I had a tarot reading gig recently in Canyon Woods in Tagaytay. It was for an Oktoberfest celebration and the organizers chose a carnival-like theme for this year.
We came there early and was lounging around the club house while the other performers where doing their sound check. To pass the time, I did some tarot readings for some of the organizers.
One of them, Edith, saw me after we just had our lunch. I was walking around and decided to undo my bun, letting my hair down.
“But you had short hair earlier!” she said, mildly surprised.
It’s not an uncommon reaction. Tied neatly, I can keep my hair in a small man bun, typically tied behind my head. It also isn’t too obvious how curly my hair actually is.
Untied, my hair expands and occupies more volume, like a time-lapsed explosion. Even now, it looks like a Jewfro when I let it down.
When I was applying for a visa for India a few months back, the woman who handled my application asked me if I had a more recent photo; I told her the photo I submitted was taken just a week earlier.
My photo looked as if I had closely cropped hair because my bun isn’t visible. She saw I had one in real life because I tied the bun higher than usual on that day. So I untied my hair and made a bun lower, hidden behind my head, to prove that it was a recent photo.
I find it amusing how tying or untying my hair is enough to drastically alter my appearance. It makes me feel like I could turn myself into some kind of super-spy.
Day Twenty-Eight: A trip I can’t forget. (Baguio)
We didn’t have a fixed itenerary. The plan was to go there, visit some touristy places, and eat. Going to Baguio has become, for me, like going to a friend’s house — a friend who lives six hours away by bus.
I can’t remember exactly why I invited Rodj. I think it was because he was a bit depressed that time and I wanted to cheer him up; I was also itching to get out of Manila and wanted to have just one travel companion. Or maybe because I was already into him at that time. So I invited him to Baguio. It was our first out-of-town trip together.
We stayed at the Baguio Village Inn, a quaint old place made mostly from old wood. We ate at various places, some neither of us tried before. We went to a little fake cemetery in Camp John Hay, the Slaughterhouse district, and my favorite indie bookstore.
We went to the Bencab Museum; it was my first time to enter it. There was an exhibit from Gerilya, a local group of street artists, ongoing at that time and we enjoyed how the group poked fun at the Cordillera tourist culture.
I visited the museum again, several months later, with other friends.
Day Twenty-Eight: A trip I can’t forget. (Mumbai)
The only weekend I had when I briefly stayed in Mumbai was nearly ruined when I went drinking on Saturday morning after shift.
There is a good local beer in India called Kingfisher. It comes in two variants: white and red label. Normally, I drank the lighter white label; but on that Saturday, I decided to finally give the red label a try. It was good. Kingfisher was less sweet than Filipino beer like San Miguel Pale Pilsen or Red Horse, but has a nice earthy flavor and little bitterness.
Kingfisher Red also kicked like a motherfucker.
I was hungover when I woke up that evening, causing me to cancel meeting up one of the team supervisors who invited me over to his place near the sea. That really sucked major ass: the only Saturday I spent in Mumbai and I had to sleep it off. My hangover lasted well into Sunday and I was only able to go out after noon.
It is relatively easy to move around Mumbai.
Day Twenty-Seven: A wedding.
A favorite among the weddings I have been in was one where we blew bubbles as the newlyweds went out of the church. In most weddings, the guests would be throwing rice or flower petals. This couple thought of a nod to wedding tradition that was more environment-friendly.
The couple then both rode in bicycles — one for the bride, one for the groom — instead of taking a car to the wedding reception. It must have been a sight, seeing the bride still in her gown, riding a bicycle along the streets of Makati. People who saw them thought that it was a scene from a movie shoot.
Sadly, it was also a marriage that did not last. The couple separated a few years later, possibly breaking many of the former couple’s friends’ hearts. Some love stories just do not end up in an ever after.
Day Twenty-Six: Something that happened in a hospital.
I once accompanied a co-worker to the hospital when she fell ill at work.
She was deathly afraid of needles. That was not great if the doctor had to get her blood sample to find out what illness she has. I was coaxing her and soothing her as the nurses tried to get her hand set for the extraction. She was crying in whimpers the entire time out of terror.
I let her squeeze my arm during the extraction. She held on using her other hand so tightly, it felt like my arm was also drained of some blood while little nail marks showed up against my skin.
It probably took us at least fifteen minutes to convince her and make her relax for the blood extraction. The actual extraction barely took a minute.