13. Half Empty

  1. 01. Giving It Away
  2. 02. Mind Games
  3. 03. Customer Service
  4. 04. Getting Down to Business
  5. 05. …And Not a Drop to Drink
  6. 06. The Commission
  7. 07. Service!
  8. 08. Instant Celebrity
  9. 09. The Pinoy Diet
  10. 10. Life As We Know It
  11. 11. Doctors’ Borders
  12. 12. Poor, Poorer, Poorest
  13. 13. Half Empty
  14. 14. Me and My Leg
  15. 15. Always Be With You
  16. 16. Going Underground
  17. 17. Decisions, Decisions
  18. 18. I Shall Depart
  19. 19. A Volcano within a Volcano
  20. 20. A Nod and a Smile
  21. 21. Not Fighting City Hall
  22. 22. Stasis in Places
  23. 23. Fond Farewells
  24. 24. Parting Shots

It happened so fast. It was first thing in the morning. Most of the staff hadn’t arrived yet. The office lights weren’t even on yet. I scampered down the curvy stairs, you know, not a circular staircase, but stairs with a turn, the steps fanning out from zero width at the pivot point. My left heel didn’t make contact with a step where I had expected to find one. In less than the blink of an eye — the mind works with amazing speed sometimes — I hoped the next step down was the floor, because if it wasn’t…

It wasn’t. I cannot recall when, if ever, my right foot had come in such close proximity to my eyes. But there it was, not an inch away, if only for an instant. I could not see my left foot at all. It was directly behind me now, having found the bottom, four steps below eye level. Executing a perfect split, my crotch made momentary contact with the staircase before my entire being bounded back to a standing position at its bottom — a perfect dismount!  An old woman screamed in agony.

Continue reading 13. Half Empty

12. Poor, Poorer, Poorest

  1. 01. Giving It Away
  2. 02. Mind Games
  3. 03. Customer Service
  4. 04. Getting Down to Business
  5. 05. …And Not a Drop to Drink
  6. 06. The Commission
  7. 07. Service!
  8. 08. Instant Celebrity
  9. 09. The Pinoy Diet
  10. 10. Life As We Know It
  11. 11. Doctors’ Borders
  12. 12. Poor, Poorer, Poorest
  13. 13. Half Empty
  14. 14. Me and My Leg
  15. 15. Always Be With You
  16. 16. Going Underground
  17. 17. Decisions, Decisions
  18. 18. I Shall Depart
  19. 19. A Volcano within a Volcano
  20. 20. A Nod and a Smile
  21. 21. Not Fighting City Hall
  22. 22. Stasis in Places
  23. 23. Fond Farewells
  24. 24. Parting Shots

A couple days to recuperate at Ian’s comfortable beachfront house on the shores of the South China Sea was just the tonic I needed. I had visited some posh hotels and resorts, but this was my first glimpse of gracious home life in the Philippines. For a few days, we did little more than chat, watch TV, and visit the beach while Ian’s staff tended to our every need.

Ian and his neighboring cousin Mario are well-known in the community, their mutual grandparents having lived in the nearby village of Aringay.  Aringay offered not much in the way of tourist amenity, not even a restaurant. Once again, the disparity between rich and poor was glaring, with some lovely homes standing next to ramshackle hovels. This time, however, we were hanging out with the well-to-do. Continue reading 12. Poor, Poorer, Poorest