Tuesday, May 31, 2011

first trip out of the country: a weekend of no smoking, crossing boundaries and changing time zones

Day 1
It is embarrassing that the airport that hosts most of the international departures and arrivals here in Manila is also one of the ugliest airports all over the world. We probably had at least three brownouts before even leaving the country. it was pretty boring, not being able to go out and smoke. It starts, the countdown. A lot of people have been advising me to slip in a few cigarettes, since we will just make a quick stop to Singapore before reaching Thailand but I didn’t want to risk it.

When we get to Singapore, I noticed that everyone was going the wrong way, meaning taking the left side as their right of way. It was confusing at first, bumping into people but I got used to it. I think we only spent about an hour and a half there, just taking quick pictures of the Merlion and the other buildings before preparing for our next flight.

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Upon landing in Phuket, we set out our tours for the next two days so that we wouldn’t waste the time out here. While they were haggling with the man, I helped myself to getting a pack of cigarettes. It’s funny how it says that the pack was made in Batangas but it doesn’t taste anything like the cigarettes here in Manila. I lasted fourteen hours before I got to my first cigarette out here.

There were so many motorcycles in Phuket. More motorcycles than there are actual cars and other vehicles. There are many prostitutes too. Apparently, it is legal to do tricks here for men, women and transvestites. The Patong night life reminds me of what Malate used to look like when we still had the US Military Bases here. Many foreigners. Many kids in the street. Many scalpers. Many scammers. But then, you can get that anywhere in the world. If I did, maybe I shouldn’t have left Manila then.

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Day 2
While in Thailand, a lot of people are very respectful, I still think that the RP remains to be the most hospitable country in the entire planet. Case in point, here in Thailand I realized that when you haggle to get the least price for a service, you are getting exactly what you are paying for. You pay so-so for a service then you get crappy service. The trip to the beach we had lasted at least three hours in a packed boat and we only spent one hour in the beach where the boat didn’t even take us safely to shore, just in case there were some of us who didn’t know how to swim. There are Filipinos who would scam you for this and that, but at least they have the courtesy to get you to the shore. They don’t assume that you know how to swim. I was so disappointed with that whole beach trip. Not to mention, I burnt my forehead. Our beaches are even more beautiful than theirs. Maybe they’re equally beautiful, I just got tired of swimming to get to land so my judgment is impaired and I’m greatly furious. I had to swim for both my friend and me so we won’t die. We could’ve died. so much for enjoying snorkeling.

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I also noticed, being in a different country, that everything tastes different here. Like food, water, even soda, have this bitter aftertaste. Like herbs and spices. I don’t know why. Maybe if they went to our country, they would’ve said the same thing about our food, our water, our cigarettes.

We look for a place to get an authentic Thai massage. Yes, no additional service (meaning sex) needed. I just needed to get rested and no better way to do that than to pamper your whole body. That was the best. I think that was the best thing out of this whole trip. I don’t get to be pampered when I’m at home (meaning Manila) because I’m too worried I’d enjoy it not to go to work. besides, the last time I got a massage in Manila, it was more of a beating than it was pampering.

Oh my God, why does everybody here think that I’m pregnant?! I love eating. I can afford to eat a lot and I have more time to stuff food in my mouth than I do getting rid of all this fat so just give me the damn massage.


Day 3
It’s a Sunday and we’re all having breakfast and you ask me how I am. You even wanted to call me. it’s just too sad that I can’t talk to you, even if I wanted to. Besides, the whole idea of this trip, or at least, one of the ideas about being in this trip was to try not to make any contact with you. I can’t do that if I’m still worrying about how you are over there while I’m out here and vice versa. But thank you for asking, though.

We visited temples. The original gold Buddhas are in Bangkok but the ones we checked out here almost look like the same thing. I just wish there were translations for the signs on every Buddha pose. we wanted to go to church and we had our driver take us to church. Of course, he sees a cross, he thinks it’s a Catholic church so the nice ladies told him where to take us. we say our own prayers for safe journey back home. I just wish that I still have occupation when I get back, that’s all.

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we drive to the mall, they think we’re from all sorts of places. To them, we all look the same, sound the same. The same way they all look and sound the same to us. It’s so hard to get anywhere when there’s a language barrier. Unlike Singapore, not too many people in Thailand know how to speak in English and unlike Singapore, there aren’t too many Filipinos working in Thailand so there’s some sort of gap.

We had another foot pampering session and I was surprised with all the tools they were using. Of course, they invented the art so no questioning the tools they use, right? When we got home, we started packing our bags.

Day 4
We do last minute checking of our bags, tickets, money. I try to send a message through to a friend to see how the weather is back here and to know how you are through other people before I finally get there. I get my answer. I’m back and I’m hoping to see you when I get to the office but I don’t. I haven’t even been really back yet and yet, I already have too much to do. I have people blaming me that I’m not here so they can’t do their jobs. I’m here all the time and people can’t do their jobs properly. It’s like they can’t do without me so what difference does it make?

So you do get mad and you let me know that I should go home since it’s a US holiday anyway and you tell me that I’m tired from my trip so I should eat first then go home. you even said you would’ve dropped by just to join me but I didn’t ask you anymore since I know you’re tired too. You needed a break too.

Home at last. Sleep.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bones: what IS wrong with me?

this afternoon when i woke up, while i was doing my last minute pack-and-check, i had the TV on with Bones as my background. they were investigating the murder of an extreme bike rider. it was also the episode that Booth was proposing to his girlfriend Hannah.

Hannah turned him down, saying she wasn't the marrying kind. next scene we find Seeley drinking more than usual at the Founding Fathers where Temperance joins him. he says that in his life, he has only loved three women: Rebecca, whom he had a child with, Parker; Temperance and then Hannah. he had loved them so much and while they felt the same way about him they didn't wish to marry him. he was questioning himself because the women that he cared for didn't like what he had to offer.

which made me think: how many people have i really loved in this life so far? and who among them actually gave me the time of day?

none of them did.

my so-called best friend of sixteen years (Jade), i have loved him since i laid eyes on him. i tried to be there for him when i can. but he never saw me that way.

my other so-called best friend (Link) for just about the same amount of time as the last one, played around with me for as long as i can remember but he never saw me that way either.

then there was this guy i liked for such a long time (Alex) and we seem to keep meeting each other.  for years after we've separated he's been calling me to greet me for my birthday and for a while it scared me that i might end up with him and i maybe couldn't handle it. or maybe we weren't going to be together.  i don't know.  i think it was the part where while together, he would use my landline phone to call my then-close-girlfriend.

it's almost like i wanted people to treat me like a doormat, like shit. i loved these people until i finally realized how stupid i was. of course, knowing my patience and endurance, it does take a while for me to realize my stupidity.

then there's you. i'm good with you not being in love with me. i've accepted it. i've gotten over it. it seems like what we've gone through together, the friendship we've had has seen so many tough times over the last two years we have been together.

so now, i'm going to tell you what Booth told Bones (in essence): i enjoy our partnership. i'm just going to keep on working with you and making the most of our friendship. i like working with you. i love what we have. i'm not going to expect you to give more than what you can actually give. in the same way, i am not expected to give more than what i can actually give other than my friendship.

there is nothing wrong with me. i don't think there's anything wrong with me. even if there was, as i am not perfect, i am well-adjusted enough to try to figure out what it is and try to fix it, not so other people will like me but so that i will like myself. when i finally like myself, love myself, then other people will follow suit. i have faith.  i believe.  there are just days when i can't help but wonder.

Monday, May 16, 2011

we are all Survivor contestants

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i've been a fan of Survivor for as long as i can remember. i'm not as hooked to it as i was before. i never realized that in the course of eleven years, Survivor is already on its twenty-second season. on his fourth attempt, Rob Mariano finally won Survivor.

Rob has been a very colorful personality on Survivor. i saw him at Marquesas and at the All-Stars series, where he met and lost to his now-wife Amber. it was a great move, what he did, proposing marriage to her, right before the results.

being a fan, i know that people join the show so they can either be famous or rich, since there is a million dollars at stake. people go to great lengths just to be able to join the show because they think that that amount of money can change their life. you don't win, you get to be popular and it all depends on you how you utilize those fifteen minutes of fame. nobody ever joins Survivor just so they can learn something about themselves. i guess i'm just pissed off as to how people in the jury, who have the power to award someone the million dollars have this holier-than-thou attitude, saying that they still have their dignity and they didn't compromise their principles just to get ahead of the game. it's their right, i mean, i can't blame them for being bitter, having been voted off and not winning the money. but them saying that they still have their principles, that's bullshit. they would've done the same thing when it all comes down.

Rob won because he had the best game. he and everybody else who wins a million dollars on that show, at some point, had to ride on
somebody's coattails, had to manipulate other people into voting somebody off to get further. that he beat otherpeople to it doesn't necessarily follow he's a scheming son of a bitch in real life. it only means that he's smarter in the game than everybody else.

we're all Survivor contestants. we try to survive the traffic, the heat, the dirty politics, the poverty. we all at some point manipulate other people or let other people manipulate us just to get a little bit ahead in life. we have a little bit of Rob in all of us, whether we admit it or not. we're just all too ashamed to come to terms with it. Rob in Survivor is the little evil in all of us.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

revisiting Twisted 6

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i'm reading Twisted 6 right now. i bought it in the store again since i couldn't find anything interesting to read. i have all of Jessica Zafra's books but it was one of those books that M got when we broke up. even though she and i are already talking, i don't think "give me back my stuff" is one of those things she would like to talk about or hear from me.

Twisted 6 was written at the time we as a country decided we didn't want a crook who pretended to represent the poor steal more money from us. most of you who voted for him (because i didn't) tried to avoid the traditional politicians with their law degrees and voted for someone supposedly relatable - he was an actor who didn't speak good english but he was very good with the masses. so for people to find out that the very man we banked our hopes on to free this nation of poverty, poor health care, bad politics and terrorism, was the very same man stealing from our coffers was a big disappointment. people were so disappointed, they went back to EDSA to speak their mind about their president. his greed finally caught up with him and he was made to step down.

the book also talks about the author's trips out of the country for film festivals and special conferences and how a lot of people seem to have the same idea: leaving the country, when things go rough in this one. it really is disappointing considering too much of our productive manpower, our best nurses, teachers, scientists and engineers, have to go off to some other country in order to seek greener pastures.

reading Twisted, any of them versions, remind me of how much i admire the author of the books, how she is similar to me and how different we are. i am very much a fan of her humor and sarcasm. she speaks her mind and tries to get the point across whether it is about politics or educating the masses or drooling about tennis. nobody writes columns anymore, they write blogs and more often than not, people do these things to get the approval of other people instead of thinking for themselves. with the author's Twisted series, while most of the time she talks about world domination and how few people in this country are educated enough to read good books, listen to good music or vote for better people to represent them in Congress or even the Presidency, you can sense her honesty and love of country within the humor and sarcasm.

i know i will never be as great a writer as she is. but i can aspire to be.