Right, pay attention you lovely people.

This is going to be a slightly odd post.  It was not deliberately intended to be thus but, as you know, I like to do things chronologically and these are just the way things appeared in my photo files.
Mac suffering.
I shall warn you in advance this post will feature me having my fingernail (singular) painted with nail varnish, my beard straightened by a long-haired bloke dressed as a woman and several other photos of blokes dressed as women.  This I assure you is all purely coincidental, I am still the same guy that left UK what seems like a very long time ago now and by way of balance I shall also include a very pretty young lady (a real one) whch is posted purely to make a valid point about labour intensive industry in the Philippines, honestly.

To the begnning then and just to put you right off your dinner, here is my mate Mac grimacing as he tries one of his firecrackers, which I described before.  I don't know how he survives here as he breaks into a sweat eating a digestive biscuit and chillies are way, way out of his comfort zone.

Now to the slightly unusual things mentioned, firstly the nail-painting.  This actually is not a new thing for me despite what you may think, namely that I have gone completely native and perhaps marginally insane here.

Fergy's mini-manicure.
I first noticed this type of thing in Cyprus and Greece some years ago.  I keep the nails on my right hand pretty long for the occasional finger-picking I do on the guitar.  However, I noticed in the Eastern Med that men who wouldn't know a fretboard from a fuschia tended to grow the little fingernail on the right hand long and often painted it.  Never one to miss an idiotic thing to do, I followed suit on an occasional basis and indeed spent most of last summer raiding the nail varnish supply of the young lady I was house-sitting for with mixed results, it has to be said.  I think the glitter purple was perhaps a step too far.

Anyway, I have settled on plain black for this trip and I actually quite like the look.  I must be the only man in the Philippines whose bar bill includes 9 pesos (about 13 pence) for nail varnish!   The girls who work here actually quite seem to like doing it.  I suppose it is not every day they get a chance to test their beautician skills on such an unusual subject.

Father, if you are reading this, don't panic, whatever you do and it is only going to get worse!

Yes, it's a bloke.
And worse it gets.  Don't ask me how I get myself into these situations but it seems to happen to me.  A byot (homosexual / transvestite / transexual) friend of MacMac's (whom you have already seen in an earlier post) pitched up one night and proceeded to strighten his / her hair in the middle of the bar wthout the slightest trace of self-consciousness.  Imagine that in a bar in the UK where hair styling s deemed to be some sort of arcane art akin to alchemy and no "female" (I use the word loosely here) would be seen dead doing it in public.  Of course the jokes started going round and next thing I was sitting having my beard, which is getting delightfully out of control I must say, mangled by 220 volts and Heaven knows how many degrees Farenheit.  What can you do only grin and bear it?

A close up of the evil deed.
Although it smelt like my face was the subject of a major conflagration it was actually entirely painless and provided no end of amusement for the assembled masses in Pirate's Bay.  I have to say that when (s)he was finished, my beard looked the smartest it has for a long time.

Get to work wnd don't burn my chin!
I do like to provide a little comic value when I can, normally immediately after I pick up my guitar or worse, someone elses that is detuned to DADGAD or something even more incomprehensible.

Jade with the broom.
Here is the not entirely gratuitoous photo of a delightful young lady wielding a broom in order to make a point, and the point is this.  Labour is cheap, very cheap here.  The lawns, and this is just outside my cabin, grow luxuriantly given the rain and sun.  Ronnie slogs round it about once a week or more with a petrol mower but rather than buy a grassbox for it, it is cheaper to get the staff in their downtime to sweep up the grass into piles.  The cut grass is then given to the people next door to fed the carabou (buffalo) on.  This may or may not be a commercial arrangement, I really don't know.  As I said before, nothing is wasted here, the West probably has much to learn about recycling from a  place like this.

The Motong Maniacs.
And finally, as promised, yet another photo of (amongst other things) a bloke dressed as a girl.  This was taken in a place outside Dumaguete where I have somewhat inexplicably become something of a minor celebrity, probably because I am the only person in the establshment who can sing Western songs reasonably credibly.  Slightly embarassing when the punters applaud you before you have sung a note, so no pressure then!  I don't even get to choose what I sing any more as Wangbo, the operator (extreme right of picture) seems to have taken it upon himself to know what I want to sing and actually gets it right most of the time.

Left to right Kimmy (whose child's party it was at the great beard pulling of a previous post), Chirlie An, your humble narrator, Fay aka Fernando and a slightly worse for wear Wangbo.

Yes, I am being slightly flippant here as is my wont but in all seriousness, these people have been so nice to me, extended me so many small kindnesses and generally been very good friends, it will be yet another thing that saddens me when I move on from Negros soon.  People at home will know my views on karaoke but it is inescapable here so you might as well go with the flow  and, if I do say so myself, Chirlie An (formerly a singer in a name band in the Phils before she started a family) and I do a fairly passable duet version of the Scorpions "Wind of Change".  Whilst I would much rather be playing live with a band, the enthusiasm and reception from the Philippino audience is quite something to see, it really does knock me back a bit sometimes.

This seems like a fairly logical place to break now, let my Father and sundry others catch a breath about the sort of company I seem to have fallen in with not to mention my cosmetic adornments.  Believe me folks, not only am I as happy as a sandboy but I have been doing a lot of serious thinking about my future of which more in future posts and no, it doesn't involve a Philippino bride of whatever origin although a return trip here is most definitely on the cards.

Before I sign off, people know I have travelled a little and the most common question I am asked is, "What is your favourite country?"  Although not a parent, I suppose it is like asking a Father, "who is your favourite child?"  Until a few months ago, and with a gun at my head, I would have probably been forced to a decision between Nepal and Burma but now I'm not so sure.  Certainly, being here currently will cloud my judgemement and I'll wait until the dust has settled a bit before I would venture a further opinion but I do rather like the Philippines.

Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment