Vissi d'arte

from lullaby to requiem

Friday, January 27, 2006

Gay Lit

I was born gay, and I will die gay. I've never attempted to conceal my femininity, in fact, it is my masculinity that I try so hard to conceal. It works most of the time, but some people are just hard to fool - and some are in denial. My family, for example. Everyone sane knows I'm gay - I hang out in the kitchen during holidays helping out with the dishes instead of playing video games like my straight male cousins, I supervise how my cousin takes care of the other kids, etc...

Despite my being overtly gay, I've never really read anything gay, aside from a site (which seems to have gone offline) called "The Glass Onion" which has a collection of short semi-erotic but oh-so-touching stories about gay love: I laughed, I cried (I really did!), I was amazed, I was moved... I was even a little grossed out. I enjoyed reading this string of short stories - a novel actually- 30+ (even 40) chapters about four high school balls who fall in love with each other - and their families accepting them for who they are (at least, most of them were accepted... Calling Freud, you can psychoanalyze me all you want now...).

This morning however, I talked with Ms Odessa Joson, a humanities professor - and a gender-fighter. She told me that I should pick a love poem now, so that I could rehearse for the poetry reading that I'd already agreed to do for culture week in February (I like all this artsy stuff!). She gave me a book of poems so I could choose, then she mentioned if I was gender sensitive, and that if I would mind reciting gay love poems. I felt myself light up and I immediately agreed. She gave me a print out of this extremely beautiful poem, and asked me to read it. I read it once, and I fell in love. It was by Ronald Baytan, a prolific Filipino writer, and here it is (as cited in Ladlad: An Anthology of Philippine Gay Writing edited by J. Neil C. Garcia and Danton Remoto - uy, proper citation! Hihihi!):

He who sleeps on my lap

My friend
who sleeps on my lap
loves someone else.
He says he is a man
and a man needs a woman
and I disagree.
We argue until he grows
tired of talking
and sleeps on my lap.

on this chilly night.
And I sigh,
knowing he loves
someone else
but still sleeps
gently on my lap,
innocent, not knowing
that I am here
one wicked wish
that when he wakes up
I shall be his dream.

I saw these books on her desk last semester - Ladlad, and Ladlad 2, but I didn't want to borrow them because I was too shy, and she might have been using them in her classes. But this morning, after discussing a bit about the poem above, she gave me these two books and one more (Danton Remoto's Skin Voices Faces) to borrow so I could read in my spare time. I'd just finished Sidney Sheldon's The Other Side of Midnight and enjoyed it immensely, so I have free time to read these books.

After that, I had a class, then one student (who wishes to remain anonymous, at least that's what I got when this student told me "Sir, walang laglagan ha!") approached me and gave me another book. I looked at the title and felt my face light up (for the second time that day). It was a book I'd always wanted to read, but never had to opportunity to do so: David Levithan's Boy meets Boy.

I was so excited, I wanted to read all through my PR class (grad class at the Ateneo), but when a reporter showed a slide with a picture of a chicken and the text "Turkey says its bird flu free..." I started laughing so hard my face was lit up again (because I was a bit embarrassed - I'm new, and I'm supposed to be composed and poised, I just couldn't help myself - I imagined Turkeys talking in small voices: "Wala akong bird flu!!! 3x" - Hihihihi!)

Anyway, that's basically it - I have a lot of reading to do, and I already started with Boy Meets Boy it seems like a great book, but the thing about these gay-themed works of literature (and film) is that they always seem to depress me. It's like I'm reading about/watching something that happens only to a fortunate few. Sigh... Romeo, or Romeo. Whereforth art thou???

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Turkish Delight

I have a new baby... His name is Skandar Keynes, and he's completely adorable in an I-want-to-crush-your-cute-little-head way... He plays Edmund in the new movie version of the C.S. Lewis classic, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Edmund is supposed to be the hard-headed little kid who wreaks havoc, not only in the Pevensie household (although they're not really staying in their house), but also in the magical land of Narnia as he teams up with the White Witch. Of course, he's not the only reason I love the film...

The movie starts off with a London air-raid. The first time I saw this on an extended trailer over the net, I thought I had clicked the wrong button and ended up in trailer of another movie. But then, Edmund's cute little head stuck out from behind a curtained window. The air-raid, of course, was added to make the book a little more cinematic, and along with some other scenes, serves to make the movie a much better adaptation of the book than other books-turned-movies (yes, even Harry Potter...).

Some of my favorite sequences (and by favorite, I mean the ones I keep playing and replaying on my pirated DVD copy - but I intend to get the original of course, when it comes out) include Edmund being seduced by Jadis, the Battle of Beruna, and the coronation of the 4 Kings and Queens.

Tilda Swinton (who also played Gabrielle on Keannu's Constantin), did an okay job as the White Witch, Queen Jadis. In the scene where she first meets baby Skandar, I mean baby Edmund, she turns from wicked witch to failed-temptress. She offers him a hot drink and a box of Turkish Delights - soft candies rolled in powedered sugar. Oddly, the name Skandar is a Turkish dimension of the name Alexander. Playing with baby Edmund's hair and pressing her cheeks to his after tucking him in her coat was a good touch, but she could have played with his hair a little more. I could have played a better temptress... Jadis, in this scene, is supposed to be enticing and flirty. But Swinton struggles in her costume, and her eyes are as dead as the winter in Narnia. I suppose for others it would do, but I had an image of Jadis in my mind - temptress, seductress (in a non-pedophillic way), serpent, Delilah... The would have been how I played Jadis - but only in this scene. In the other scenes, Swinton was fabulous. I especially loved her fight stances and how she battled with Peter. I hate how she stuck baby Edmund with a sword though - her eyes could have shown a bit more fire, and delight at killing annoying baby Edmund.

In the Battle of Beruna, William Moseley rises to the demands of role of the young king Peter whom he played. Peter looked magnificently fierce in his armour, but when he asked his centaur general ''Are you with me?" and he answers "To the death." there was something distinctly gay about the scene. Of course, it could only be me. I surfed the internet for more pics of William (because he pogi) and some his poses are a bit soft. I downloaded a clip of his appearance on Conan O'Brian's show, and he half-heartedly blew a kiss to the audience... HE BLEW A KISS and then waved at the audience... Then again, he could be just British.

The battle was absolutely terrific. I actually felt shivers running down me when I first saw the movie. I thought it would be a disorganized guerilla-ish war, as was sorta described in the book, but no. The Battle of Beruna could rival the Battles for Middle-Earth in The Lord of the Rings. Peter's unicorn was absolutely beautiful, with white-blond hair, just like Peter. Edmund was on a cliff with Mr. Beaver and Centaur archers at his command. He looked sort of weird wearing his armour though...

Peter's army was composed of Cheetahs, Centaurs, Rhinos. Fauns, and Eagles/Griphons, while Jadis had giants, minotaurs, dwarves, and tigers on her side. I liked how the animals fought - the tigers against the cheetahs, and the rhino unleashing his rage onto oncomiong dwarves. One of baby Edmund's archers conjured up a fire bird which released a fire wall to protect Peter's troops as they were falling back. Of course, the fire wall was nothing against the Ice Queen's powers.

Before the battle, Jadis had sacrificed Aslan at the Stone Table, and during the battle she wears with thick frock of blond hair over her shoulders and chest - it looks like she had Aslan shaved then wore his fur as a mark of her victory. Peter had a shield on one hand in a sword in the other while Jadis had a sword in one hand and her wand in the other - which is what makes her fight stance so cool. In one scene she was attacked by 2 flying Eagles - she struck an attacking Eagle/Griphon with her sword, and then the other with her wand and it turned into stone and crashed into some rocks. When Edmund saw her approaching Peter, he ran after her and destroyed her wand, so he plunged what was left of her wand into baby Edmund's stomach, leaving baby Edmund to die and going after Peter, this time with two swords.

As Jadis and Peter were duelling, Aslan appears and distracts both. Jadis manages to get Peter to the ground and pins his chainmail to the ground with one of her swords. Just as she's about to strike, Aslan appears and makes lapa the White Witch. That is the end of the Queen Jadis - it was almost as anti-climactic as the book.

But cinematically speaking, the scenes were absolutely beautiful - the music dying down just before Peter's army clashes with Jadis' minions, and everything going slow-mo as Jadis was being killed by Aslan; the coronation of the four thrones of Cair Paravel - Queen Lucy the Valiant, King Edmund the Just, Queen Susan the Gentle, and King Peter the Fabulous - I mean the Magnificent.

As for being a book adaptation, for once, I am impressed and I think that the movie is so much better than the book. One thing though: Aslan in the movie... He's as beautiful as he's described in the book, but the movie fails to establish Aslan's godhood and greatness. When he appeared out of the tent, it almost looked anti-climactic. He was cute and cuddly, and also fierce and surly - but he did not look like he was a god. He just looked like he was a captain or a general of the Narnian army.

Despite this one major flaw, the movie was amazing. I've seen it a couple of times, but I don't intend to see it again, not for a couple of weeks, at least. It's not like Harry Potter, which you can see 5 times in a row. Narnia, after seeing it two or three times, starts to lose its luster. See it more than 5 times, and I bet you'll be bored and you'll never want to see it again. But that doesn't stop me from saying that I loved the movie, and I hate to say this, but I think it was MUCH better then Goblet of Fire... Sorry baby Dan! ^_^

Friday, January 13, 2006

Sliding Doors

Friday; January 13th, 2006...

An incredibly hectic day that starts in my usual manner: I get up, pull my hair into a loose (very, very loose) pony, put my glasses on, brush my teeth, and go upstairs to have breakfast... Our house is inverted, we have the dining room and kitchen and family room on our 3rd floor, the bedrooms on the 1st and second storeys. After reading the paper (nothing much, Angelina Jolie is pregnant with Brad Pitt's baby, there are two reviews of Narnia - I have yet to write mine), I zoom off to bathe and dress, gather my school things, have my lessons and exercises photocopied, have my Comm III class (easily my favorite this semester - for obvious reasons), have a consultation for Comm II (screw the photocopied exercises, we'll have those next meeting) and try to dismiss early because I have classes at the Ateneo at 5:30pm. Of course, I dismiss my class late because the consultations took too long - I'm too yappy, I know.

Instead of taking the Taft LRT to the other LRT station (which passes through Aurora Blvd), I took a jeep to Sta. Cruz/Recto because, basically, the LRT stinks - literally and figuratively. I go down the LRT Doroteo Jose station and walk a million miles to the Recto Station via a walkway, where I can practice my strutting.

Like any normal person, I want to sit when I get on a train, so I force myself through the crowd and manage to find a seat on the right side of the train, directly facing - oh my god... - someone who looked extremely adorable, even if he was wearing an FEU PE uniform (I have nothing against FEU, but they should seriously rethink their colours - green and yellow? Shruberry, anyone?). He looked perfectlty like this student that I like - soulful, puppy dog eyes, adorable messy hair, and a killer smile plus a bit of facial hair. Boom should know.

He sat right in front of me, and I just couldn't help but stare at him. At first, I was a little conscious about eyeing him directly, even if he didn't see me looking. He had his bag on his lap, and his arms were twisted in a weird sort of way - his thumbs were on his knees pointing inwards. When we got to the Legarda station, he started noticing me gawking at him. He would look at me, I would stare him in the eyes and he would shyly look away - actually, his eyes would sway and look at (probably) the window behind me. I would do the same.

Along the Legarda-Pureza way, I remember someone telling me that you had to stare a guy in the eyes for at least three seconds to make your presence known. So I did, or at least, I tried. I would look at him, will him to look at me, and he would - but only for a fraction of a second. A few times that happened, and either I looked away (still to coy) or he looked away (looking extremely shy).

Then, once, he looked at me while I was looking at him - I counted to three - and he was still looking... four, five, six... can't stand it... seven... I looked away downward and sideways and covered my lips (which could not help but shyly smile). I looked at him again, he was smiling, at least, the tiniest, most insignificant upward curve was on the side of his lips.

My mind started making excuses for why I was staring at him just in case he actually talks to me - he reminds me of a student (NO!!! Too obvious, and besides, I don't look old enough to be a teacher - at least, I think I don't); he reminds me of an ex (Still too obvious); he reminds me of a second cousin - and he does. His name is (also) Benedict, and I haven't seen him in ages.

Alas, just when he was starting to see immortals like me existed on this eartly plane, someone who annoyingly looks like Mickey Celles steps in on the train and stands directly in between us. Now all I can see are his ears... And he doesn't seem like he's trying very hard to get another look at me. So for two more stations, all I see are his elbows, shoes (black, rubber ones), and the messy back and sides of his hair. Then, at one station, the person sitting on my left got off and the seat beside me was temporarily vacant, so I moved left; the standing Mickey in front of us seems to be tired and walks off a bit, and for a full second, I look at him and he looks at me while I was thinking - 'Sit here!'

Alas, a woman with really icky sneakers sits at my right, and he's looking away again... plus annoying Mickey returns to block my view.

The train keeps moving and arrives at the Cubao station. He gets up, looks at me tentatively, and walks off the train. Sigh... I'll probably never see him again....

I get off after a couple more stations, and I get to school a few minutes before 5:30. Just reports today, so I didn't study (actually, I was planning to study during my break in Manila, but I got lazy and started checking papers instead). Then, my favorite phrase was uttered by our professor - get a 1/4 sheet of paper please... HANG ON!!! We aren't supposed to have quizzes in grad school!!! And what's worse, it's enumeration/identification - this is my Comm III style, but I really did not think it would be used in Grad School! WAAA!!! I got 4 out of 10... /sob

I'm really tired by now, and although the professor is one of the best I've had, I still felt quite tired... and after him would come three reporters! What a day this has turned out to be... and the second reporter - Angelo - seemed to be blabbing and blabbing up in front about economics and Financial/Investor Relations... at least he's completely adorable and nice to look at. He's your typical Atenista: good-looking, tall, well-built, accent with a slight lisp, and completely boy-toyish. Of course we've had about three or five words between us for the entire semester. He has a knack for disappearing immediately after classes. He did shake my hand when we met though - big for me because I don't like being touched by (or touching, for that matter) people I don't know. Haptics, for me, is a deeply personal non-verbal gesture.

Anyway, I've just gotten home, and I'm really tired now. I still have classes tomorrow at 9am, so I should go to bed now.

For people who've read my two previous posts and are wondering about my upcoming post about Shenzhen (read: sen-jen), it probably won't come. All you need to know is that I spent a ludicrous amount on cute pieces of jewelry that I probably won't be able to wear because I commute and I'm afraid of loosing things I've bought. The flight home was delayed, but the flight attendants were all sooooooo cute. Two out of the three were gay, but that didn't stop them from being bloody adorable. The other guy, the cutest of the three, was straight, but he kept checking himself up with the mirror in the front lavatory. There was also this cute Chinese guy sitting in front of me who kept popping his gum - so the entire flight (even when I fell asleep), I had LSS of Chicago's Cell Block Tango: "You pop that gum one more time... and he did. So I took the shotgun off the wall and I fired two warning shots... ...into his head... He had it coming, he had it coming, he only had himself to blame..." OK stop it now...

Well, that's all folks!! I'll keep you posted on more stuff soon... ^_^ NIGHTIE!!!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Happiest Place on Earth

They say that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth - and I hate to go against a fabulous title, but it's not all that... oh, ok... it is!!! ^_^

As I was saying: My mom, my booger brother, my two aunts, and I went on a tour to China and Hong Kong over the weekend. The tickets were really cheap, so we grabbed at the chance to get on a plane and go shopping in Hong Kong. As it turns out, it was cheap because people who go on it are cursed to travel the entire way and see China and Hong Kong via a bus - I swear, the only free time we had was basically New Year's Eve (or 2nd night), and by then, we were just too tired to move out of the hotel (where only the receptionists spoke understandable English), and out into Shenzhen city where NO ONE SPEAKS understable English except the sales people.

I woke up pretty early on our 2nd day (Dec. 31) and looked around the room - mom was gone, and I was alone. The hotel was fabulous, and really, really nice. The bed was kind of small though, I almost fell over the side of the bed. Because of the booking mishap - we were supposed to get two rooms: one for three people (My Mom, booger, and me), and another for two people (my 2 aunts). We ended up with three rooms instead. Booger had to stay with one of my aunts, I stayed with mom (ever the mommy's girl...), and my other aunt had to sleep alone.

Anyhow, I showered (lounged in the tub, atually - weee! Where's that rubber ducky I packed??) and then I met my aunt and my brother for breakfast (mom stepped out and explored on her own, she'd already eaten).

Together, the four of us went around the hotel block and into an underground mall of some sort. We looked around the food court and almost everything was Chinese Food, and I'm not too fond of Chinese. So my aunt decided to do to McDonalds - she asked a security guard who spoke very little English, but when he heard the name McDonalds he pointed us to the escalators and then said 2... So we assumed McDo was going to be two flights down - and it was! Thank the gods for the universal language that is McDonalds.

It was actually really funny - my aunt went over to the counter to order our food, and the moment she spoke English, the counter-girl freaked out and called her manager - hihihi! At least she was smart enough to get someone who could speak proper English. hihi!

After breakfast we were met by our tourguide - Andeys, Andys, whatever his name was. He was this really fat guy who spoke English with a mixture of British and Chinese accents. We went around Hong Kong, after picking up a few more people from a different hotel, and it was lovely. Everything just seemed so clean and so nice. It looked a lot like New York, but instead busy English street signs and ads, everything was written in Chinese. And of course it was a different thing when you stepped out of the bus - Chinese people smell funny...

After going to Jewelry City and seeing the world's biggest Amethyst mound (owned by Jackie Chan - is that how you spell his name?), and the Chinese Walk of Fame - sort of like the Hollywood walk of fame, handprints and all, but only of famous Chinese/Asian celebs like Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat, and Michelle Yeoh - we went to (finally!!) Disneyland!!! WEEE!!!

The bus parked at the very end of the parking lot, and we had to walk around fifteen minutes to get to the gates. Halfway through the walk, they started playing Disney soundtracks on the radios - it was great! I wanted to sing along to Mary Poppins' lullaby, but I was in public so...

When we'd finally entered the park - I snatched like half-a-dozen guide maps and distributed them to my family - with extra copies for my album, of course. The place was not really as big as the one in Florida, or the one in LA (although I barely remember LA) - think Enchanted Kingdom x5... But, of course, it was 2 million times better than Enchanted - things looked much cleaner, and it smelled better too.

I don't have time to describe everything in the park (because I'm starting to feel really sick now), but basically, it was really great! I wanted to roam around the entire park and seriously though about being just left behind Disney and Hong Kong - I could catch a flight home on my own (probably with booger). Everything was just so colourful and annoyingly happy, I also, eventually felt annoyingly happy.

We went on only a couple of ride because almost half of Hong Kong was there - it takes more than 30 minutes to line up for a 5-minute ride. Fortunately, when the 3-pm parade started, people went out of the line to watch it, and my brother and I were able to sneak into Space Mountain which was left line-less. It was a great thrilling ride; the lights were great, and you really felt like you were in space, not to mention the smell inside was oddly similar to the Space Mountain smell in LA. the ride was really fast and it tossed and turned you (and your belly) around - but oddly, I was the only one screaming - me and booger. The Chinese people on the same train were just silently enjoying the ride... weird.

We also went on a Jungle Cruise, and almost got wet. This time we were with one of my aunts; but we didn't have the camera! WAAAA!!! Next, we went to A Festival of the Lion King which was basically a 30-minute musical based on The Lion King, and it was simply fabulous!!! The colours and the singing, it was a feast for the senses! One thing though - the dancers and fire-eaters were too hot for the show to be completely wholesome. And there were these two actors (Monkeys) translating everything into Chinese. They got a bit annoying, actually.

Anyway - you didn't think I would leave Disney without buying a souvenir did you? I spent about an hour in the shop next to the Lion King looking at stuff I wanted to buy. I eventually settled on a Disney keychain which had different lights on it and a Micky Mouse doll with magnets on its paws and feet (which is now hanging onto my study lamp). I wanted to buy a silly hat or a headband, but they were too expensive, and they all looked pretty gay to me - a headband with Pooh on it? I did want to get a Mickey Wizard's hat though (from The Sorcerer's Apprentice - a wizard hat with mouse ears on the base), but I coudln't find any.

We had to leave at 7:30 pm because the stupid fat guide wanted to have us on a train back to Shenzhen (read: sen-jen) before 10. We all went out of the park at around 7:15 - my mom, and brother, and other aunt walking very hurriedly, and me and my other aunt taking pictures of everything cute on the way - Sleeping Beauty's Castle, Main Street with fake snow, a giant Xmas tree, cute boy sitting by the fountain...

We got to the bus and found the other passengers (all Filipino) there already, but we were still waiting for some others. The tour guide said he would meet us at the train station, and the driver, of course, spoke no English so we all got pretty restless when 45 minutes later, every one we knew was part of our bus was already there, and we still weren't moving. About an hour later, the park started preparing for the fireworks display - and the driver was still looking/waiting for only 1 more person. He would get on the bus do a head check (count us all), and then go down. After a few seconds, he would get on the bus again and re-count us. He did this for about 3 million times.

Some people got really pissed and decided to walk out of the bus for air - yours truly included, but I wasn't pissed at the driver - I was pissed at the lousy tour guide who got us out of the park too early, and made us wait for an unknown person when we could have been inside the park enjoying a few more rides (and looking for that Mickey Wizard Hat); well, him and the stupid and annoying loud little girl sitting behind me who would occasionally kick the back of my chair despite her mother's many warning. Stupid kid!!! Stupid mother who could not control her kid!!! Earlier that day, the same kid stepped on my foot and I gave her an extremely evil look, I actually saw her eyes water a bit. I wanted to do this again, but since her mom was sitting right beside her, I couldn't - she was a big lady, and she could stomp on my cute little self.

Anyway, someone had to go to the bathroom - the nearest was, of course, a little closer to the Disney gates - about 2 hundred miles away. So we started walking... On the hike back, the fire works started, so of course, we positioned ourselves in a place where the trees weren't so high and we could see the fireworks - which were lovely by the way...

When we got back to the bus, we finally left, without the mystery person the driver was looking for - and stupid little AD/HD girl still screaming and kicking behind me, her equally stupid mother had probably given her too much soda. Goodbye Mickey, goodbye Minnie, goodbye Space Mountain (which I wanted to go on again), goodbye Mickey Wizard Hat... in the words of Gen. McArthur, I shall return... and when I do, I hope I'll be with my friends, so we can all gawk and flirt with boys, of which there was a sufficient supply - haha!!!

We got to the train station station at about 10, and got found out that the mystery person the driver was looking for was actually one of the men who had been with us since that morning. Stupid driver! Stupid fat tour guide!!! YOU WILL NOT GET A TIP, so DO NOT EVEN TRY!!! /pif

When we got back to Shenzhen, we were met by our first tour guide, John. He gave us back our $40US deposit (to ensure that we would follow the tour - which is the reason we coudn't get off and go shopping in Hong Kong street markets... *sob, it was only forty dollars... we could have let that go... but then we would have to buy our tickets home on our own...). He dropped us off our hotel - icky and smelly little rathole with dirty towels which I was afraid (but forced) to use.

We had our New Year's Eve dinner at the restaurant in the hotel, as little less gross than the hotel itself, and the staff looked fun. My one aunt and I stayed behind because the room that the hotel had given her (and my other aunt) was very hot. They sent a girl who did not speak English, and we tried calling maintenance - Just leave the aircon on the person says... DUH!!! The AC's been open for 20 minutes, and it was still too hot in the room. In the end, my aunts just had to contend with the heat because it was no use talking with the girl they sent, and even less use talking to maintenance people.

When we got to the restaurant for dinner, Our waitress actually tried talking to booger (because he's very Chinito) in Chinese, probably asking him to translate. We all had steak dinners - either with rice or with potatoes. We thought it would be mashed potatoes, so my mom ordered me potatoes and my brother had the rice. It turns out when they say potatoes, they mean french fired potatoes - waaa!!! There was also something wrong with their gravy (which my mom, one of my aunts, and I had) - it tasted sour, and had something that tasted oddly like mayo. The garlic sauce (which my brother and my tita had) was nice though. Their rice was also pretty weird-tasting. I took half of booger's rice, and it tasted very distinctly Chinese. Even their milkshakes were lasang instik! Anyway, when everyone had finished, I ended up eating their left-over steaks... hihi!!

After that, we were supposed to go shopping, but we were too tired - it was way after midnight, so we just went up to our rooms and slept.

So that's how we spent the last day of 2005... next attraction on this blog: Shopping in Shenzhen, and Manila, Manila, I keep comming home home to Manila... hinahanap-hanap kita Manila, mga chuva mong chinuchuva-chuva... /ho ^_^

Monday, January 02, 2006

Charge it to experience...

Nihau!!! Hihihi!!! I'm not even sure if that's how they spell it, but basically everyone uses this greeting in China - where my mom, my booger brother, my two aunts, and I have been for the past three days.

We left last Dec. 30 - very early, actually. We got to the airport at around 11, even way before that, and our flight wasn't until 2:15. So we stayed at the terminal - looking for food and ending up buying really expensive coffees and siomais. From here on, the cuties start coming - and they don't stop until I get home. There was this Filipino-Chinese guy whose family took the seats beside mine at the terminal. One thing though - he was dressed way too fabulously to be straight - and he likes Happy (Clinique), which happens to be my fav. perfume.

At the terminal, it seemed like we waited for hours and hours - 2 pm rolled on by and there was no boarding call yet; 2:15 went by, still no boarding call; then along came 3 pm, and we got our first call. The plane left about 20 mins later.

Now, I haven't been out of the country since the turn of the century, so I thought it was really nice to be able to get out of this god-forsaken archipelago (not that I hate the Philippines or anything). And when we arrived in Canton (also known as Guanzhou [read: Gwan-jo] the capital of Guangdong Province), I thought it was the most spectacular airport I've ever seen. It was, at least, three times as big as NAIA, and much prettier than LAX. We were met by our China tour guide (John) when we got out of customs, and he took us for a 15 minute walk to get to the other side of the airport and on to a bus.

We were on a tour package, see, and we all paid about $350 US for a 3-day, 2-night stay in China (Mainland) and Hong Kong. Because it was so cheap, we had a lot of company - all from Manila. There was this family of Chinese-Filipinos (last name Tee, I forgot their first names, the mom's name is Delia, I think), a family of four with two really small kids, and a woman travelling alone whose China Visa was with us (we were in a group Visa).

So then, we were on our way. Our first stop is Guanzhou City, where John took us to a Chinese Herbal Medicine school - it wasn't in our itenerary (which said that we should go immediately/directly to Hong Kong via a train) so some people got pretty annoyed. It ate up a lot of our time, and we wanted to roam around the night markets of Hong Kong. The side trip was annoying especially since it was all just a big scam - a marketing plan disguised as a lecture with supposedly famous Chinese Masters (whose names were never even introduced).

After the scam, we went to dinner - we were a pretty big group so we were split into two tables in two separate rooms. Here, we got to know the other people more. My mom and I shared a table with the Tee Family and the single woman. The Tees were nice, they spoke Chinese (not quite sure which language though) so we had better service (since EVERYONE in China speaks horrid English - except, perhaps, the tour guides and the sales people, some of whom even spoke Filipino). They were really nice, very open people. The mom is quite outspoken, and she's great to her autistic kid, Daryl (I think); the husband's had a stroke, but he's recovered quite well; and the elder son is taking is MBA at the Ateneo, and he's only a two years older than me (Ateneo, forgot which course, batch 2003), and he's cute... Well, not really. He just has a lot of appeal - he looks very chinito, but I like the way he treats his brother - he's really sweet, but not in a condescending, annoying way - treating Daryl like a less than normal individual is not helpful for anyone... I have issues, I know...

But anyway, after a 45-minute train (para lang syang LRT) ride, we got to Hong Kong - Hong Hum station, I think. We were dropped off our hotel at around 11:30, but because of some errors in booking (stupid travel agency!), we were only able to get into our rooms at around quarter to 1. So we were, obviously very, very tired.

My aunt sums up our first day in one sentence - Just charge it to experience - at least next time we won't take any more tours like this - it wastes a lot of time, and wears a lot of people down...

Speaking of worn down, I'm a little worn down myself. I just got home a few hours ago (the plane was late - AGAIN!), so I'm off to bed now. But don't worry, there will be more to come - Disneyland, Shopping in Shenzhen, and boys, boys, boys!!! ^_^