As most of my readers know, I have just returned from a 3-week vacation in the Philippines. The trip happened to be less of a vacation and more of a journey. I feel like a large portion of the trip was spent in transit, but had countless wonderful experiences during each method of travel.

In the spirit of David Foster Wallace, I give you a summation of my trip.

I have used a banana leaf as an umbrella. I have consumed coconut wine at 8 in the morning. I have been for a ride on a tricycle (a sort of dirt bike with an attached sidecar). I have risen to the call of a rooster (which speaks Tagalog in the Philippines). I have come within snorting distance of a caribou. I have paid the equivalent of 3.5 cents to use a public toilet, which did not include toilet paper. I have showered in my clothes in the rain simply because it was the most convenient option. I have been utterly disgusted by the endless dirt under my fingernails, but eaten with my hands anyway. I have had juice and pulp from both young green and mature orange coconuts and decided that I prefer the green. I have learned the word for ‘good’ in at least 5 new languages. I have chased chickens out of my bed and witnessed a bonafide cock fight. I have worn the same underwear without washing 3 days in a row. I have run 5 miles in the land of a thousand smiles. I have woven pouches for steaming rice from the leaves of a coconut tree. I have seen larger cockroaches than exist in Florida. I have spent 59 out of 74 hours in some sort of vehicle, including a plane, a ferry, a taxi, and a jeep. I have seen a double rainbow after a hard mountain rain. I have seen cd-roms used as washers. I have concealed a collection of plastic bags and water bottles with the fear that someone else would come by and appropriate them for their own use. I have watched my rather unsightly ankle sock tan evolve into a sexy flip-flop tan. I have accidentally asked my mother whether she would like ‘a penis’ (when trying to be particularly clever and referring to my Tagolog-English dictionary) instead of ‘fish bones’, to which a large fit of laughter was followed by anyone within earshot. I have seen more uses for bamboo than I ever thought possible. I have climbed to the craters of two volcanoes, one of which is still active. I have jogged 172 steps up a hillside to a statue of the Virgin Mary where one is expected to leave a donation and make a confession, left a donation, did not make a confession, and returned feeling a little breathless and dizzy (which I will equate with feeling spiritual).

Photos are soon to follow.