The Philippines on His Mind

The other day, son surprised self exceedingly, when we were walking down University Avenue in Palo Alto, by stopping dead in his tracks, sniffing the air, and saying: “This reminds me of Manila.”

Granted, it was a very muggy day, and there was a haze in the air. It was the day after the raging San Bruno Mountain fire, one of many burning all over California, which hubby and self had seen, way off in the distance, after dropping Dearest Mum off at Daly City uncle’s house, the night before.

Now, son is in Philadelphia. Even though hubby told him not to leave the airport while waiting for his connecting flight to Madrid, he did. He found that the train to downtown Philadelphia and Market Street was ony $7, and he took it.

Then, he got lost. And e-mailed self for directions. But self’s MacBook went ka-blooey, and she could not get on-line. After a miserable two hours, son text-ed again: He’d somehow found his way to an area where there were a lot of historical buildings and was wandering around looking for the Liberty Bell.

All morning, son has been txt-ing self his impressions of the city, which self finds to be a very welcome break from grading papers. Son’s last message is: “The current weather. The people. The mall I’m currently sitting in. Philadelphia reminds me of the Philippines. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.”

And self texts back: “The reason I loved living on the East Coast, the year after I graduated from Stanford, was because I missed the crowds, the heat of Asia.”

And now? Now she doesn’t miss home so much. It follows that she likes the East Coast less.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. This will be interesting.

Running Errands & A Muggy Afternoon in Downtown Palo Alto

First self went to the bank and withdrew more cash for son, as she felt he really should not be forced to scrimp and hang out in unsavoury places, all because his parents are too cheap to provide him with a decent travel allowance. Then she went to the pet hospital to pick up humongous bag of prescription dog food ($50). Then she forgot that she had promised to pass by the Hallmark Store on Laurel Street to get son an address book (Self had assured son that, on this trip, he would make “so many friends” and would want to keep in touch with them all). She did remember, though, that she had to make a stop at Kinko’s just before getting home, to xerox her final exam for her class at xxxx community college tomorrow, and to xerox son’s phone card (which she’d just filled with minutes that morning).

Then self remembered that she’d promised to drop son’s spring quarter grades at the friendly State Farm Agent’s office in downtown Palo Alto, which was the other stipulation before son could avail of the “Good Student” discount. And, since son said he wanted a map of Madrid and Paris (two of the places he will be visiting), self suggested that he go with her to downtown Palo Alto so that they could stop by Border’s. And then Dearest Mum called, and when self told her that she and son were going to downtown Palo Alto, Dearest Mum said she would meet them there.

And, no sooner had self and son arrived at Border’s, and started perusing the travel book section, than Dearest Mum showed up, wearing black and white denim jeans, a white linen blouse, and very cool shades. And while self was looking up a biography of Marie Curie on the “Search Books” terminal, she heard a voice asking for David Henry Hwang’s “M. Butterfly.” And she looked up, and there was her student from xxxx community college, Max H. And she asked him why he hadn’t turned in his final paper. And he said he had, he’d left it on the lectern. But self swore the lectern was bare when she left the classroom. So Max said he would e-mail her his paper, “within 30 minutes.” Then self introduced Max to Dearest Mum, and thankfully they did not chat too long.

Then it took son almost an hour to decide on an Eyewitness guidebook to Italy and in addition self purchased for him a small leather notebook, to write down addresses and some such. Then we all wended our way to Gelato Classico on Emerson Street. And Dearest Mum treated us all to gelato, and self had a dee-lish combination of lychee and peanut butter cioccolato (She’ll have to go back soon to have a second go). Across the street, at Aquarius, “The Fall” was showing, and that’s one of the movies self has been curious about.

“That’s what I’m going to do aaaall summer,” self confided to son and Dearest Mum, “Watch movies and eat gelato.”

And, really, that doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend a summer, not bad at all. Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.a

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