Mrs. MM and I have just returned to our hotel room from the eyeball in Vancouver. We were/still are simply overwhelmed and still smiling about the wonderful afternoon and dinner that followed! Filipinos own that particular unrivaled brand of heartfelt hospitality for visiting guests/kababayans that should be patented — it’s just done so effortlessly and genuinely that it deserves a trademark. Tonight we met what felt like several long time friends for the first time… :)
…as with all the previous eyeballs in the Philippines, the sense of instant community, of shared interests, of friends brought together by food, was immediate and a great jumping off point to several hours of animated conversation over a superb meal. A group of 5 “greeting party” folks led by Bettyq picked us up from hotel for some pre-dinner sightseeing and touring, then several more folks met up with us at a restaurant and some 14 folks in all from Vancouver joined Mrs. MM and I for the first eyeball abroad… Despite the relatively short notice, mid-week date, and several conflicts from folks who would have wanted to attend, I was shocked to see such a large group of readers coming together. Folks took days or an afternoon off from work, drove from the U.S.(!), from the suburbs, etc. to come…
…but this is just a teaser. Mrs. MM and I have to get up in a few hours to catch an early morning train to Seattle to catch a plane back home so I will have to write a much more detailed post on the eyeball in the days ahead. We still have to pack our suitcases, and now have to find room for all of this wonderful “loot” that was so unexpectedly and generously given to us this evening. From hand collected, dehydrated and packed wild mushrooms, ice wine, pure vanilla extract, lobster oil, a beautiful print by a professional photographer, aged cheddar cheese to a special wine. Bettyq’s candied salmon and incredible chocolate cake… It’s like Christmas in September! Amazing. All we can say is that we are truly overwhelmed and grateful for the hospitality extended to us by the folks in Vancouver. Maraming, maraming salamat BettyQ for organizing this event and for taking care of logistics, the wonderful meal, and everything else!!! We had a wonderful time. And as I said repeatedly this evening, Vancouver has the distinction of hosting the first ever international MM eyeball, and it’s a distinction that will always be special for us. Thank you to you all. Stay tuned for more in a few days time once we have returned home!