to his side to protect him from the inevitable dunking when a wave of any size (think, a couple inches) knocks him over. He is surprisingly sure-footed and does better in regular swimtrunks than in a floaty swimsuit but that just doesn't matter in the wide open ocean. Or in a quiet bay.
Tina and I left the kids with the menfolk and ordered lunch before the restaurant closed for the afternoon. Fresh from the sea marlin steaks for Ian and I, wood oven baked pizza for the kids and some other fishy and squid delights for Tina and Kiko. The only hitch being told I couldn't have a Dalandan soda when there were others present who had some. Apparently I didn't fit the Dalandan soda profile.
The restaurant seating overlooked the water and beach where the family was, and when lunch headed to the table I went to call the troups. The straggled up, reluctant to leave the sandy fort built at the waters edge, but I saw that Ian was sitting with Katherine. Seems that while swimming hard, she got hit by a hard cramp and was having troubles breathing. Since it hit while she was in the water she panicked, knocked Nicholas, and struggled to get to shore, which didn't ease the stress any. After about 10 minutes she could breathe easier and was settled at the table eating some lunch, and it didn't stop her from getting back into the water both at the beach and the beachside pool. We took a break at the beach volleyball court and the adjacent playground about an hour before our departure.
The highlight of the day was when Katherine caught a piece of seaweed only to discover it was a live creature. A pipfish to be exact. I thought it was a seahorse with the similar head shape, but the straight rigid body made it definitely a pipefish. We thought it was dead until holding it out of the water its body slowly arched and a closer inspection showed it's fins and gills trying to move. A dumptruck was emptied out of the sand load it was carrying and we deposited the fish into it for a brief spell. I think it was happy to go back to open water though. As happy as a fish can be.
The ride home after a quick cleanup in the changing room was easy, as it was a straight shot down from Island Cove in Cavite. At least it felt it was, since we just followed them the whole way. Meka wanted to ride with us, so until our ice cream break in the first little town we crossed, we traded Meka for Katherine. Of course all our kids wanted in their car and no one wanted to switch back, but after a sticky sweet ice cream stop, we all returned to our appointed vehicles and finished the ride home. The weather had been gorgeous and moderately overcast the entire day and it made for a lovely evening sky.
We're going to miss Tina and clan once they depart post. June is a big turn-over time and it's no different for her. They're off to Addis Ababa after some DC training time. Maybe we'll cross paths again in the great Dark Continent.