Friday, February 17, 2006

Chillin' is South India and the Philippines

Hello everyone,

As the engineers were finishing up their work in the studio, the guys arranged a vacation for me in South india, in the state of Kerala. Kerala has beautiful beaches, coconut trees, mountains, tea plantations, and is a blend of Catholic and Hindu religions with about 15% Muslims also. Everyone respects everyone's religions and they get along fine, as they have for hundreds of years. You may be surprised to find out that Christianity has been in India since AD 52, when St Thomas Aquinas brought the gospel to Kerala after Jesus's crucifixion. That's before the Catholic Church, before Constantine, before Christianity existed in Italy or anywhere in Europe, and 1500 years before it came to America. Outside the Middle East, India has the oldest tradition of Chritianity. Bet you didn't know that.

Kerala also has government regulated coconut wine, which is the same drink called palmwine in West Africa. Coconut wine is super fresh (made DAILY), very smooth and about 8% alcoholic content. I think its the best alcoholic beverage I have ever had. Wow, I could get used that stuff in a hurry.

I buddied up with my hired driver in Kerala, and he showed me around for a week, including tea plantations in the mountains, the beaches, the local restaurants, and a special trip to meet his family in their village one day for lunch. Very nice.

Then after swooping back through Delhi for a final night, I came to the Philippines for just some pure vacation time. I have been relaxing and enjoying the local people of a small town called San Quintin in the province of Pangasinan. We have been swimming in the South China Sea, to a beautiful hot springs nearby and I went to a beauty pageant/dance where I helped a local 14-years old Filipina high-school student win a first level beauty pageant contest by putting up some sponsor money for the community. And we played a gambling game where you toss ping pong balls into a funnel which dumps them onto a numbered board and you call out the numbers. I broke even on that.

So now I'm here until I leave for the States on march 1st See you then.