Margaret Atwood’s newest novel was my trusty companion when I went on that crazy solo trip to Palawan where I got drunk with strangers, rode a killer bus, scored a free tour, walked around Puerto Princesa at four in the morning, fell asleep on a speeding motorcycle (don’t ask), and basically did 101 things that would’ve gotten me killed. Fortunately, I did not die and I was able to finish The Year of the Flood. Yay.
What better way to spend the eve of the end of the world than with free beer, good food and great friends? Bring it on apocalypse. I feel awesome.
But I’m more willing to bet that we’ll still be around tomorrow and the crackpots blabbering about rapture and doomsday are going to wake up wondering why they’re still on their beds in their pajamas and not on the clouds looking heavenly.
In the meantime, let’s rock to R.E.M.’s perfect song for today.
It’s that time of the year again when a throng of tourists armed with straw hats and fancy cameras terrorize the quiet town of Lucban, Quezon for the Pahiyas festival. This year, I was one of them although I was way too cool to wear a straw hat so I ended up with a sunburned face instead. My A3200 point-and-shoot is on the D-list of digital cameras but that did not stop me from trying to be as artsy-fartsy as the rest of the DSLR-toting crowd. A wise person once said, if all else fails, idaan na lang sa epal. So here goes.
Although I’ve never been big on social networking sites, my recent writing gig has required me to maintain a Twitter account and post at last seven “tweets” a day. (Good grief, I still can’t get used to that word. It sounds icky and gross and for some reason it makes me want to wrench out my esophagus and rinse it with acid.) I’ve been spending the past few days learning the ropes of hashtags and RTs (retweets). I searched for people and groups to follow and eventually gained a few followers as well.
One of the people I follow on Twitter is Bill Easterly, author of White Man’s Burden (a great read), economics professor at New York University, and nemesis of Bono and Jeffrey Sachs. Okay, nemesis might be too strong a word but he did have a few sardonic remarks against them. The latest post on Aid Watch, a blog he maintains, is about the “best and worst” aid agencies based on a paper he co-wrote with Claudia Williamson. I haven’t really mastered the rules yet, if there are any, on what to write about but it seemed like an interesting subject for a 140-character post so I went ahead and “tweeted” it.
I got a text message from my mother at 1am the other day saying she just made it back to the health center after delivering a baby. The patient was giving birth at home so there were no hospital equipment, no doctors and nurses; just a midwife’s kit and probably a horde of curious relatives and neighbors. She had a scheduled immunization later that day and was expecting more than 100 babies to vaccinate plus about 70 pregnant women for prenatal checkup.
Waiting is probably one of the less enjoyable things about travel. From delays at the airport to being cooped up inside a jeepney while the relentless “barker” (someone with a really loud voice whose job is to call out passengers) tries to fill it to overcapacity, waiting is an unavoidable inconvenience. Patience is not one of my virtues; I get antsy and agitated when I’m being made to wait.
One effective way to keep my sanity is to bring a book. So while everyone else is getting ready to lynch the airline crew during delayed flights, I can manage to keep my cool and settle down in a corner with a good read (although on really bad ones like that frickin’ eight-hour ordeal, no book has any hope of reining in my nasty temper).
In the three nights of my Cagayan De Oro-Bukidnon trip, I managed to sleep in three different places. It wasn’t something I planned (not that I had any solid plans to begin with) but it turned out to be way more awesome than I expected.
The trip had an anti-climactic start: an eight-hour delay at the airport. I spent the day dozing off, reading Michael Sandel, trying out a new blog theme with a horrible color scheme, eating crappy airport food, snapping at the airline crew, and greeting everyone who comes near me with a menacing stare. It was not a good day for my I-will-try-to-be-a-better-person project. Oh, and Air Phil sucks.