|With Rolf, Thomas (Ambassador of Germany) . . . and the Fascination|
It is not everyday that a foreign dignitary visits Rancho Caridad. On June 6 (Friday), Rolf sends me an unusual text message stating that the Ambassador of Germany will be visiting the farm on Saturday and it would be ideal if I could be there to meet him. Indeed!
I left my condo in San Juan mid-Saturday morning riding my Vulcan and arrived at the farm before noon--thanks to the opening of the TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway) up to Rosales, Pangasinan (since Holy Week of 2014), which makes for a pleasant ride to Rancho Caridad. It so happens that Rolf was not far behind. He arrived as I was entering the gate of the residence. Not long afterwards, the Ambassador, Herr Thomas Ossowski, arrived as well. He was driving his own vehicle and overshot Nampicuan. He was nearly in Cuyapo when Rolf called to guide him back to Rancho Caridad.
Surprisingly, Thomas was NOT driving a German car. It was a Jeep Wrangler--made in the USA. Later in the afternoon, when I showed him my Kawasaki Vulcan, he mentioned that his Harley Davidson Sportster (also made in the USA) is arriving in Manila at any time. I teased the Ambassador that he is not a very good salesman for the highly coveted German cars and motorcycles, which are available to the Philippine luxury market. I had a good laugh when he commented (quite truthfully) that cars made in the USA are much less expensive than cars made in Germany. That said, I suspect all of the official vehicles of the German Embassy are made in Germany.
Of course, boys will be boys and we must play with our toys. Thomas is an avid recreational aviator and he was interested to fly the planes of Rolf--both the single-prop Fascination and the glider/sailplane. Rolf was able to take him up on both aircrafts; however, the were no thermals that afternoon resulting in a brief glider flight above Rancho Caridad.
We had a pleasant and relaxing afternoon of stories and conversation overlooking the airstrip while nibbling on Joyce's signature potato salad and homemade kimchi. Before dark, Thomas took his leave but not without an open invitation to return and fly at Rancho Caridad.