My American expat friend, Brother Tom, sent me a text message Wednesday morning. He was supervising the rice harvest at his farm and wanted me to come over. He was going to take some pictures of me in action. That sounded dangerously close to working so I replied that I would pass on that “opportunity” but would be happy to meet him later that evening for a round of San Miguels at our favorite hangout, The Shirven Hotel. It was my turn to buy. A bottle of Pale Pilsen costs 30 pesos (69 cents) as opposed to P13 (30 cents) for a bottle of Gold Eagle if purchased by the case, but since my expat friend was leaving to return to the States for six months, I threw caution to the wind and advised The Sainted Patient Wife I would be meeting my amigo later. My asawa did not protest, happy, I’m sure to get me out of “The Compound” for a couple of hours.
Besides, my expat friend from the Trappist Monastery told me he had an extra Green Lantern notebook he picked up when he saw the super-hero flick at SM City in Iloilo. Like I needed any incentive to kick back and share some tall tales and beer. Also, our favorite server, Mae, might be at The Shirven to bring us the beer in frosted mugs. That was a better incentive than the Green Lantern notebook. Mae is Brother Tom’s mountain biking partner and always charms us with her bubbly personality.
Walked over to our meeting place around 6 pm carrying the rechargeable flashlight my asawa insisted I bring along. It was twilight when I left “The Compound,” but I would be enveloped by darkness by the time I made the return trip home. There are street lights that line the path to “The Crossing” near where the hotel is located, but the majority of the time, the lights are out.
Mae later informed us that thieves steal the bulbs. I don’t know if they sell them for scrap or what. Some of our local tricycle drivers and motorcyclists could use some type of lighting because a good one-third of them never turn on their headlights even in the dead of night or early morning when my spouse and I do our daily walk. Guess they don’t want to have to replace burnt-out headlights.
If you think the local police are stopping them and giving them tickets, well, that’s not the case. Though a law may be on the books requiring vehicles to use lights during periods of darkness (and common sense would dictate it), many laws in the Philippines are simply ignored and not enforced. That’s just the way it is.
I was a few minutes early and Mae, who indeed was on duty until 8 pm, served me a chilled San Miguel Pale Pilsen along with a frosty mug. Sipped my brew and chatted with Mae for awhile. Aside from a couple of employees, no one else was in the hotel or in the restaurant/bar area. Tom arrived a few minutes later on his bicycle, and his Pale Pilsen shortly arrived. We chatted for a couple of hours, covered a wide range of topics including his rice harvest at the farm and nursed our San Migs, only drinking two bottles each.
Paid our tab of P120, gave our attractive server a P50 tip, and she escorted Tom and I outside where I proceeded to tell her that I would be passing a huge bita tree on my why home where a Lady in White was often seen. Mae’s eyes widened. Tom brushed it off. I insisted the story of the multo, ghost, was true. I gave them both the short version of the story, but you can check it out here if you would like the full account. But be careful what time you read it. Might not want to do it before bedtime. I don’t want to be responsible for any nightmares you might have!