Reading ATONEMENT, Sunday 18 March 2012

He was without social unease —  inappropriately so, in the view of many.

p. 81, Ian McEwan’s Atonement

This book is slowly turning out to be what Sepharad and The Cave and the House of Mirth and The Homecoming and The Reader were to self, on previous trips to Bacolod.  They’re what self likes to think of as her “Bacolod books,” the ones that held her rapt attention, for weeks and weeks, in her father’s hometown.

Somehow, this trip, self lost her way for a while.  She knew because she did very little reading.  But, about a week ago, salvation!  The Bacolod self of December 2010, January 2011, and July 2011, re-surfaced.

Just in the nick of time, too!

Self knew she was finally getting her groove back because, last night, she called room service and requested four servings of buko lychee sorbet.

The young waiter who brought the sorbet to her room looked down at the table where he’d just laid four glass cups, each with two servings of sorbet (with a barquillo stuck in the top scoop) and said, “Ma’am, are you really going to eat all of that?”

Self’s quicker-than-lightning response:  “I sure am!”

Here is self, now, on p. 85:

In the years to come he would often think back to this time, when he walked along the footpath that made a shortcut through a corner of the oak woods and joined the main drive where it curved toward the lake and the house.  He was not late, and yet he found it difficult to slow his pace.  Many immediate and other less proximal pleasures mingled in the richness of those minutes:  the fading, reddish dusk, the warm, still air saturated with the scents of dried grasses and baked earth, his limbs loosened by the day’s week in the gardens, his skin smooth from his bath, the feel of his shirt and of this, his only suit.  The anticipation and dread he felt at seeing her was also a kind of sensual pleasure, and surrounding it, like an embrace, was a general elation —  it might hurt, it was horribly inconvenient, no good might come of it, but he had found out for himself what it was to be in love, and it thrilled him . . .  He could not have explained his optimism —  he was happy and therefore bound to succeed.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Heart of Eccentricity: J & L Marañon Art House, Bacolod City

Oh time is fleeting, fleeting, fleeting.  The trip is almost over (or feels like it might be, to self).  It’s not fair that she’s been laid low (for over a week) —  first by gastroenteritis, then by the flu.  And Zack is coming in just a few days.  And she wanted to be at least fully conscious for that stellar event!

Today, self spent the afternoon in her Tita Gloria’s house on Lacson Street.  Tita Gloria’s face is pale, all cheekbones.  She leaves the house every afternoon to have merienda at Bob’s.  Cousin Mae took self to see this really wild and crazy house.

Self would just like to say:  the word “wild” is taken to a whole other level in Bacolod.  See pictures below and judge for yourselves, dear blog readers.

The surprise is that this gargoyle-draped house is in the middle of a very nondescript street.  The kind of street lined with homely carinderias.  Where children play by prodding rubber tires back and forth across the street with sticks.

Same Wildness: From a Slightly Closer Angle. Sorry for the blurred photos. They would have been sharper if self used flash. But when self uses flash, the subject loses all its mystery.

This room was diffused with a greenish light that made self feel as if she were underwater. There were an array of shells embedded in the walls.

The second floor landing -- Romanesque.

Delightful Cousin Mae! The Best Tour Guide -- Bar None -- in Bacolod City

Spotted at a Drugstore Counter, Bacolod City. "Do-it-yourself" customer packaging. You rub the toothpaste in the paste and use it to seal the ends of the brown paper lying beneath the green tin.

Stay tuned for more fabulous Bacolod adventures.

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