March 30, 2014

Corregidor Island

We got out of Manila for a day trip to Corregidor Island.  It's an important island at the entrance of Manila Bay - it was fought over during World War II.  When General MacArthur said "I shall return", he was referring to Corregidor Island.

There's a ferry ride from Manila that lasts a bit over an hour and takes you to the island. There are trams and tour guides that show you the various sites.  Many of the buildings and barracks are falling down.

Some people were a little upset at having to get up early on a Saturday to make the ferry.

There are huge craters where bombs landed.

The barrels of the guns are quite large.

The views from the island are beautiful.

There's a peace monument.

These guns ended up down the road when a bomb hit - the blast sent them quite far!

There is a tremendous amount of pollution in Manila Bay - and much of it washes up on the shore.  It's just awful!

This is where General MacArthur left the island.

This statue of the Filipino woman is in an area with two famous male historical figures.

More beautiful views.

This tunnel goes deep in to the mountain.  It's set up to be a shelter for people during attack. There are tunnels branching off the main tunnel - to a hospital wing, supply areas, sleeping areas, command centers.  It's quite impressive.

Arrival in Manila

After a lot of travel, we finally arrived in Manila - almost 3 months after we left Recife.

It was great to be met at the airport by our sponsor and the Embassy team.  They helped us get through immigration, and then get us and all our bags to our new place.

We'll be here for a bit until a place closer to the kids school opens up.

It's a great space - and the furniture is just like what we left in Brazil!

We have a nice view.

And the playground has great stuff.

We've gotten back to our regular stuff - throwing the Howler

and just having fun!

And we've hung our good luck special plant!

Rest Stop Guam!

It took us the better part of a week to go from California to Manila.  First we left the place we were staying in California to be close to the airport for our morning flight.

We flew from San Francisco to Honolulu and then Honolulu to Guam - crossing the International Date Line.  Because the flights are so long, we got to stay the night in Guam for a rest stop.

It was nice to be in the warmth again and Guam was a great place to rest along the way.

The beach was beautiful.

We road / paddled on a big tricycle.

And our hotel had a great pool with water slides.  It was great to relax a bit before getting on yet another flight.

Home Leave - Berkeley Style

One of the requirements in Foreign Service life is Home Leave.  After every overseas tour, you must spend time in the United States - soaking up that American culture.  It's a great perk of the job - it gives us a chance to reconnect with family and friends - as well as what it means to be an American.

We spent our Home Leave in California - our home.  We did our road trip, and then we spent a few weeks in our hometown of Berkeley.

It's nice to get reminded first hand why we love it.

I got to have my morning run on Sproul Plaza on the UC campus.

And I love how Berkeley paints up it's trash cans.

And the local cannabis club.

We visited the Campanile on campus and saw some beautiful views.

We went to our local coffee house and got a nice reminder of Brazil!

Of course we went in to San Francisco and visited Fisherman's Wharf!

There are some great World War II ships there - we checked out the Jeremiah O'Brien. 

And the cool war posters!

O. really like the engine room.

And met one of the volunteer engineers who keep it all ship-shape!  He showed us how to light the boiler!

Of course - you must visit Ghiradelli Square for some hot fudge!

We went on hikes in the redwoods and saw more signs of spring! 

Breeding ladybugs!

And spent time with good friends.

It's always so wonderful to reconnect - and with good friends you just pick right up!

And of course there were wonderful family visits.

Golden Gate park - one of the best playgrounds around!

Bowling at the Albany Bowl.

The best tacos at La Taqueria.

The Berkeley Bowl has an entire aisle for chocolate!

More beautiful beaches - this time Carmel!

Monterey Aquarium is the best!