Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just one more day...


A couple nights ago all the cousins my age decided to go for a walk down this road out passed the rice fields and fish farms. The sun was just starting to set and the colors in the sky were ablaze with crazy purples and yellows at the horizon.



I haven't really had a lot of time to observe all the natural beauty that the Philippines has to offer because I have been to busy soaking in the humanity of it all, but watching this sunset was breathtaking. We sat on rocks around the water and we just talked about life and all the craziness that happens here and in the US. It was a fun evening bonding with my cousins and I really enjoyed it. Around 8 Enrique suggested we go out to the city and hit the clubs. Jordan HATES clubbing but I don't mind it so much, so I decided to go for it!

We got busted on the way out of the small village that night. We were pulling out of the gas station, and Enrique was still putting on his seat belt. We were flagged to pull over by a Policeman on the side of the road. Preparing for a true 3rd world experience I stashed my camera under the spare tire. I tried to look away so they didn't see I was white back there, but it didn't matter with the limo tint on all sides. Enrique and his girlfriend stood around and smoked with the officers while they were writing up the ticket, and then his girlfriend flashed her mom's business card, who works within the Philippine's equivalent of the Whitehouse. This improved our relationship with the cops, and reduced our ultimate payoff quantity. They ended up slipping him 200 pesos, or something like 4 dollars American, and we were free to go. I couldn't stop laughing at that. A couple hours later we were dancing to truly terrible pop and some very unique rap music. It was an all around fun evening out and I am really happy I was able to do something like that with my cousins whom I will very likely not see again for many years to come.

Yesterday I was starting to feel malnourished, and my threshold for exotic cuisine just got lower and lower. I'd eat some rice at each meal, but as hungry as I was, the sight, smell, or idea of more "main course" would ruin my appetite. I'd chew the garlic rice mechanically, just chewing and swallowing enough to be socially acceptable. So imagine my surprise when at the mall I saw that they had KFC... Unfortunately the chicken was disgusting, but edible. There was also a biscuit sized/shaped thing wrapped in biscuit paper but it was just too heavy to be a delicious biscuit. It was rice. In all of my travels all over the world I have noticed that if there is a KFC, they NEVER have biscuits unless that KFC happens to be in America! What the hell is up with that!?

Today the family had a medium come over to channel the spirits of family members past. My lola didn't want anything to do with it, so she stayed up in the bedroom while everyone was downstairs for the circus. It was crap, of course, but with so many suggestible Catholics around and pained sentiments of loss, the emotional effect of the spectacle was strong. The medium spoke in funny voices, imitated their great grandfather, but couldn't come up with the voice of my grandmother's brother. The medium just cried and cried, and said that in the night between 11 and 1 he would appear and do X number of creepy ghost things, like stroke their hair and so on.

Tonight the neighborhood was dark from a rolling brownout. So we lit a bunch of candles and heated some food. The big treat for me was that one of my aunts had made completely normal spaghetti with meat sauce! A few bites into it I looked closely, and there were tiny mosquitoes stuck all over the noodles! I realized that since they were just flying around at random instead of collecting near light fixtures it was only logical that they would end up in my spaghetti. I thought abstractly about how that would be off-putting to someone back in California, but I wasn't put off in the least. It was delicious. So sooooo delicious!

I am soo completely ready to go home and could not be happy that tomorrow is the day when my dreams will come true! I am sorry that I didn't like being here more I know that I am a terrible Filipino, but I am only 1/4 Filipino so I mean I should at least get points for speaking the language even though I am not so much a fan of the island itself... I am very glad that I came though because family is important to my grandmother and this gave her a chance to see all the people she'd left behind all those years ago. They were all just so open and giving! Even though nobody had much to give, they kept on sharing anyway, and it was a very humbling experience to be around people like this and be able to call them my family. Through all my complaining and misery I definitely got a sense of love and family through these strangers that I seldom experience with people I am related to and have known my entire life. BUT like I said, I am SOOOOOO ready to go home! I think I am getting a rash from all the bug spray I have been applying and I really need my tempur-pedic mattress and to never again have to share a bed with my cousin Jordan (he snores SO FUCKING LOUD!). Less that 24 hours to go!

6 comments:

R. said...

Being half-Flipino, and having been born in Manilla, I've been urged to go back to the Philippines numerous times. Much like yourself, I don't really embrace my culture. At all.

My apathy toward returning home has turned into sheer HORROR after reading your last three entries O_O

It always sounded nicer when my mom talked about it...

Anyways, I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother's brother. At least the trip was a good bonding experience for you. That's something. Good for you for going back. That's a lot of sacrifice for the sake of family. I don't think I could do that.

Anonymous said...

No biscuits at international KFC's!? I am sorry but that's a deal breaker. I am never leaving the country now.

Trevor said...

YOU FUCKING ATE BUGS DUDE!! LIKE HONEST TO GO REAL LIFE BUGS! THAT'S DISGUSTING! I wasn't even able to process anything else that was said here. YOU ATE MOSQUITOES! AHH! EWWWWWWWWW!!!

david said...

mmm protein :)

Dean said...

You went clubbing, bribed a cop, and communed with the dead all in one vacation. That's really amazing, and bugs in your spaghetti be damned that was one amazing trip!

Jason said...

I am with Trever. You ate bugs voluntarily, and you thought they were tasty. That's 12 kinds of wrong I don't even know how I could ever possibly wrap my head around that. I don't know what the Phillipines is doing to you, but I am sure glad that you are coming home before any permanent damage can be done.