Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thanksgiving Day in Bicol

I spent Thanksgiving Day actually sitting in 7-11 with a counter and stool waiting for a bus (for four hours). The day only commemorates the enslavement and massacre of Native Americans anyway.

Once I finally got a bus, I discovered too late that the passenger directly behind me had brought a live rooster in a tall basket and hooked it to the back of my chair. Th off-pitch cooing and the smell was so bad, I contemplated setting the rooster free while the woman was outside but decided the chances that the rooster would have a better life on the city streets of Manila or live a longer life were slim so I just sat there breathing deeply.

I had an unusual Thanksgiving. Traveled 10 hours to Santo Domingo, Lagaspi, Bicol for the weekend. The trip was long and ended with me being dropped at the side of the road in the dark next to two trikes on an unlit road. Only the spark of a lighter indicated that there were two men standing under the covered cement bus stop.

Of course, I am now in a Bicol-speaking region but fortunately most people speak a little Tagalog. One of the two men was able to get me into town. And I woke up the next morning breathing in the foul breath of a fellow volunteer snoring on a mattress close beside me, listening to the sound of the waves hitting the shore, and I knew that this trip was a good decision.

Mariah (pronounced like my name, I know 2 of us in the same volunteer batch; what are the odds!) house is across the bay from the foot of Mt. Mayon and view is fantastic. (See my photos on Its so big that I feel like the swim down the bay counldn’t be that far, at least 2 miles. Purple, blue and green_who knew a volcano contained such a motley of colors. It reminds me more of rock face near the ocean, marbleized, slick and green, pink, blue-black. Charissa, a geologist junkie but oceanographer by trade told me that the rocks are different colors due to how close they were to the earths core for how long and what minerals they contain. I think that I knew all of this but hadn’t thought about it in many many years. I was riveted, a geology convert…She told me about mollusks too but I can only absorb so much information without a notepad….I loved learning about the hows and whys though….If I’d had any mathematic skill I would have studied oceanography but alas, I can’t bare to even think about numbers unless it involves statistics, perspective measurements in drawings elements or picas. These all oddly appeal to me because they have to do with how to make images appear accurately on the page or bring into three dimensions the reality of many people and their lives. Fascinating to me probably a real snoozer of a conversation topic to others. Guess that’s why people always tell me I’m really bad at chit chat.


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