where are you from, mermaids?


lei the hooker stood me up last night. at the adult ktv, she put her number in my cell phone, and i got it into my head that she wanted to hang out. i asked her then, "what's your favorite place to go to in manila?" and she replied, "only here." so, i thought i would meet up with her some place not x-rated, and we would have a good time. we made arrangements to go out to dinner and then to embassy, a club at fort bonifacio. she said she would take the day off, but that she needed what she called a "badget." essentially, that meant i would have to pay her for her escort services, which i had no problem doing.

this was all pretty crazy, since i couldn't really communicate with her. i had my cousin grace text with her in shorthand tagalog back and forth, making arrangements for how we were gonna meet and all that. basically, we had to drop my parents off at the hotel first, hope that grace's mom wouldn't come along for the ride, and hope that tony, the driver, wouldn't rat us out to anyone. but, come wednesday night, when i called her at 8:30 p.m., our meeting time, she said something in tagalog about her not having taken a shower yet. i handed the phone to my cousin, and it must've scared her off. she said that she wasn't feeling well, even though background noises made it sound like she was working. so, there it was. i was stood up by a hooker.

without my escort, last night was still pretty fun. grace and i met up with her friends at a restaurant called zong at fort bonifacio. this guy franco brought along his friend, a french girl named cami. i told her i studied french for a year. j'etudie le francias pour un ans. she asked where i studied. "in seattle," i said. "it's strange to study in french in seattle," she said. "better to study french in france!" she said she was studying business or management or something at atineo, which is like the ivy league school here. i had never heard of it before.

cami had two cosmopolitans, and franco kept ordering beers. after finishing our drinks, we went to the embassy. the embassy is the club i went to on friday with my nieces and nephews. it's a pretty cool place, but the curfew is now 4 a.m., ever since a general's son got killed in a fight there. more of grace's friends showed up, and we had more drinks and danced. the french girl was obviously drunk and was dancing like crazy. i tried flirting with grace's friends, leanne and francine. they both work for pal and they are only a year or two older than me. "which do you like better," leanne asked me, "friday night or wednesday night?" "every night!" i shouted back.

i have to admit that i didn't like filipinas before. after all, the only ones i knew were relatives and bitchy classmates. now, i am all about the filipinas. i don't know what it was, really. maybe it was going to church one sunday and seeing a big filipino family. it looked like something i might want one day. i think i might like sitting at the head of the table and buying dinner for everyone while the kids scream and run around. i know, that kind of thing can happen anywhere, but still, it feels different. these are a people who still have faith, who still believe in god.

leanne has this little girl named chloe. the father is a deadbeat who moved to australia. i had enough beers that i wanted to tell her he was a damn fool, but she looked like she was having a good time, and i didn't want to ruin that. i said the next best thing: "i love this country!" in the philippines, i am always betraying americans by telling other filipinos that i don't ever want to go back. in the states, i betray filipinos by speaking english and eating hamburgers. it's a weird thing to not know your place. maybe it has to do with all this anti-corporate, anti-america stuff i've been feeding myself for so long. why did that arcade fire lyric: "i don't want to live in america no more" resonate so much with me?

it's such a silly thing that children wash themselves with dirty sewer water here, while an ocean away, eighteen year old college kids discuss descartes. it's so ridiculous that lei has to have sex with random guys to make a living while i pull in four times her income by sitting at a desk. that night before we went to the adult ktv, after my cousin and his friends had finished their meal at pancake house, these three children came running up to the table. they ate the leftover scraps of chicken and downed the remaining ice tea. and we were on our way to spend money on hookers. my cousin didn't throw them a single peso. i didn't, either. the security guard shooed them away.

why do the children go barefoot here, knocking on car windows, trying to sell bubble gum, or else to just extend their hands? other kids get to stuff themselves until they're nauseous and learn pointless things like algebra. why should some people have to beg while others get it handed to them easily? the billboards are ridiculously large in the philippines. a giant picture of kc concepcion modeling for bayo dwarfs rows and rows of squatters. who let this happen?

i guess that, in some way, we all did.

1 comment:

E said...

john- yeah dude, fuck US girls. nothing but drama and bullshit.