It’s mid-morning on a Saturday in Manila and I’m sitting in a café called “Linsanitea”. While the other members of my party were out attending to their own plans, I was at the hotel contemplating on what to do. I’m a foreigner in this country who’s unable to do anything. I’ve been conditioned to take extra caution in this world, but I was hungry, bored, and without Wi-Fi that I decided to leave the confines of the hotel room. My laptop isn’t connecting to the Wi-Fi in this café, which is pissing me off because I have no means of contacting the other people in my party. What happens if I go missing? (Which reminds me, I have to post my short story entitled “Missing”.) The chicken sandwich here is delicious though: a moist, crispy chicken put between crunchy, toasted sesame buns… *takes a bite*… with a lightly sweet sauce that makes it quite a treat overall. Yummy. However, the mango smoothie is bland and doesn’t taste like real mango.
Last night, we arrived in Manila from the island of Palawan. Palawan is a paradise, with its beautiful beaches, a national park with an underground river, and with a lot of virgin territory. Manila is different, however, and it reminds me of New York City. Walking through the mall where the hotel is located, I was warned to keep an eye out for pickpockets. F*ck me.
But at the hotel room, at around 2 AM this morning, I was experiencing stomach pain. Not quite sure if it was the hot tea I drank the previous day or because I didn’t eat dinner, but I had diarrhea five times. My girlfriend was asleep and couldn’t be bothered. So, I had to fend for myself. It was a lonely feeling, walking to a 7/11 for much needed water (I crapped four times by then so I was dehydrated). I didn’t get stuck up. After an hour sulking in pain back at the hotel, I managed to find a sleeping position that allowed me to survive the night.
I was expecting to have a more enjoyable vacation.
It’s been difficult being the only English-speaker in my party. I didn’t bond with the individuals as much as I intended to. The other couple my girlfriend and I are staying with at the hotel called dibs on the bedroom with the private bathroom. This irritated me because I would’ve been a lot more comfortable with my diarrhea. By the way, my girlfriend found the room. My clothes haven’t been washed and there’s the smell of ass in my bedroom. Not my ass. I wash. It’s probably from my shorts. Okay, so it is my f*cking ass. But it came from sitting in an odorous taxi on the way to the hotel. There’s no Wi-Fi and television. My supposedly waterproof phone isn’t charging. And I will be having a ton of free time from now until the end of this trip.
I thought I was going insane and I hope that isn’t the case. My laptop, books, and cigarettes will be my best friends here.
Should I tip? I’ll just leave 20 pesos for a bill that came out to 190 pesos. A nice chicken sandwich and a mango smoothie for $4? That’s the dream. I’m going to have a cigarette under the elevated train and watch the jeepneys pass by. The el train reminds me of the roaring J / Z train back home.