Sunday, April 23, 2006

Handkerchief and Machete

Nope not cloak and dagger here, something much more Filipino.

Don't be alarmed but Charlize, Rosi and I are now holed-up in a hotel in an undisclosed place. Salvaccio's (formerly known as Tatay -- meaning father in Tagalog)drinking buddies have threatened, nay promised, to hack my head off with a machete at our next meeting. Luckily they were too drunk to follow through with their deep-seated desires. Perhaps even luckier still Rosi dragged me off the veranda and insisted that I stop talking with them.

Salvaccio managed to sell some of his watermelons and thenceforth to drink the money away with all morning and afternoon with his buddies. His buddies paid Rosi and Charlize and me a visit on the veranda. Sitting down as if they owned the place they both decided to smoke in close proximity to my young daughter. Once I put her down to bed I returned to the veranda to tell them to go away and overhearing them ask Rosi for money I naturally raised my voice and motioned for them to leave.

One of them repeatedly drew his thumb across his neck in a clearly threatening gesture and shouting. I told them both to fuck off and the next thing I know Rosi had dragged me into the bedroom and there were numerous people shouting and arguing. They drunken idiots cleared off and a very drunken Salvaccio appeared saying he was sorry. He always says he's sorry but clearly has no intention to stop being an idiot.

About 30 minutes later the two drunken fools who threatened me returned with machetes drawn. I walked to the path to meet them motioning with my hand that I was clearly unarmed with a machete and shrugging. That made them holster their weapons at least. That's when about 4 people, including Rosi, dragged me into the house and told me not to worry about it.

After about 30 more minutes of shouting -- I heard the words "rich", and "Canadian" and "fucking bastard" and "kill you" -- they cleared off once again. That's when I decided it was time to go. Rosi wanted to wait until the following morning but once I learned that they plan to lay in wait for me and get me next time I go to town I figured it would be better to go while they were still drunk rather than wait.

As it turned out my plan was pretty good. We packed and got our buts onto a tricycle. Rosi pointed out their homes to me as we passed by them. Yup the only route I had to town was on a path going right by their homes -- but they were asleep or throwing up into their outhouses as we passed by.

Sadly, as soon as Rosi's parents knew we were leaving they whisked Rowena off saying that she would not be coming with us. I felt we had no choice but to go when we did. I only hope we can find a way to get her back later. I shutter to think what life would be like for her living with that alcoholic with no taste in friends.

I'm not going to take this too much to heart but the way I feel right now is that you shouldn't say no to a Filipino asking for money, especially if your 11-day-old daughter is in the next room and most especially if he thinks you are rich. All the Filipino men I've come to know have been like this -- like children with machetes demanding that you give them money "Why not give me money? You are so rich"! What a sad, sad place. I'll be happy when I can leave with my family -- I only hope it will be whole when I do.

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