Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy New Year

I spent Christmas on a beach on a small island near the large island of Palawan, which separates the Sulu Sea from the South China Sea, and was windsurfing on the 26th in the hours immediately following the tsunami. We didn't learn about the wave until we arrived back in Manila on the 27th. Reaching our resort required a four engine propeller plane to get us to an unpaved landing strip in a clearing in the jungle, and a ten minute jeepney ride from there to the Verde River which is called that because it's green. Then a hike along the river to the launch which took us across the river to the outrigger or "bance" for an hour long ride down to the rivermouth and across the bay to the resort. The distance from the beach to a sheer limestone cliff was only about sixty feet, so all of the units were on stilts and built out over the water above the reef. A twenty or thirty foot wave where we were would have left noone alive to tell the tale. Several years ago the Abu Sayaf kidnapped guests from another resort in Palawan and it took nearly a year to rescue the victims, some of whom were killed in the battle with the kidnappers, so security was a bigger concern for us than tidal waves. A 24/7 squad of soldiers wearing combat fatigues and carrying M-16s was assigned to guard the resort, but they were very low profile. We really only saw them when we took boat trips to or from the resort. I think we were the only Americans there as the owner and most of the guests were Japanese.

I haven't yet figured out how to set up a blogroll, but when I do I'm sure I'll list the absent.canadian
who often writes posts concerning the American Civil War. I mention him now because of a link I found on his page for a site called Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. It's a network of online genealogy enthusiasts who volunteer to do lookups on request in the not yet virtual places where they happen to live. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure I will.

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