Yesterday, self was in a rather disconsolate mood. This traveling can be somewhat exhausting. She’s been to so many places, already, this year: India. Scotland. Amsterdam. Paris. London. Bacolod (twice). Perhaps she should call it quits and cool her heels back in the ol’ US of A, where right now she imagines all the houses on her street decked out in Halloween witchery: bedsheet ghosts hanging from trees, spiders dangling from eaves, pumpkins with glowing eyes lining the driveways.
She received several rejections (which normally doesn’t slow her one bit), and was wondering how much more she could eke out of her Bacolod experiences before she totally runs out of cash.
One e-mail, though, was from a travel magazine, inviting her to contribute. Hmmm. Self checked the originating address. An American magazine! That means she might get paid in dollars! Woot hoot! She read the rest of the e-mail and learned that the editors are unable to pay contributors just yet, they are in the very early stages of the project, perhaps later when they start pulling in a profit, and so forth (What is the point, self wonders, of being a Bacolod heiress/princess if one has constantly to be on the look-out for paying jobs?)
Here are the things self managed to do this morning:
- She caught a Bata/Libertad jeep to San Sebastian Cathedral (Fare: 8 pesos) and heard early morning mass.
- She grabbed a taxi and directed it to the Daku Balay, intending to pay the fare with some borrowed cash from family funds (which, you know, are bottomless. And they might as well pay her rather than bribe the driver. She could just offer, you know, to bribe herself and keep them informed of all her future whereabouts. This would eliminate the middleman — the driver — and permit direct transfer of goods from producer — self — to consumer, Genen Family Corporation. Wouldn’t you say this was a brilliant proposal, dear blog readers? She wonders why it didn’t occur to her sooner!)
Would you believe, when she got to the Daku Balay, she found that the offices were closed because, according to a very confused security guard (He had an armalite hanging from one shoulder, very scary), it was an official holiday. What official holiday? Ramadan.
“Are we Muslim?” self burst out.
“No,” he said.
But the guard looked so confused — evern perhaps a little terrified — by the presumably wild look in self’s eyes that she didn’t have the heart to continue grilling him.
So OK, Bacolod celebrates Ramadan now. That’s interesting. Will wonders never cease?
She then tried to borrow pesos to pay the taxi from the lone secretary who’d wandered in, but the poor woman was on her way to visit her relatives in La Castellana and though she did not have the strength of will to resist self’s demand for taxi fare (Perhaps this would qualify as a friendly-type mugging), self felt sorry for her and decided instead to knock on cousin Mae’s door and borrow some cash. Luckily, Mae was already up. Self then excitedly informed her that she was going around in a taxi. Mae said she was going to the funeral of a man who’d been murdered last week (owner of the Eastview Hotel). Self was on the point of asking if she could come along, as she’s never been to an actual Bacolod funeral, and this one would no doubt be packed because of the unusual and violent circumstances of the man’s demise. But then she thought that if she did ask, this would be just one more piece of evidence pointing to her supposed derangement. So she bit her lip. Though it disappointed her mightily to do so.)
Then self directed the poor taxi driver, who swore he used to know her father, Oso, to the Organic Market close to the Negros Museum, and had him wait while she had her fourth cup of brewed coffee of the day, and consumed one but-ong (10 pesos, or about 24 cents). Never mind that this was actually her second breakfast of the day. Before taking the jeep to the Cathedral, she’d had a breakfast of corned beef and scrambled eggs. Hmm, hmm, hope self can still squeeze into her Economy plane seat for the flight back to California!
She also bought a package of “Artisan Piaya, made from Muscovado Cane Sugar.”
Her last e-mail from sole fruit of her loins said: “Hope things are fine out in Bacolod.” Hmmm. That mildly sardonic tone, that’s pure son, right there. She wondered if he’d been reading her blog. Naaah, probably not. But his senses are very fine-tuned (just like self’s). Self swears, she could be contemplating a coconut tree and son, all the way in California, will know exactly what her state of mind is. She could have told him he would make an excellent psychologist, he got so much practice with her, when he was growing up. Dearest Mum used to be-moan the fact that sole fruit of her loins switched from being a Chemistry major to being a Psychology major. “It’s because of you!” Dearest Mum would say. Well, of course it’s because of self! She has many friends who seem very happy in their domestic arrangements, and then will confide that one or more of the progeny went into Psychology. Aha! That is the number one tell-tale giveaway to “All is not as it seems”!
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.