What's this about?

Ladies and gents our story begins with our author who one day packed up his bags to spend the next 5 years of his life on some tropical island far far away. This land is not like any place he has ever been to before. There is no telling of what he may encounter during his stay there but one thing is sure he is going to be in for one crazy adventure. And this is where you get to read about it.

What you say?

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Readers beware!

The stories told here maybe appear larger than in real life and at times may even appear outlandish. However, all actual events are in fact real (well, most of them). What may appear as a distortion of reality to some may only be due to the author's perspective of the actual events. Some say he is just not right in the head.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cherry blossoms

Last time I forgot to mention why I went to San Francisco in the first place, it was for the Japantown Cherry Blossom Festival parade! We don't have a Japantown or cherry blossoms in the Philippines so this was the first time for me to ever see such things.

The Peace Pagoda located in the Japan Center complex. It was donated by the people of Osaka Japan to the city of San Francisco in 1968.

After we finally found a parking space, which took one hour to do, and walking the 5 city blocks to the festival I was surprised to see so many Asians. Of course Filipinos are Asian and there are many Chinese and Koreans in our country as well but I was expecting to see more people who are like Tom Cruz, Salma Hayek or Usher. I guess since this was Japantown I should have expected to see many Asian people, like Japanese. Pero, I was surprised kasi, I hardly ever see Asians in American movies, maybe only Lucy Lu.

Anyway it was still very exciting. There many things to do. They had a costume show, live music, and a parade! We had a parade once for my school. We had a band, majorettes, we carried a statue of Mother Mary and everyone walked behind us. Well, maybe to the American it does seem very exciting but we had fun that time.

I think in America the parades are usually more elaborate because the parade had many people in different costumes, each having a different theme. Some people just wave but many gave a performance, liking cutting bamboo, playing drums, dancing and singing. It was my first time to see a parade like this.

After the parade we went to their mall. It was very small. I think the mall in my province is bigger but it looked very social. Many of the items looked like they were from Japan and they had many restaurants selling Japanese food. I feel like maybe I am in Japan! I wanted to buy something as a souvenir and taste all the food but I did not have much money with me. Sayang. And that Alex he is very kuripot you know. He don't like to spend any money. For the whole day he bought only one sandwich and that's all. No drinks. Maybe it's because he is like a camel he doesn't need to drink. But I think it is really because he is kuripot, talaga. They had a water fountain but I didn't want to drink because I'm afraid of having LBM (loose bowl movement). I hope next time I can come back but with more money.

Here are some more pictures from the Cherry Blossom Festival.

These ladies in the kimonos just got finished dancing along in the parade.

This person is dancing also... I think.

The otaku.

A golden shrine.

Look at his forehead, it's a Neo Nazi dragon! Joke lang. Long before the Nazi's turned the swastika into a symbol of fascism and racism in the West it had been a spiritual and religious symbol to that of many different cultures. Even to this day it still remains as a holy symbol to many, especial to those in the East.

Some pageant contestants.

The world-renown musician and composer, Kitaro, who won a Golden Globe award for his work on the soundtrack of Heaven & Earth.

They ended the parade. I don't know the meaning behind what they are doing, however.

Last but not least the pageant Queen and her court!

This of course is only based on appearance. Maybe in America the pageants are based more on personality. Or maybe, like in the Philippines it all depends on who sold the most raffle tickets.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wasted drive space

All my friends who have been to America have told me that driving in this country is very different from the Philippines. I thought maybe they drive on the left side of the road like in Japan but it's not like that. The roads here are very wide even on the freeways, much wider than in the Philippines. Not by the number of lanes but by the width of the lanes alone. I think the freeway that goes thru this town has 4 or 5 lanes. In the Philippines we have freeways with 4 or 5 lanes as well but here everyone drives very far apart. They don't maximize the space. In the Philippines we use all the available space of the road so we can have many cars going at the same time. I don't know why they don't do the same here.

Last Sunday Alex and I got caught in traffic on our way to San Francisco. We almost came to a stand still. I told to Alex,
"Why don't you use the side lane over there."
"You mean the shoulder?"
"Yes, that one. No one is there. Sige na."
"That's the emergency lane in case you have any problems with your car. We don't have a problem with the car."

He acted as if I did not know what it is. You know we have it in the Philippines too. Anyway, I told him,
"I know what it is for but there is no cars having an 'emergency' there."

Alex turned to look at me for a moment. Maybe because I am so pogi. Pero I don't think that was the reason why. He finally says to me,
"This is not the Philippines. This is America."

This is America? So what? I know that. He means to tell me because this is America he likes to sit around in his car, wasting time in the traffic? I don't like traffic, so I don't want to wait. But ok, I don't want to argue with him you know. Maybe he misses driving a car and wants to spend as much time as he can in the driver's seat. So I let him be but I was surprised to see no one else used it either. Everyone here, likes to stay in their lane, "in between the lines", even if they are going very... very... slow.

It took us an hour and a half to get to our destination but you know if I was the one driving maybe it would have only taken us a half an hour. My friend said that Americans drive everywhere because they like to drive. So maybe the rational is if they wait in traffic they can feel like they get to drive longer. Aywan ko.

On the way home there was no traffic. So I thought maybe Alex would drive slowly to stretch out his driving time but I was wrong, talaga. Alex's was driving so fast! I thought maybe he had to use the CR or he was upset but he told me it was neither. So I don't know why he was driving so crazy. He acted as if he was driving a sports car but we were not in a sports car. We were in a big family van going over 135 km/hour!! He told me to relax, but how could I? What he is doing is very dangerous you know. Pero, I don't want to argue with him again so I just try to sleep. I closed my eyes and prayed to God that I won't feel any pain.

When we get to his home town I finally wake up. I was happy to be alive but I had to use the CR very badly. As we got off the freeway we stopped at an intersection. We waited for a while and there were no other cars coming. I thought he was in a hurry but I don't know why he waited so long there. So I told him to go because I had to go too you know. Then he says to me,
"It's a red light. It will just take a minute."
"But there is no one coming. Look. Wala na."
"I know."
"Well, it does not seem like you know to me. Sige na."

Then Alex he turned to me and gave me that same look as before. You know I don't think I like this look. He tells me again,
"This is not the Philippines. There are rules here. You just can't drive across an intersection on a red light whenever you feel like it."

Rules, talaga? So it's the rules that make him drive like a bobo. We have rules in the Philippines too but if no cars are coming why not go? There was no traffic police there, either. So what's wrong? There is no harm in crossing an intersection when you are the only one there! Or to use the "shoulder" when there are no cars in an "emergency" there. It may be good to follow "rules" but what is the harm done in these situations? How about driving over 135 km/hr? That can be very dangerous you know and it is also breaking the rules. So what happened to those "rules" of his then, ha?

You know I think he was not being very considerate. He knew I had to use the CR. Maybe if he also had to use the CR he would have crossed the red light but I don't think that will ever happen. I don't know where he stores all his fluids but he almost never has to use the CR. He is like a camel.

Anyway, siempre it is generally good to follow rules but sometimes you should think for your self, de ba.

Before the toll gate going on to the Bay Bridge.

Monday, April 10, 2006

You eat too much

You know so many Americans are big. Bigger than most Filipinos. Even the Filipino Americans are big. I wonder why? I think it is because Americans eat so much. When they buy food everything is so big! The pizza, the hamburger, the French fries, the drink everything is so malaki!

One day Alex wanted to buy jamba juice. I never had a jamba fruit before, so I ask for only a small size because I might not like it. But then they all told me it taste very good and I should try a larger size. So sige na, I told them I'll have a regular. When they come back though it's so maliki! Sugoi! It's good enough for four Filipinos. I couldn't finish it all in one sitting. I had to save it for later but everyone else they finished it so fast.

On the same day they also bought super burritos! Talaga it's so super. It's not a regular burrito. You can feed a whole Filipino family with only one. I have never seen a burrito like this in my country. It was masarap, but I could not finish mine again because it was so big. It was bigger than Alex's forearm, talaga! But that Alex, oh my goodness, he finished it all in one sitting! I think that's why he is taba.

Americans eat too much.

This is a regular sized Jamba Juice. It's probably bigger than a supersized cola in the Philippines.

See the toy arm? That's like Anna's arm! Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating... just a little.

This is a wet burrito from Papa Chuy's Taqueria in Pleasant Hill, CA. I don't think they have any burrito like this in the Philippines. (edit: Oops, plugged the wrong restaurant. All fixed now.)

It really is big! No exaggerating.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Coming to America

Before I left to America everyone said I would arrive in time for spring. They said the weather would be so nice and cool. I thought that would be wonderful you know because it can get so hot in my country during this time. Sometimes you can't even sleep because it's so hot, talaga. But when I get here, it's not spring here! Hindi! This is more like winter in Baguio! Maybe, even colder. You know I bring only my chinelas, some short-pants and t-shirts because in my province it is always warm. Now, I don't know if I can survive like this. Everyone here wears rubber shoes, long pants, sweaters and thick jackets. Filipinos here dress like Eskimos, not like tropical people. This is not right.


Seeing how I'm no longer on the island, at least for the moment, I've decided to make a little change around here. Instead of talking about my experiences on the island (How can I do that when I'm not there, anyway? )Kuya Boy is going to give you a first hand account of what's life like in America from the perspective of some one who's visiting here for the first time of course.

So until further notice ladies and gents here's Kuya boy.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Time to go home...

Well, this looks to be my last post from the island... for now at least. I got two more days left actually but I'll be spending them in Manila (the real Sin City) before I head off... I don' have much else to really say except, I want to go home. So for now, so long.

Home by Michael Buble

Another summer day
Is come and gone away
In Paris and Rome
But I wanna go home

Maybe surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
I just wanna go home
Oh I miss you, you know

And I've been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you
Each one a line or two
“I'm fine baby, how are you?”
Well I would send them but I know that it's just not enough
My words were cold and flat
And you deserve more than that

Another aerorplane
Another sunny place
I'm lucky I know
But I wanna go home
Mmmm, I've got to go home

Let me go home
I'm just too far from where you are
I wanna come home

And I feel just like I'm living someone else's life
It's like I just stepped outside
When everything was going right
And I know just why you could not
Come along with me
But this was not your dream
But you always believe in me

Another winter day has come
And gone away
And even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home
Let me go home

And I'm surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel alone
Oh, let go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I've had my run
Baby, I'm done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It will all right
I'll be home tonight
I'm coming back home