Pulling a Kerouac and failing at it

March 10, 2010 at 9:28 am Leave a comment

A college friend and I—on the last day of the college term—packed our toothbrushes and two days worth of clothes among our school books and took a rickety bus bound South in an attempt to shake off the blues caused by a less-than-satisfactory grade in an algebra course we took that term (Math can go to hell, seriously).

I was already nursing a bad cold and by the time our bus screeched to a halt in the middle of a quiet town in Tagaytay, fever had already set in and I was obviously trembling underneath a flimsy thrift store hoodie.

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We lugged our totes nonetheless and decided to pull off a hobo stunt and sneak in one of the parks to spend the evening in. But of course, fearing for the little money we had and concerned for our safety, we resolved to find a transient home to crash for our two day retreat.

We found a modest bungalow near the market and a kindly mother of four—the transient home keeper—lead us to a gloomily-lighted, poorly ventilated square of a room with a single bed to share. By this time, I was ready to collapse on any flat surface given that my fever had decided to further ruin my supposed adventure. The cold evening draft brought me to curl up in a fetal position with my flimsy hoodie to warm me up. All the blankets were in the laundry—the landlady said—and brought my friend to the backyard to see for herself blankets hanging on a clothesline positioned by a fly-infested chicken coup.

It was a battle for me to sleep that evening and we were awakened in the early morning by the incessant crying of young children and a seemingly hassled mother—the landlady—barking orders to the lone maid of the household. My fever had subsided and I crossed my fingers that the communal bathroom had hot water. My friend thoughtfully informed the maid to help her prepare a hot bath for me. The scowling maid returned to our little shoebox of a room moments later with an empty, black-bottomed kettle.

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We set off to have breakfast at a park populated by horses with neon hair and odd people names like ‘Macho’ and ‘Baby’. Because it was a weekend, the park was packed with gregarious families and school children in physical education tshirts. We sat on a small spot carpeted with dead grass and ate our sandwiches. A little later, a dog came puttering about next to our tote bags, took a dump and left with—what I had imagined, perhaps from my fever—an evil grin across its dog-face.

Of course, we still had another day left to spend in this beautiful, quaint little mountain city. My friend and I sat next to a peddler of fat radishes, pondering on whether or not to take a bus back home or spend another day there, hobo style.

We resolved to spend some of our money on a decent grade B hotel room. I got up from my squatting position, dusted myself and all of a sudden saw radishes rolling across the small road. I accidentally elbowed the wooden tray of radishes and knocked the vegetables down rolling on dirt. The radish peddler, of course, threw expletives at me, a cue for me to start crying out of mounting frustration and exhaustion.

After helping gather the radishes off the road, a bus bound for Manila came rolling down the highway. My friend took one look at me, nodded and we jumped in after the barker emerged from the bus door. By that time, the horrible trip to an otherwise beautiful place had overshadowed our bad algebra grades and we were glad to be finally going home.

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Entry filed under: journals, travel.

Single file is our fav’rite style but still I’m yours Out of my element talk: Love

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