Thursday, February 14, 2008

Saint Valentine's Day

"Valentines Day" is widely celebrated here in the Magic Kingdom, just so long as you omit the "St" from the beginning, of course. This seems very odd to me, considering this is a country where one cannot import a plastic pine tree or spruce because of its connection to a certain Christian festival, but (Saint) Valentine's Day is completely accepted and commercially exploited, as is Hallowe'en (All Hallow's Eve as it is properly called, another date from the Christian calendar). Perhaps, if I'm feeling brave I'll see how blatant I can be about Easter.....

St Valentines day for the Gnomads actually runs for 31 hours. After all why limit a good thing? Here's the reasoning:

St Valentine's day in the Philippines starts at one nanosecond past midnight on the morning of the 14th of February. That's 7pm on the 13th of February here in the Magic Kingdom. But since the Gnomadette is a Filipina, we should start on time as far as the Filipino day goes. St Valentine's day in the UK finishes at exactly midnight in the evening of the 14th February which equates to 2 am on the 15th for the Magic Kingdom. the Gnomad (being British) also shouldn't be diddled out of any of his St Valentines Day either. So, for the Gnomads, Valentines day runs from 7pm on the 13th February to 2am on the following 15th.

So start early we did; A romantic candle lit dinner for two at 7pm in a rather posh (or "sossy" as the Filipinas would have it) restaurant called The Blue Strawberry. There aren't very many of these to choose from here in the Magic Kingdom and the Blue Strawbwerry has the enormous advantage that, since its on a private all-western compound, the abaya is not required. Very Nouvelle Cuisine, splendidly presented and (unusually for Nouvelle Cuisine) in portions appropriate for the not-insubstantial Gnomad appetite. The ambience was very civilised, the service efficient but unfussy and the food excellently prepared. The only thing that was a little odd was the live music. A single vocalist accompanying himself on guitar, singing a selection of Eagles and Grateful Dead was not exactly in the Romantic Mood, but even so the music was pleasant and unobtrusive.

Then a pleasant day of spoiling each other including exchanging gifts, a bit of shopping and some quality time together, followed by dinner at Pizza Hut.

Now I know Pizza Hut is not exactly regarded as the venue of choice for aspiring Romeo's but it is a favourite of the Gnomads and since we're spoiling each other today, why not? The one thing the Gnomads will miss about the Magic Kingdom is the Pizza Hut salad bar, it is very extensive here and has tuna and crab and all sorts of yummy things that you don't seem to get elsewhere.

There is a certain method in this madness. The Blue Strawberry is booked up months in advance for events like St Valentines Day, Mothers Day, etc and if you can get a table it's very crowded on those days. Pizza Hut is not. We still get our sossy dinner there on our extended St Valentines day, and then get to go out to dinner again at the rather less sossy 'Hut, which is of course not at all packed because all the westerners are going somewhere much more posh.

The Gnomadette received the mandatory card and cute little fluffy toy, of course, but also an Egyptian Gold bracelet and a rather fine and stylish sweater (Gnomadette's choice in this case, Gnomad's wallet just paid for it). The Gnomad also received a card and the usual "soppies" but can you guess what else?

Two new RAM chips for the Gnomad's computer! The computer is now running 2GB RAM instead of the paltry 512 chipset it had before. Not so shabby huh? "How is that appropriate for St Valentine's Day?" I hear you ask, well here's the Gnomadette's reasoning: The CPU is the brain of the computer, so the RAM is the heart. Hearts of one sort or another are a traditonal St Valentines day motif, so a better heart for the computer is entirely appropriate. The Gnomad can see no valid argument against that logic :)

Here's hoping that the day has been as good for you, dear reader, as it has for the Gnomads