18 Months In Asia (Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time) Part 7
The night before I was wondering where this was going, things had been nice in Jakarta and I really enjoyed my time there and the trips we had. Subic had been good fun with the LBFMs but, did I prefer time spent with someone I hadn't paid? Kim had
been paid, Goff was different but had still cost some money and as time passed with her in Thailand I had still paid, an emotional fee. Did I want a normal (western style) thing here in the Philippines with Cher. I didn't really know, I did
like her and it felt just normal being with her. She looked more Thai or Chinese than Filipino and that is a preference for me. The women in the Philippines are diverse in their looks and style, they speak good English on the whole and it was
very nice to have conversations that were mutually understood with no periods of confusion or small misunderstandings which can lead to problems.
It was light at 6 am and the telephone rang in the room. Cher told me that I was late and that she had two take out coffees for me. I had the hire car and we left for a short ride to the covered market in town. It was very busy at the Market with the roofed area split into sections. Meats of pork, beef, chicken and duck. Fish, prawns and shell fish ocean and freshwater and eggs, vegetables and shit like that. We sat at a small (basic) eatery near the market and again Cher was very quiet. What's wrong Cher? "nothing" she replied, I told her that whatever she wanted to say to me was ok. "My life is very simple J, my home is very simple, my whole life is very simple" I told her that it made no difference to me whatsoever and that I wanted to see her home and I wanted to meet her family. This is why I traveled, this is what it was about, seeing things, going to places, meeting people and having sex with you! she laughed and we left for the car and the a/c. (f**k me it was hot in the Philippines).
In the market their were street kids asking you if they can carry your shopping or selling odds and sods. It is like this in many Parts of Asia but I always found more of them here in the Philippines. It is best to make sure you have some coins on you at all times. I would often buy 10 bread rolls for $1 dollar. I found that a lot of parents send the kids out to do this type of work, at least it was food not money. The schools are public but you still need to pay for uniforms and books etc, some parents wont or cant afford to do this. The kids seem to congregate everywhere, not for westerners alone, they also hassle the Filipinos.
We headed back to the hotel for a swim and the hotel placed our groceries in the cooler (wrap). We were due to eat in the evening and Cher wanted to cook at her home. In the pool we started to talk and during the conversation I asked if I could help with the cooking. She found this very strange but I insisted it would be good fun. She still said that she didn't want me to see her home. It didn't red flag me that their was a guy around, she did not seem the type.
When arrived in the car and I looked for a place to park on the very narrow sparsely concreted road. She laughed and told me to leave the car where it was. "no motors come here only tricycle baby" interesting, she had called me baby. I was interested in seeing her home in daylight and it was tiny. The lounge (sala) measured about 3 meters x 3 meters with a small coffee table a portable TV and DVD on a bamboo shelf unit with an enormous hi-fi unit on another bamboo stand, she had linoleum on the floor. The bedroom was the same size with a large mattress on the linoleum floor and a sink in one corner with make-up and stuff and a wardrobe in the other corner. The walls were all block concrete and covered in posters and photos a few mother Mary statues and other Catholic symbols, paintings and such like. The whole place was like an oven but absolutely spotless. She had a tiny oscillating fan, she turned it on when we came inside.
To the rear was a small shower room and cr, divided by a sheet of plywood from a sink and small worktop with shelving and a small plastic garbage bin for her rice supply. Outside was a tap, gas stove, BBQ and 3 cats. She placed all the meat in the outside sink ran the water and boiled a small kettle on the stove for a 3 in 1 coffee.
I stayed in the sala whilst she washed all of the meat and felt overwhelmed with guilt for all the things in my life which I have now and in the past taken for granted.(maybe you know that feeling) When she came inside she placed the coffee and an iced tea on the coffee table and placed the fan in front of me. I stood up and kissed her and we went to the bedroom and got busy. It didn't last long I'm afraid it was just too bloody hot, the fan was bloody useless and we were both laying in a pool of sweat. She was sleeping in my arms and the sweat was in my eyes and my ears and running down my back and down the crack of my arse, I stayed holding her, I didn't want her to wake up. Thinking about it, she was the one who wanted to go to market at 6am so I started biting her ear and kissing her softly until she woke with that beautiful Asian smile, perfect lips and slightly oriental eyes in deep rich brown. (Oh shit! I knew where this was going). She started to cry gently and said "Please don't hurt me, I beg you, please!" (Oh shit! now I knew where she was going).
As with Thailand this beautiful girl automatically started to look after me and pamper me. She could not understand why I helped with the cooking and nearly passed-out when I started to wash some of the dishes and bowls we had used. I wonder how she would react if she saw what goes on behind clothes doors with marriages in the UK. (in the south). (lol).
We arrived at the family home and were greeted by her sister and brother, various uncles, aunts and her sisters 3 children, various other relatives, co-workers and neighbors come to check out the westerner. I carried a large cooler box with the beers and C had the cooked pork chops, marinated steaks and cooked chicken we had prepared earlier. I chatted and drank a few beers with various family members and ate various dishes, their was a great deal of food. The sisters husband was working in Qatar and both parents had died a few years earlier. We were joined later by various friends of C all very interested in meeting her British boy friend? Even more people arrived with more food, ice tea and red horse beer. I was asked into the kitchen with sister, bother and the eldest uncle for a chat. During the evening it was nice to receive and give each other attention, a hug here a peck there and just normal closeness that is usually limited to holding hands, if that, in the LOS, in these family situations, it is far more westernized here.
The uncle took the lead in a somewhat bizarre conversation. What follows in reasonably accurate;
Uncle "how long will you be staying in the Philippines"
Not sure but I have no hurry to leave
Uncle "do you know that I am a police officer."
YES, (he then showed me his gun).
Uncle "do you understand the value of family in the Philippines."
Yes I do, nice gun.
Uncle "well my niece is very special to me, when her parents died I swore to protect her and her brother and sister"
I understand you have an obligation, as do I to my family.
Uncle exited the room thank f**k.
Brother laughing, sister laughing.
Sister "he always does that, he may have shot you if he knew about your night in the hotel"
Brother "don't worry too much he just wanted you to understand that we care about Cher"
Yes I understand but you introduced us (looking at sister).
Sister "that's true but I did not expect her to fall for you, or so fast"
Shouldn't Cher be here for this conversation?
Brother "she will after she talks to uncle"
Sister "Cher lives alone, away from her family, she wants to be Independent and that makes life dangerous for her in the Philippines"
Brother "because here in Philippines are many bad men, many criminal and sadist, her husband beat her many times" (I think he meant rapist).
Ok, I understand, but please be assured that I would never beat her or deliberately hurt her in any way.
C entered the room looking somewhat embarrassed and stood beside me holding my hand. She smiled and I told her everything was ok. Between us C, sister, brother (not uncle) we discussed a few things and reached an understanding about my Innocent intentions with C and that I was happy to treat her with kindness and respect. I would not make any promises to C. Who knew what the future held and how long I would stay in the Philippines. Was it that bad if we had a relationship, was it that dangerous if C and I spent time together. (These Catholics). By 1am in the morning the music and party was in full swing and C was drunk, which was very amusing because she only had 4 bottles of san Mig light. It had been a long day and I needed sleep, I left for the hotel alone. (Beam me up, Scottie).
G was to meet me at the pool with her niece and nephew the youngest being only 6 months old. (Yes, I know), but I was enjoying this and who doesn't like cute kids.
The Philippines is a country that if you are a native you need to locate in a town or city and live/squat. There are very few jobs in the rural areas and most need to relocate. This makes the towns and city's cramped and local and national government do not seem to plan/admin any infrastructure, it seemed to me you could do anything anywhere. the only places that seemed to be monitored were the subdivisions. The squatters were everywhere and seemed set up everywhere. The sad thing is unless you travel around and see the beautiful countryside and the interesting areas you are struck by the poverty, concrete and corrugated iron structures. It looks like rural Spain in the 1960/1970 era. The Spanish were here for 300 years.
I found the people here in stark contrast to the people in Angeles. Is Angeles effected by the type of westerners who frequent the city. In San Fernando only 45 minutes away the general feel there seemed much much better. There are westerners here but I rarely saw any in the weeks I spent there. The visa process is simple and the extensions were for 1/2 months the cost being between $40/$60. (Fast track within 30 minutes extra $10). The other thing here that's a pain is the traffic enforcement officers, they are not police, many Filipinos pay them a bribe rather than the inconvenience of paying the ticket. If they see a westerner they will stop you with a made up violation. Yon can give them $10 or pay the fine $5 I give then f**k all. Make them write the ticket in the heat and pay locally or best bet get heavily tinted windows on your rental car so they cant see you. Even if your a passenger, as a westerner you will get stopped. (Manila, Angeles and Subic). I never had a problem in other areas.
T B C.