Choose Life

H1, H2, & Big Boy Life on the (L)edge

Begun in the aftermath of Katrina, this blog was a way to keep family and friends updated as the family struggled to return to a semblance of normalcy. Now, more than four years later, the memories are still strong, the family is, to some extent, scattered. However, life did go on, and this is our story.

June 9, 2007


Let’s see… where was I? Oh, yes. I was picking up the gauntlet thrown down by DLG.

The Philippine Islands – Or, as we always referred to them, “the PI”. I went to the PI twice, while stationed on the U.S.S. Enterprise (CVN-65) (“Beam me up, Scotty!!). What an amazingly beautiful place! Very similar to Hawaii, which makes sense, I guess, both being volcanic islands, both being tropical.

While the islands were, indeed, beautiful, Subic Bay was not, so much. It was my first real experience with squalor and absolute poverty. As one crossed over the short bridge between the navy base and Subic City, it was pretty obvious why the small body of water was called “Shit River”. The smell was horrible. Subic City, for most sailors was a long street lined on both sides with bars, bars, and more bars. But if you took a “jeepnie” (a taxi that was a “pimped out” old WWII jeep, no two the same) outside of the main area, there were some nice restaurants where you could enjoy some of the finest food anywhere, loompia (small eggrolls dipped in a delicious sauce), pansit (thin rice noodles), and adobo (a kind of stew-like mixture made with pork or beef). Another memory of the PI include “monkey meat” which I’m pretty sure was chicken cooked on a small hibachi grill on the street and sold on sticks.

Oddly enough, the PI is where I became a fan of Queen. We used to take our laundry from the ship and go on a winding road up a mountainside to the air station laundramat at Cubi Point. While the clothes were being washed, we would drink beer and listen to the juke box. Around this time (early 70s) there was a popular song that had a kind of polka beat to it that I wanted to hear. I didn’t know what the title was, so I scanned the titles on the juke box and came across one, Bohemian Rhapsody, that sounded like it might be it. We usually pumped in enough coins for a bunch of songs. Well, the song I wanted never seemed to come up, no matter how many times I selected Bohemian Rhapsody. Another song did seem to play frequently, and kind of grew on me. Imagine my surprise when I finally got smart and selected only one song, Bohemian Rhapsody, and lo and behold it was NOT the song I was expecting. Anyway, that led to seeking out more Queen songs and eventually becoming a big fan.

Hong Kong – We weren’t in Hong Kong very long, but long enough… The “Big E” was too large to get close to the city, so we had to take water taxis when we were on liberty. These were large, fairly luxurious power boats that sold sandwiches and beverages and were quite comfortable as they took us back and forth from the ship to the shore. A vivid memory I have of Hong Kong is the first time I stepped outside the harbor terminal onto the main street. The sidewalks were wide, and filled, from wall to curb, with people, yet I could see for blocks and blocks because the Asian people were short. Everywhere I turned was like a sea of black heads! Hong Kong is where I got my first two tattoos, the second of which is a story in itself.

Singapore – Technically, I didn’t get to set foot in Singapore. I had duty the two days we were there. So my memories of Singapore are pretty much looking at the cityscape from a distance, and also seeing mainland (Communist) China as we anchored out from the city.

That's it for part deaux! More to come.

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Blogger Patti said...

I had no idea you got tattoos in Hong Kong! See, I'm glad I "forced" you to tell your tales!

10:03 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

OMG Chia, you have more experiences and traveled to more countries than most entire families. What a lucky man you are (for many, many, many reasons!!). We miss ya, hurry and get better!

11:07 AM  
Blogger Deacon Dean said...

And, I forgot to mention, I never did find out the name of the song I was trying to hear!

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the Phillipino Hooker with a switchblade??????

12:17 AM  

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