It rained yesterday. You could hear it coming from two opposite directions, one the roar of trillions of drops bearing down from the mountains, crashing into tree leaves like so many bomblets blasting new paths through the forest; the second the shriek from my wife caught a block away yakking with one of her friends.
My wife made like a purple streak, Olympic speed, across the field, through the gate and into shelter. The roar of the train hammering across our tin roof was deafening.
Fifteen minutes later the sun was cutting through the billowing grey-white clouds, heating the wet to a heavy blanket of humid suffocation
This is the Philippines.
The place where, if you get wet, you just dry out.
The place where green is for some reason missing from the flag.
The place where water and land meet to form a way of life different from the normal world. Where ambition fades like a flower smashed down by sunlight, and laze is the mood of the day.
I don't even own a jacket anymore. Dressing warmly means putting on a shirt with sleeves.
I'm down to my last pair of shoes, and when they go, it is flip-flops at the mall, the bank, the church. One half the reason is that they don’t make size 12 shoes in the Philippines. The other half is that I am not about to pop for Customs fees that are more than the cost of the shoes. The third half is that I am comfortable bare of toe. And at this stage of life, I am master of my own destiny.
We are nonsense, we people. I regret the lack of brown pigment in my skin, protection from the tropical sun that I wish I had whilst dodging the pointy parts of my wife's umbrella as she goes to ridiculous extents to stay pasty pale.
Fortunately, she fails, as the sun is everywhere, and she is a delightful rich brown, the color American women would die for, and which she hates.
Beauty is more than skin deep.
Fan palms that would cost $150 in the U.S. grow like weeds here; I have to take my machete to them to keep them from overrunning the paths. Spiders like to hang over the paths, too, about face level. Ferns emerge in the shady damp corners of the yard as if I had planted them there, lush and lovely. At $25 each in the US, I figure I have several thousand dollars worth of ferns laying about. The huge timber bamboo shimmer in the breeze, 50 tall feet of gentle rustle that psychologists have discovered brings peace and calm to people.
The stuff of houses and fences and furniture, and peace.
I wonder why the Chinese are so blasted pompous and dogmatic. Their bamboo must be defective.
I have come to like the Philippines a lot.
The place has grown on me.