6/2/2005 - SCUBA Diving  

  The highlight of our week was probably the same as yours: STAR WARS!!!Well, maybe not. But we did go to see Star Wars again, since it willbe out of the theater and on to the black market in a matter of weeks.(We were in the mall yesterday, and were approached dozens of times bypeople trying to sell us unreleased DVD's. When we told them no, theywould scurry away and melt back into the crowd.)

This week we finally made it to the beach!!! We met Tennyson and Anneat Church on Sunday, and they invited us to go to Anilao for theweekend. Axa swam in the ocean for the first time, and enjoyed it.Tennyson is a divemaster, so he took us scuba diving. It was amazing.The water was a comfy 86 degrees, and we dove in our swimsuits. Wedescended slowly into an underwater paradise, floating like hugeungainly flightless birds. Above us, the warm tropical surface slowlyreceded, and below we could see a busy fish city, teeming with activeresidents. When we reached the reef we were introduced to moorishidols, various gobies, angelfish, and butterflyfish. A ribbon-likepipefish danced along, and a baby barracuda cruised past us. Poisonouslionfish sulked in darker corners, and some of the bumps on the bottomwere deadly stonefish. Lurking in the darker corners were moray eels,gaping in mock attack. A group of garden eels swayed halfway out ofthe ocean floor, waiting for unsuspecting prey, and sank down intotheir holes as we passed. We even saw a Lapu Lapu, the fish thatkilled Magellan, which we had dined upon the night before at arestaurant called Kamayan. Tennyson shined his flashlight into acrevice and startled an octopus, who squished in deeper and thenreluctantly jetted away when he prodded it. We liked it so much thatwe went on a combined total of seven dives in two days. Tony set offon a shark-hunt (He's making a shark sign in the picture. That will be the next sign we teach Axa after milk). He battled a current, sank toa depth of 125 feet, and met with some of the larger denizons of thedeep, including blue spotted stingrays, barracuda (this timefull-grown) and a large school of tuna. No sharks yet, but he remainshopeful.

On a more prosaic note, Tony's study is going well. On Tuesday we wentto an entrepreneur night at a local restaurant. For purchase of theFilipino edition of Entrepreneur magazine, we got dinner and thechance to mingle with entrepreneurs in Manila. As we arrived (late,because we took the light rail transport system and then walked a longway), they were announcing the end of the open-mike portion, wherepeople could promote their businesses. Tony jumped up on the stage andannounced the study, and all night he was assailed by interestedparties. He did one interview on the spot and set up some more. He hasalready interviewed export-manufacturers of clothing, bedsheets,bicycles, decorativefountains, and more, and is beginning to put together someconclusions. His business card collection is growing steadily.

While at the resort in Anilao, we had massages (again) and enjoyed thedelicious buffet meals. We stayed in a quaint little cottage a fewyards from the ocean. The second night we were there, we had a realtropical storm. We left the doors and window of our cottage wide openand watched a dramatic light show over the water as the thundercrashed overhead. Axa slept right through it all. Luckily, she is notafraid of thunder and lightning.

We do fear that Axa will experience some culture shock when shereturns to the U.S. She is quite the little celebrity here. Wherevershe goes, a crowd of people with no interest whatever in her parentsgather around cooing and talking to her, and taking pictures with theubiquitous camera phones. The other day we arrived at the mall in ataxi. The security guard (malls here have security guards at everyentrance. They probably don't keep out anything but street kids, butthey do have an impressive assortment of guns and other accessories)opened the door for me. I said thank you, and he said, "Hi, baby."We've gotten used to everyone addressing our baby instead of us, andspeaking to us only to ask questions about the baby. She also recievesvarious gifts. Tony was interviewing a textiles company last week andthey were so charmed with her that they gave her two cute dresses.Yesterday we were at a mall shopping for souvenirs and a nice Muslimlady gave her a little coral bracelet to ward off the evil eye.

Axa has been adding new skills to her repertoire. Whenever a strangerlooks at her, she puts her hands together and smiles a most adorablesmile. She rolls over when she wants, and she can get up on her handsand look around. She's also already walking (see the picture if youdon't believe it!) When she wakes up in the morning, she talks andsmiles and makes all sorts of cute noises. She's very snuggly, andsends her love to all her admirers in the United States.

With love,
Sarah, Tony, and Axa


massages during a thunderstorm at Anilao

Cooking with the BYU interns (from left): Sachika, Jolene, Sarah, Margy, Jardan, Levi, and Tita Claire.

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