Monday, January 30, 2006

Le Weekend

Rohaizad and I spent the weekend at The Village ( the past couple of days. We were celebrating the fact that January 31 marks the 11th anniversary of our being together.

It was so peaceful and beautiful. The huts have gorgeous views, waterbeds and mosquito nets. We ate our meals on their little deck overlooking the coast all the way down to Sokehs Rock. Excellent. It does seem a little strange that we need an occasional get-away from life on a tropical island. Hmm.

It was a brief get-away, because there is so much going on right now. Friday night I hosted Mozart's 250th birthday party at the College. It was just the movie "Amadeus" with drinks and popcorn, but quite a few people came!

Next Friday I am beginning the lunchtime concert series of piano duets and trios. So Sunday afternoon was spent practicing with the other pianists. Wow, is my technique ever rusty! I'm supposed to be playing the Secundo part on the overture to "The Marriage of Figaro." Practice, practice!

While we were practicing in the afternoon, the tide got so high that the water crossed our driveway and my car was sitting in water. Yikes!

On Sunday evening we met with the creative team for our show "Welcome to Micronesia." It is so much fun to work with such creative folks. And I am so honored that nine people are willing to travel all the way from here to Baltimore to perform this show next July 7-8 at Theatre Project (

Monday, January 23, 2006

Potholes ... sigh

Someone could write a book about the road around the island. Their attempts to build a road around the island led to instability and war and contributed to the failures of the Spanish and German colonial powers. The reasons against building the road are lost to me in Pohnpeian culture and tradition.

The road only was completed in the mid-20th century, when people wanted cars and wanted some place to drive to. So the Americans built the road. Just last month the road was paved all the way around. The Japanese did the paving.

After these generous gifts by the Americans and Japanese, the only obligation that the Pohnpeians had was to maintain the roads. Alas, this seems to be more than they care to do.

So the roads are now riddled with pot holes. Drivers have gotten used to it; most of us drive a zigzag path down the road as we avoid all the pitfalls and axle-grinders. Apparently it's even worse in Chuuk, but that's no excuse for Pohnpei.

When the Tuna Commission had their big conference here in December, the road crews filled up the pot holes with gravel. That took care of the problem until the Commission members left. Now the holes are back, bigger and better than ever.

Recently there have been some foreigners going around fixing the pot holes. Apparently they are volunteers doing this out of good will.

It is awfully nice to have the holes repaired, but once again the government got off the hook. The lesson learned is that if they wait until the problem is bad enough, some foreigner will come fix it for them. What ever happened to tough love? Sigh.

My consolation is that the foreigners will someday leave, but the pot holes will always return.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Mysterious Parasitical Running Man

Recently when I've gone running at the causeway in the morning, this local guy has run with me. I don't know who he is and he has never spoken to me. The first time he ran with me I tried to throw him off with some quick turn-arounds and stuff, but he stuck right with me.

Back then I considered it annoying. I enjoy my private time when I run and he also screwed up my pacing. But now I realize that he doesn't speak, so I still get my private time and he is pushing me to run a bit faster.

The only clothes he wears is a pair of shorts. No shirt, shoes or anything. I can't imagine running on that rough concrete barefooted. I wonder why he has latched on to me? Am I his inspiration to exercise? Is he mocking me? Who knows?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Heat Is On

Okay, so we've "adopted" four dogs: TC, Fideaux, Wanda and Tubbs McGraw. They have their quirks, but they are generally sweet and quite affectionate. They hang out on our front patio.

For the past couple of days, their mother, Yum Yum, has joined them. She's a good dog, but the bitch is in HEAT!!! We would get her fixed, but it turns out she belongs to the nanmwarki (chief) across the street.

Now our house is under attack by boonie dogs - ugly, hideous, aggressive and horny mutts are constantly stalking our front yard and mounting Yum Yum whenever they can. I pelt them with rocks and actually beat two of them with a woofleball bat, but they won't leave!!!

All night long it sounds like there are bloody battles on the patio as our puppies try to defend their turf from these invading armies of lust. There was even a little blood on the wall this morning. It got so bad that we locked Yum Yum in the bathroom two nights ago.

I know that being in heat is a normal and natural condition for dogs, but MAN, get a grip!!! At least have the decency to do the nasty in the jungle!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

First Day of Classes 2006

Today is the first day of teaching for the Spring semester. As I was speaking to my 11:00 class this morning, a ceiling tile came out of the ceiling and landed on my head. It was soft so it didn't hurt, but it covered me with yellow insulation powder. The students got a kick out of that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Heart Growing Fonder

The holidays are over and it's back to work now. I went to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur with Rohaizad.

Because we are so cheap, we bought tickets on a discount airways, Tiger Airways, from Manila to Singapore. But we paid in other ways.

Tiger Airways flies out of Clark Airport. We had to fly Continental Airlines into Manila and Continental lands at the International Airport in Manila. Because our Continental flight was delayed, we didn't get a relaxing night of sleep in Manila as we planned. Instead, we had to bolt out of Manila, grab a taxi and hustle up to Clark on Christmas Day.

Well, Clark is in the middle of NOWHERE!!! Two-and-a-half HOURS of driving to get to this tiny and seemingly abandoned airport. Once we were there, there were not buses, restaurants or ANYTHING! We couldn't get into the airport and had to wait outside for an hour.

But after the infernal check-in lines, security checks and horrifying free-for-all of running across the tarmac and grabbing whatever seats were available, Tiger Airways proved to be a pleasant trip.

Being in Manila, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur really made me miss Pohnpei. It is amazing what people who live in cities put up with: being stacked up, honked at, ignored, told when to cross streets... The pace was overwhelming and the amount of choices was ridiculous: which restaurants, which stores, which bus, where to go, what to do. I've become spoiled by the simple island life.

But we did get to hang out with quite a few of Rohaizad's Singapore and Kuala Lumpurian friends. We also met with Matt and Sarah Sahr, friends of our from Baltimore (being called the Sahrs is pretty unfortunate in Singapore), and Todd, a friend of mine from when I was the assistant director of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC.

The whole Clark to Manila run was much better on the way back. We e-mailed our hotel and got a ride from them from Clark. Whew. But we still had to deal with Manila Airport. CHAOS!!! It was packed wall-to-wall with people. Within that sea of humanity, we had to find our way through security, check-in, departure tax and immigration. Wow.

On the flight back home, we ran into 9 other Pohnpei expats during the layover on Guam. We pulled tables together and caught up on our travels all over the globe. Between us, we had been to Myanmar, India, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

So I'm happy to be back. Even the sunshine seems mellow and friendly over here.