Many of the details of these sorties abroad are now forgotten. Blame it on my passive nature then that didn’t even give me the urge to jot down a travelogue, collect postcards and, by god, even just take photos!
However, there are some memories that I believe I’ll never forget. These are the “firsts” of experiences that made those three years treasured ones.
So since my emotional upheaval is done and there’s no point seething about GMA’s visit tomorrow – I’ll just pour it all out in the rally – I’ll just do this montage of selected firsts of my overseas escapades.
At exactly 12:00 MN, our plane arrived at the
As instructed, I looked for a bus to take me to the hotel where I was billeted. Sadly, there were no buses so I took a cab that cost me US$32. With what was left of my hundred bucks, I figured that I’d get by fine enough for my hosts will put me up.
At the front desk though, I found out my name was not on their list. The cost of one night: US$70. Damn! And of course, I was not allowed to spend the night in the lobby.
So with my backpack and two other luggages, I walked the streets of
Being forced to stay awake until 8:00 in the morning, I did finish a project proposal for the office.
Lesson learned: make the most of a shitty situation. (On second thought, I should just have asked that friendly policeman to lend me US$2)
The issue then was the refusal of the government to reimburse travel expenses of Asian delegates to that event that I think is better left unnamed.
Previous meetings were sober enough. My colleagues and I thought that since we were foreigners in that land, it was more prudent to rein in our temper. But as with negotiations with government officials go, the empty promises just made our blood boil.
It was an A-grade shouting match with everyone on their feet and vying to get the top spot in the loudest voice category. Until finally, the government personnel said “I am a lawyer and I know the law!” to which my officemate angrily retorted, “I am a lawyer too!”
A couple of hours later, I asked my colleague, “Hey, I never knew you’re a lawyer as well aside from being a chemist.” He just smiled and said, “I’ve got about nine law units in
I was dumbstruck.
I have always been well-behaved abroad. But when I met this guy in
With friends in tow, we hopped from bar to bar. I was pushed – with least resistance – to sit beside him, talk to him and, geez, dance with him. Mushy, mushy.
After sweating and drinking the night away, we all headed back to our friend’s place to continue with our hedonistic ways. As if I didn’t notice, all my other buddies started to drift away from the two of us.
So there were just the two us, sitting on the floor, with a candle lighted. We swapped stories and drank Thai whiskey. I didn’t mind his broken english for I was busy fluttering my eyelashes while he talked. Much later, we finally hit the bed ….
I woke up only to realize I only had about 90 minutes left to catch my flight. With a hangover, I let my colleague drag me through the whole check-in procedures.
Once seated on the plane, she turned to me and asked, “so what happened?”
I turned my back to her, closed my eyes and before I drifted off to dreamland I answered, “if you wanna do something nasty, stay sober.”
It was not due to anything political but a blunder that was monumental.
We had a break from the meeting we were having and most of the participants decided to partake of the offer to become tourists for the day. Since I’ve already availed of that in a previous trip, I chose to stay put and wander around the hotel.
A full bladder later on found me frantically searching for a comfort room. When I found one, I rushed to a cubicle, locked the door and breezed through the relief process. As I was about to leave, lo and behold, the door wouldn’t budge.
For about 45 minutes, I was trapped in a 3 x 5 cubicle, with a floor-to-ceiling door and with the toilet bowl as my company. I kicked and screamed for help but nobody came. I wrote down “I’m trapped inside” and pushed it outside through the door’s crack in case I lose consciousness.
My last-ditch attempt to shout out for help was finally heard by a janitor passing by the CR. When I was free, I rushed to the main door and as I was about to open it, I found the sign “Do not use the toilet, broken door.”
I was not sure whom to get mad at.
(Photo 1: YMCA Vanderbilt where I eventually stayed; Photo 2: Just a picture of Panama City. I couldn't get a photo of that government official; Photo 3: Thai Whiskey. Sigh!; Photo 4: Goree Island. One of the most popular attractions in Dakar. The island played an important part in the trade of African slaves before.)