Once a year we need to get new stickers on the license plate, renewal of registration. Now that can't be so difficult i guess.
We went to LTO (Land Transportation Office) to make that renewal. A soon as we got close to LTO a lot of people are waving and shouting to get our attention, they want to do the paperwork for us. Ok, we found a agent to make it easy and smooth – HA… First we had to wait to get a emission test, wow – look around and see specially tricycles and jeepneys extreme pollution. If they ever pass a emission test i didn't' have to worry at all. I got wiser: The emission test was only to measure our outlet of CO2 and other stuff, that will be reported till LTO, and our tax will be calculated according to how much we pollute. Those jeepneys and tricycles must pay a big amount in tax – - – - or more like, should pay.
Next stop was across the street, where 3-5 people should register the serial number on the engine, it is not that easy accessible, but with a stick, a pencil and a piece of duct tape on the stick, they somehow managed to get the number "printed" on the duct tape. Finished ? Ohhh no, we had to drive the agent to a bank to make the payment. Next to a police station so they could check the engine no. too – same method: Tape, stick, duct tape.
Off to another office to get the insurance covered, no problem. Finished somehow, no no, we should wait some days for the process to be finished.
At the same time we also need to get transferred the title (ownership) since the guy we bought the car from, didn't do it – as he should. For that they need even more documents and papers, ID from previous owner and signatures. Contact previous owner (not easy) get him to send the needed papers/documentation. They got what they needed after some days and should be ready in some more days. 2 weeks passed by and we guessed it was all ready by now.. No way – now they suddenly need a "local ID" from Belen and since she still have Danish citizenship, she don't have a "local ID". So we had to go to our local Barangay captain to get that ID. As usual – not that smooth, the captain wasn't present and no one knew when he would be present.
Next day of to the Barangay office again, now they could go on with the ID, or not. "Ma'am – we need pictures". No problem, i have all that is needed for that. Pictures ready – back to the office, "Sorry Ma'am, we can't make the id, we do not have more lamination – the ID needs to be laminated. A weekend passed by and back to the office again: Sorry, we still haven't got it.
Ok, we could at least go to LTO and get the stickers for the new registration. Off we go, this should be a piece of cake. Ha ha ha – it wasn't: "Sorry Ma'am (Ma'am isn't me – it's Belen) we don't have any more stickers, try in April.
If i put together all the time used for this renewal, i guess it would be something like 2-3 full work hour days, and it isn't finished yet. We still have the old stickers on our license plates. At least i have a piece of paper to show that the renewal is in progress, in case someone like to stop us.
No wonder so many try to cheat with renewal of registration, it takes a hell of a time to do it, it involve a lot of people and of course money.
Latest news: A new problem occurred, the papers didn't match. One paper says it's a SUV the other says it's a car. Wow…wow…. LTO in Subic have made en error and the only place it can be corrected is in – Subic. So one more time to LTO in Angeles, one more time to the people that handle the case and one more tie pay those people to go to Subic and get it corrected. Some people some where are really incompetent, but no matter that – we're the one to pay for their mistakes.
This would be fine if Philippines in general was considered as a country, where all details and rules are followed, but honestly it isn't. I feel somehow frustrated by this, Stupid faults that never should have occurred, the ones that make the fault don't care. We are the ones to pay and waste a lot of time. Not fair, but here there's no place to go with complaints.
One more practice of patience!
No matter what: I love living in Philippines.
We have a great tradition for having Christmas lunch in Denmark, usually there is a Christmas lunch at the company we work for, but we do also make it with friends and family. Some of them before Christmas evening, and some the days after – 25.-26- December.
A traditional Danish Christmas lunch is served with dark bread, made of Rye flour, a kind of bread we normally eat for lunch – in other places called “open sandwich”.
We put all the things on the table, then people make their own bread and put the things on they like. The pictures are of “finished” examples.
We normally start the lunch in the late afternoon.
We start with fish – raw, marinated Herrings in different tastes, some with curry, some marinated in Vinegar, with raw onions and other good stuff.
What do we drink to this? It is a tradition with Beer and “Snaps”. Snaps is a strong alcohol, distilled from potatoes or/and different corn sorts. After the distilling we can add some flavor from different herbs, and let it stay for some time. It can be from a few weeks to months – years. Very tasty and very strong. Typical we drink it together with a strong beer, called “Christmas brew”. I think you can imagine the party gets really funny after some bites.
After the Herring we eat bread with many different kind og things on it: Roasted pork, Liver Patés, filets of fish, salmon and flat fish, Boiled Eg, Shrimps, meat balls, different kind af baloney. All this nice and tasty decorated with all kind of vegetables and herbs. We finish the lunch with a lot of different cheese.
A lot of the food we use is bought finished, the Herrings are bought marinated and finished and the Paté is also typically bought finished. And now i get to the point:
We (we = me) have decided to arrange a Christmas Dinner here in Carmenville, but then a big challenge appear, none - absolutely none of the things we normally eat can be found here. Dark bread – no, Rye flour – no, Marinated Herrings – no, Liver paté – no. Now my task will be to do it all myself, from scratch. Bake dark bread ( i was smart to bring som Rye flour from Denmark), try to make a liver Paté for the first time, marinate Herrings a month ahead of the lunch, roast pork, make meat balls and all the accessories like red cabbage and a speciality called “remoulade”. It will be a big job, but ok, i have the time i need, just have to find things that can replace what i normally would use. An appendix to Herrings: It is not possible to get Herrings in the size i need, here in the country with al kind of fish. Herrings yes, but they are very, very small and not suitable for marinating as i would do it. Now i need to find some kind of substitute for this. Darned – not easy to make Danish stuff here
We also brought a bottle of “Snaps” from Denmark (thank you Allan – my friend) so no matter how the food will be – it will be fun. When drinking snaps we drink it from a small glass and it is a tradition to empty it in one “shot” – bottom up…And then Beer – strong beer…
When the lunch is over i am sure you can guess the party goes on – beers – drinks - cocktails. And as a special thing there will be no kids under 18. Normally there’s a lot of kids, when there is a party, but this time i have decided that it must only be adults. No kids allowed. I guess it will be a change for many, but i have taken this decision because i want the focus to be on the party, the food and the drinks and not on a lot of kids running around. Don’t misunderstand – i do love kids, but at some occasions it is better without – for all parts. I hope people can understand and accept this.
I look forward to try to make it all and to see family try what a “Almost Danish Christmas lunch” is like. The hardest for the most will be that – - – there’s NO rice at all…
I was warned: Christmas starts very early here in Philippines, but i am still some kind of surprised! I mean, we are in early October and for me, Christmas is far away.
When we go to a Mall for shopping they have started selling Christmas decorations every where, blinking lights, plastic spruce, Santa Claus in snow, plastic balls for the plastic spruce tree… When we talk decoration here it is BLING…a lot of it.
Some shops has already set up Christmas decoration. I do think i also hear someone saying: Merry Christmas, could that be true?
Music comes out of the stores: Jingle Bells, Silent night and all traditional Christmas carols – wow. Do i come in Christmas mood? Honestly, no, this is far to early for me. Christmas is all over already, i just have to get used to it.
So to the compare part: In Denmark Christmas preparations starts around 1. december. At that time you start to hear Christmas songs in the radio, the shops start to sell decoration and the shops are getting their windows and interior set up with all kind of Christmas stuff.
In the main streets in almost all city’s the decoration is hanging over the streets and bring some more light in a dark time. Remember at that time of the year, it is getting dark already around 3-4pm in the northern Europe. So it is nice when the street are light up with decorations.
The Spruce used is mostly not plastic, but i guess the climate in Denmark is more suitable for fresh Spruce. When people buy a Christmas tree some days before Christmas evening, it is also natural spruce tree.
Normally i associate Christmas with winter, snow, ice, minus degrees and late light, early dark. This year i will celebrate Christmas here in Philippines, hot as summer day ( or more) in Denmark, no snow and no ice to skate on. Yes…yes…yes… at last i get a great Christmas/Winter. I am so tired of the winter in Denmark, as said: The sun (if we see it) get up around 7-8am and go down around 3-4pm. It is not that much sunshine we have in the wintertime, even it happens. I don’t like to much darkness, to little sun, cold, freezing, snow that makes it hard to get around.
The nice thing about that period is that we use a lot of time in our homes and make it cozy with candle light, good dinners, warm and comfy inside our house. Looking out at the cold, dark weather and thinking: Great we can stay here inside.
In Denmark we celebrate Christmas evening the 24. december in the evening. We gather with family and friends and eat a good dinner, traditionally it is Roasted Pork, Duck or Turkey - usually a lot – have some good wine and a good time together. After dinner it is time for going around the decorated Christmas tree and singing Christmas carols and when that is over it is time for giving presents. Children have a hard time eating, coz they look forward to their presents, eating is waste of time.
The 25. and 26. are usualy spent with great Christmas lunch with more friends and family, often that will end up being a good party with good food, beer, wine, drinks, sing and dance.
Most people in Denmark are Christian Protestants, but a majority do not attend church very often. At least Christmas evening, before dinner, many people do go to church as a tradition more than a belive. Religion is not a major factor in Denmark, religion is there and many belive coz they are raised that way, but they do not think at religion in the daily life or attend church at a regular basis.
Should i end this up with a Merry Christmas ?? Nooo…i will do that in the right time – when it IS Christmas
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