Saturday, February 23, 2008

(Not) About Sex and Politics

It’s Saturday morning. I just want to write something before I plunge into my work again and I’ve decided NOT to talk about gayness and politics.

Asexual and apolitical. These are the guiding words for this post
.

So I thought I’d write about memories of a travel. Some immediately came to mind but this one stood out: Bangladesh, September 1998.

I went there to take part in a conference on education. It was my second trip outside the Philippines and I was really excited and kept thinking what “firsts” I will experience in a country touted to be poorer than ours.

Upon arrival in Dhaka, I was able to check out smoothly enough. Looking at the throngs of well-wishers and greeters, I didn’t get to see the person who was supposed to pick me up.


Armed with a printed info of the conference’s venue, I thought I should just go ahead and get a cab. Besides, it couldn’t be much worse than the cotton buds I had to stick inside my ears during the flight or the seat that wouldn’t recline.


Stepping out proved me wrong. I was immediately mobbed by several guys – with some clinging on to my backpack and a couple of others holding my hands – and pushed in a hundred different directions. They were taxi drivers competing for passengers.


So yeah, being the center of a horde of men’s attention is not always nice. (Strike one! So much for no gayness.)


I struggled out of their grip and ran back inside the comfort of the arrivals area. Catching my breath, I was approached by another guy who asked me politely what happened and offered help. The trauma of the past minutes made me agree.


The details are now unclear but finally, I was inside a cab with the helpful guy chatting away about my flight and other mundane stuffs. After almost an hour, I realized that I was literally being taken for a ride to up my fare. Since it was my first time in the country and inside a car with two men I barely knew, I decided it was more prudent to keep my mouth shut and just think that, anyway, I’ll get to where I should be before the end of the year.


At last I did get to the hotel. I was greeted by the hotel manager who asked me if I was Filipino and after I said yes, replied “putanginamo”. With all smiles I said back, “putanginamorin”. Nothing beats smashing cultural barriers than politely said cuss words.


The four-day conference was successful. Other than the fact that I had to eat chicken curry and vegetable curry three times a day for the whole duration of the event, I didn’t really have any major complaint.


Of course, the curry overload made the toilet my second most-favored place in the hotel. There I learned about pink coarse tissues. After several uses, it made me realize that pink a-holes are not always sexually stimulating. (Fine, strike two!) Good thing I grew up with tabo.


Don’t get me wrong. I did enjoy Bangladesh. Meeting new people, seeing and experiencing new things, having lively discussions, being exposed to a different culture and ways – these and more taught me a lot of lessons. I saw similarities and differences. I learned about solidarity.


By the way, cows freely roam the streets of Dhaka so lots of cow dung were also around. Thinking about this now made me realize that what they have was better. Their cows and dungs were on the streets while we have ours right inside the Palace.

(Darn it, strike three. I’m OUT!)

4 comments:

chase / chubz said...

HAHAH I LOVE how the you end the post.. very witty. h eheheh

wow, bangladesh. hmmm.. not very tempting to visit i see. hehe

wanderingcommuter said...

hahaha...i must agree, it was indeed a nice way to end teh post. you actually divert us that the post will be apolitical then when we were trying tio abrorb its apoliticalness, you'll surprise with the realization that nothing is apolitical.

to quote, personal is political and political is personal. i forgot who i am going to quote for this, sorry.

jericho said...

@chase: thanks. haha. it has its good points. basta wag pupunta ng rainy season dahil isa syang malaking Malabon.

@wandering: hehe. i guess it was my subconscious intention to show that as well. sharp na bata!

Mink said...

i like yung batian nyo nung taga hotel... so classic! hehe