August 20th, 2006

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Spent the day on Corregidor yesterday. Fascinating day out, seeing the ruins of the American base on there. Also helped we had a very good tour guide too. From the sounds of it, Corregidor was a very comfortable posting. I knew from background reading that it was a big US base but it was quite another to see the ruins of the likes of the Topside Barracks (nearly a mile long, housing around 8,000 people). The Topside parade ground was a bit of an eye-opener too - US paras dropped on to it when they recaptured Corregidor in 1945. OK, I've only done 7 parachute jumps but the thought of trying to land in that rather small area was distinctly unappealling, especially with Japanese troops shooting at me...

The Melati Tunnel was also fascinating. The US defenders used it as a HQ and hospital - thousands of men crammed down there, as did the Japanese in 1945. However, it seems that rather than surrender, most of the Japanese troops chose to make suicide charges out the tunnel or huddle round grenades to kill themselves.

One interesting observation - the Japanese tourists had their own bus and guide which was also different in content to the English speaking one (I guess their tour doesn't mention things like the Bataan Death March quite as much as ours did...). All that is understandable enough but our guide also mentioned a few interesting things like older Koreans speak Japanese because of the period they were under Japanese rule. Despite that, it seems they'd rather take the English tour than travel with Japanese!

All in all, a great day out. If I had more time, I'd definitely go back for the overnight trip which also includes hikes and trips to see Japanese dug-out caves.

Scary thing spotted on way to catch the ferry to Corregidor - passed through what was clearly a girlie bar area (lots of places advertising GROs - Guest Relations Officers ;-)) including hotels advertising 5-hour stay "taxi-rooms". Eeewwww....
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Wow. Funny how things change. Now I'm the evil bastard people are trying to convince to let them fly home a day early at the end of a project. Heh. I'd like to go home early too. Like in time for the weekend so I can go to the muster at Detling...

Also stopped by the tailor and had an interim fitting for the BSG uniform. Seems to be shaping up nicely. Trousers are done, jacket still needs piping fitted. Looking forward to coming back to it on Tuesday evening!