Sometimes my way to show up at a place and decide than where to go – fuck off travel guides, is a dead end, meaning doesn´t work at all, ending up at places like this.
I left Makati City again, the north of the Philippines was hit by a typhoon heavily today, to the airport, unsure my flight will take off to Cebu, taking a taxi, watching behind fogged-up windows kids bathing half naked between jamed cars in flooded streets. Gosh!
The domestic terminal was crowded. Passenger waiting for delayed flights. But at the check-in counter they were confident. You could hear the pouring rain drumming on the ribbed roof, crescendo and diminuendo, in the teeth of the stormy conductor. Being engaged immediately in a conversation. It still suprises me. In Munich people switched to the other side of the street and here they are so tremendously in a sweet way curious about me, that after the first one dared to talk to me, the second and the following ones are not a sniff away. So after the first jumped on his feet, enthusiastic to hear his flight being scheduled, he was already waiting for nearly 7 hours, the second asked, “Where you go?” – “To Cebu.” – “Ah me too!” Peter, a pastor of a weird church, on his way to a nationwide meeting, counting 20 pastors. The church founded in Germany, Moosbach Baden, he informed me. But after the two WW the community or his leader settled down in Oregon. Lovely guy basically. He invited me to stay at the church in Cebu. I had to reject his offer, not because I didn´t want to take the risk to sleep in Lord´s house, enduring exorcism or at least nightmares, but I felt still sick, struggled with fever and sour throat last night, couldn´t wait to crawl in a bed again. And like he decribed the fold, there was not much comfort to expect. “What you do for your parishioners, I mean your followers or however you call them, provide food or do other social services?” – “No, I just teach them the Word of God. Sometimes they give me a little bit money or food.” I really regret my decision not to go with him, not only because he was honest and in a way even for a pastor, a vegeterian – “Most of them, they don´t like to join our church, because the want to eat me.”, pretty ok, but also because…
I arrived in Cebu with three hours delay, was actually contented the flight was not canceled. The pastor asked me again, but I really needed to sleep, I didn´t want to be sick for days – could cross myself for this decision. So I rummaged in my memory and a place poped up, Traveller´s Lodge. Why not, sounds cheap and I decided not to screw the money, not to often, so more backpacking, even if I disliked – being polite – to listen to all this horrific boring and featherbrained young and hyperhormonal conversations at “Our Melting Pot” in Manila. “You wanna join us?” That was the question on my first travel, when I was young and not that weird looking. Fortunately I have a perfect cover nowadays. So I took a taxi again. The driver didn´t know the place, didn´t worry about. Cebu is the second largest city in (or on? – country or islands, anyway) the Philippines, so how he should know each hotel. Or shithole. So we were driving, me trying to guide him with my iPod and a map without location service. Unable to connect. Didn´t give me a start. And try to figure out which direction, arrived at a plae you have never been before, at night, with a friendly but useless driver. So after an hour drive, which is maybe basically 20 minutes, we did it! He dropped me off, I gave him a dollar tip, whatever for, to stand my patience maybe. “Traveller´s Inn”, splendid but faded sign at the top of the building, located in the center of a daily nightmarket. I felt to feverish to focus on anything around me, but could feel their curiosity, maybe at this place not many white people stay? – Didn´t wake me up at all. The guy behind the reception, the first barred one I had – no, didn´t wake me up, didn´t even ask how many nights – no, it didn´t! He didn´t want to see my passport or record anything. Looked at me, scared and surprised, “AC or fan?” – “AC.” – “400.” I handed him the money through the bars, felt like corrupting a warder to return to my cell, arriving late from day release. The hallway itself is spacy, wooden blackish-brown floor, wooden brownish yellow painted walls, wooden mustard doors, wooden jail, what an easy jailbreak this will be! I opened the door. Yes, he gave me the key for my cell, brainless lazy functionary of the law. Strawyellow walls, a mirror, not broken, a long haning rail, maybe strong enough to excercise some chin-ups, a light-brown plastic chair, a table, upholstered with a blue plastic tablecloth, blue fitted sheet, orange pastel-colored blanket with breaking white lines, an orange pillow with a print “Travelers Home Pension House”, the toilet with above shower, blue tiled, a in-squares-wood-imitating PVC floor coating and an AC, which also works as a heater or not at all, can´t check it, no buttons to turn. And the whole picture, for once drown in time and dirt, lots of both. Me, no more water in my bag, one apple, tired, too tired to move, too scared to leave the room and let my stuff behind, which is probably just paranoid, but – Ah! And a “No smoking inside the room” sign n the wall, affixed above the tiny bed. No window. Give me a bottle of rum and I feel like Lee the Agent in Naked Lunch. I immediately connected to the WIFI network, password “massachusetts”, and booked a room next to, I like the area, I like to walk tomorrow morning, not to hassle a taxi driver´s pocket skills again. So I decide to write… it´s 2 a.m., 20th of september and this is a strange day, was, is, still.
Addition: Good morning! After 4 hours sleep, fever gone, I could easily stay here for a couple of days. Slept at worst places. Not too bad actually. Cockroaches have an acceptable size. I would´t stay on the room during the day anyway. If I would´t be in possession of all that technical equipment, always in tow, always to take care of, always watch out for, pay attention to, if me would´t be enough. Pissing me off. I discovered some peculiar charm here. – Let´s go for a walk and change the location, unfortunately for good.