Sunday, November 3, 2013

Vacation Report: Anaheim, CA & Hillsboro, OR

Greetings from Oregon!

I've been on vacation here visiting family for the past 3 weeks and I've had a great time going sight-seeing and shopping nearly every day.

I was also in LA to take my family to Disneyland. It never gets old even if I've been there 5 times already. The Halloween theme was pretty nice. "Its our kingdom now" Captain Hook merrily proclaimed. There were more than the usual number of zombie kids and parents on the happiest place on Earth.

We then traveled north to go trick or treating in Oregon. The kids over here were more into minion bananas and Rapunzel costumes.

 picking out our pumpkin

 a break from urban living

I haven't been to the States since '97, and a lot has changed. Bigger population, GPS everywhere, more channels on the TV, and  fancy new shopping areas to name a few. I used to live in Vancouver, Canada for a few years but I was within striking distance of my family. I also made various road trips to California and Arizona, so I've been around.

The Little Differences
I was really happy to stock up on survival gear from various sources such as REI and Cabela's, the latter being my own personal Disneyland!

1. Gun Stuff: Warranties and Replacements
Just so my American readers know, firearm and firearm-related accessories cost 3x as much when they are sold in my country. I can bring stuff home from Cabela's, but its a very long and difficult process that I'm not willing to go through at this time.

Good thing we have as many fantastic gunsmiths as you guys do because we do not have immediate access to return-policies and warranties.

If something breaks, it will take weeks before Kel-Tec sends me a replacement. For other brands like Para-Ordnance or Kimber, the wait has been known to take nearly a year. Never mind that, the legendary Metrillo Gun Corporation will fabricate anything for me in no time at all.
2. Survival necessities for the Philippines are very different compared with the West Coast and most of the USA.

The United States is gigantic land mass and has diverse environmental conditions. The Philippines on the other hand is made up of 7,100+ islands, all of these are in the tropical zone. We have a few cities in high altitude, but most of my countrymen live in either very dense urban centers that are a several million in population size, or in agricultural zones in the form or farmland or by the sea.

We are also visited by typhoons about 22 times per year on average. Half of those are direct hits. This
means we'll be fighting the undead hordes knee-deep in floodwater more often than not.

This affected my shopping list. I was focusing primarily on water-filtration gear. We'll never go thirsty in a long-term crisis, but keeping the water clean will become a challenge. Finding food will not be as hard because the open spaces between our homes are teeming with naturally-occurring edibles which are very nutritious.

Its just the darn weather hazards and our incredibly populous city centers which will be the greatest survival challenges.

3. Home Construction Materials and Layout

In the Philippines, most houses in the suburbs are built out of concrete and have a perimeter fence made of stone. Our Oregon home and nearly all our neighbors have theirs constructed out of wood/drywall and do not have perimeter walls or fences. Two cats and small dog from next door frequent my kitchen windowsill to ask for treats. The photo with a lot of trees is our neighborhood in Hillsboro.

a neighbor's house in Manila for reference

The photo above is something more familiar to me. Walls in the suburbs are the norm, and concrete is the abundant construction material. Termites and typhoon gusts are the things we usually brace for.

In a defensive scenario, the stone perimeter wall will serve me quite nicely because it limits the entry points to my front door. My home's walls are about 5 feet tall and it will help me a lot against the undead since their line of sight from the street level will be obstructed. More on that in my Home Defense section.

3. Weather & Gear
We never have snow and there aren't any deserts. Nobody dies in the Philippines from hypothermia or dehydration. What will mess us up are the typhoons, floodwater, and water-borne diseases.

Tropical issues like rust, mosquitoes, Dengue, Malaria, Leptosirosis, Diarrhea, rabies, drowning, garbage, trenchfoot, and other wet-weather stuff are some of the things that affects my choices. It will also affect how we will be fighting the undead and the tools I'll be needing to succeed.


I'll be boarding the plane tomorrow at 1PM and I can't wait to come back next April. I met a lot of nice folks and made many new friends over here. My whole family will miss our stay, three weeks sure went by pretty fast!

I'll be testing out my new gear and will prepare my usual product reviews.

Stay vigilant!

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