Whilst taking a 30-minute taxi ride earlier through the horribly congested traffic of Metro Manila, my all-of-me was faced with an overwhelming sense of homesickness and nausea. I kinda' miss you guys... or maybe it was just the dizzying traffic-weaving of our honk-happy taxi driver with ridiculously long thumb nails. Or the numerous beggars walking in the middle of the street, who slammed up against the windows of our cab, asking us for money until the stoplight turned green again. Who knows?
Either way, it dawned on me that the thing I miss the most about being at home is being able to see/talk to my friends - those of you who speak English as a first language and would understand why I'd be pointing and laughing at the nimrods on the mall stage performing Celine Dion songs over a karaoke machine instead of a real band. Did I mention they like Celine Dion? And did I mention they use a karaoke machine instead of real instruments? And did I mention that these are hired performers for the centers stage of a major mall? Yeah.
To top it off, this one performer named "LaLa" (to her credit, she actually did have a band to back her up), ended her set of other people's songs with a very moving cover version of Michael Jackson's "Black or White," where she added her own flare at the end: "But if you're thinkin' bout my baby, it don't matter if you're blaaaaack.... or brown.... or beige... or red... or yellow... or blue... eek... oooooor whiiiiiiiiite." I've now learned a very important lesson about racism. Maybe I should buy her album. But my gut instinct tells me that I've already heard all the songs before.
Besides the food, I haven't really seen anything original in this kooky country. Don't get me wrong, it's been a helluva experience being here, but to be honest, I'm a little disappointed that the stereotypes of Filipinos being a bunch of copycats has so far been proven true. T On the upside, if you ever want to have a nation-wide singalong of "Wonderwall," this is definitely the place for you to go. Just make sure you're prepared to hear incorrect lyrics and the heaviest fobalicious accents ever.
I feel slightly guilty for thinking this way about my people... but I just can't help it. I guess I really am pretty fucking American. I'm sure this would all sound pretentious to native Filipinos but I can't help but wish you guys were here with me to laugh at all the corny-ness.
Anyway, I didn't mean to make this such a long e-mail but I was in serious need of communicating with more of my white, and white-washed friends. About a week more to go...
Let's have coffee when I get home... no more of this coffee-jelly frappuccino bullshit. (Actually, I'm a little afraid to try anything that has coffee and jelly in the same name... but I had to throw that little detail in there for dramatic effect.) Drink a delicious iced coffee for me, please!
I'll be back on Friday, Aug. 1. I arrive in LA at 8:05 pm... and I will be jet lagged so no sleep for me at least until morning. In other words, come hang out and we'll smoke some Lucky Strikes all night. I hope you'll still be able to see me. I'm kinda' dark. Ew.
I love you.