One of the great things about teaching in China is that it is easy and relatively cheap to get to Southeast Asia, which is what I decided to do for Chinese New Year. I would have liked to celebrate it, but at the same time, it is more about returning home and even more about listening to firecrackers go off 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, I ventured off to the Philippines and Thailand.
Although I knew very little about the Philippines, I am so so glad I went. It was maybe one of the greatest weeks of my life. After arriving in Clark Manila airport at 1 am, I somehow stayed awake enough to be picked up in Dau (pronounced Da-oo) to head immediately to a Mt. Pinatubo, a volcano that erupted in 1991 and now has a giant crater lake, similar to the one in Oregon, and certainly just as blue. We got there by jeep, which was crazy. It seemed sometimes like I was in Jurassic Park, sometimes like I was in Indiana Jones and other times, it seemed like I was crossing a moonscape. Here are some pictures from the excursion: