Thursday, January 17, 2013

Long Con Lance

He struggled and survived cancer, setup a foundation to help others who have it then went for the impossible – won Tour De France 7 times! Who wouldn’t be smitten? Ever since the first win he was accused of cheating and the accusations kept coming but he fought and proved them wrong in every forum. Did he really? He? Who’s a larger-than-life, against-all-odds victorious hero? But now it makes sense: He’s rarely caught smiling on cam and he doesn’t mingle with riders other than his teammates - because he’s a false champ who conned us all, this guy Lance Armstrong.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tight Like Skin

Ho Chi Minh

Hanoi, a northern city near the China border has cold winters while Ho Chi Minh in the south has tropical weather, hot and humid. As I stepped out of the tarmac at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the air hugged me tightly like skin; it kept me in like clothing, warm and comforting. I scanned the waiting area looking for a dignified diplomat in coat and tie. Being the Philippines’ Honorary Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh, Gerry was surprisingly dressed casually in white shirt and blue jeans. We shook hands as I started removing my winter coat. . “Welcome to Vietnam!”

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Rite Of Passage

South Africa

Under Xhosa tradition this rite of passage is more elaborate. While the circumcision man was sharpening the knife with a rock, the boy sat on a coconut under a guava tree whose leaves he chewed – to disinfect the wound. “Are you ready?” Before the boy could answer, he lifted the foreskin, inserted the knife and in rapid succession hammered it with a stick! “Spit on the cut.” He did. And the pain, the hotness, and raw feeling it felt gave way to a scream that has woken the entire neighborhood! That was my rite of passage. I was a man!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

As Tall As A Totem Pole


Since it’s the New Year, let’s go back to where I started writing about - Travel Stories. Now, one of the more interesting aspects of travel is local houses’ architecture. Hanoi for example has houses like Totem Poles, long and slender that can go up to 8th floor! That is, one room for each floor placed on top of the other! Kitchen and living rooms usually occupy lower floors, toilet the middle, while bedrooms the top. And when you reach the topmost floor, you will feel like planting a flag, a white cloth or something that flutters in the wind….