Friday, August 08, 2008

Philippines Trip: The Green Room Redux

When travelling in the Philippines, I am usually forced to stay one or two nights in Manila. Thanks to Bread, I stay at a cheap, $350 peso-a-night lodge called the Townhouse. This time I stayed in the same room that Bread and I stayed in on our return from El Nido and Puerto Galera, the Green Room.

Having watched all the TV I could in the lounge area, I decided to hit the hay around 11:00 and get up bright and early at 6:00 and go to the airport. Lights out for me, but next door in the Front Room, someone is watching Star TV. I don't know how their picture is, but there is nothing wrong with the sound.

I snooze lightly for about an hour and them am completely awakened by Wow-Wow-Wee! Wow-Wow-Wee! coming from the Front Room. This is a Filipino game show that gives away soap, aspirin and houses. I know this because the 3-hour bus ride to Manila showed it continuously.

All around the Townhouse are notices stating PLEASE BE QUIET AND CONSIDERATE OF OTHER GUESTS. As visually-needy as Front Room seems to be, I am surprised that he missed this. Maybe he's dead. No, I can hear him snoring. Can you snore when you're dead? Dying?

I listen at his door to make sure it's coming from his room. Yes. I walk downstairs to the first floor to check if I can hear him. Snoring, check. TV, check. I decided to knock on his door and tell him to knock it off. He doesn't respond to a light or medium knock. Maybe he's in a coma. Can you snore when you're in a coma? I give up, go back to my room. I try to sleep, but the machine-gun burst of Tagalog from the TV followed by his slow, snorting snore is an impossibly disruptive rhythm that I cannot get used to. It's like the morning taxi ride - coast,brake, slam! - but in reverse.

This continues until 4:00am. Suddenly, there was silence. A one-minute beep from the TV signals the end of the broadcasting day. Front Room has even stopped snoring. I can sleep.

For three minutes. Peach Room is on my other side. Peach Room is an elderly, one-eyed, shirtless European and his Filipino escort. He is a couple of minutes late on his shift for TV duty, so he tries to make up for it by turning it on at full volume. And conversation:

Herr Pirate: "...make exercise? Heh, heh, heh!"
Lusty Wench: " Hee, hee, hee!"

Good Lord. I just want to make sleep. Now I'm going to make sick. I decide to take my shower the instant he starts his exercise "routine." May your sets be 1 and your reps few.

Making sure that Peach Room has finished exercising, I return to bed. I check my flanks. Nothing from Front Room and Peach Room has turned down the volume. That means I can get an hour-and-a-half of sleep. No. It doesn't.

Front Room is now on full automatic. One minute of every ten, the TV emits its we're-still-off-the-air beep. The remaining nine minutes are quiet. The beep starts high and sharp but seems to lose its shrill tone and its B, just becoming a long eeeeeeeee that isn't too bad. I can do this. Then it stops abruptly and its loss wakens me. Ah, but now it's completely silent. Sleep is forming like B-movie ghosts and I'm almost there when The Beep must iterate that they, yes, are still off the air, thank you.

Now my turn. My fan starts to scream louder than Front and Peach's best combined efforts. I can't take it. I go downstairs and sleep on one of the hardwood benches next to the driver. It was a good twenty minutes.

Time to start my goodbye to the Philippines. I find a very reasonable taxi and arrive at the airport at 6:30. After standing in line for about 10 minutes I notice that nobody is going in. I also notice that I'm the only white guy in line.

Two signs, two entrances next to each other: Entrance and OFW Entrance. Oops. I'm not an Overseas Filipino Worker, so I think I'll just try the plain,old Entrance. The line is short and moves quickly. I produce my passport and confirmation printout for the security guard.

Security Guard: What's your flight, sir?

Me: Here. Cebu Pacific at 11:00.

SG: This is for the 27th.

Me: Yeah. I know.

SG: Today is the 26th.

Me: Nooo...Uh...I'm early?

SG: Yes, you are. Your flight is tomorrow.

Me: Okay, thanks. (I start walking away.)

SG: Uh, sir? Could you come back, please?

Me: (Very hopefully) Yes?

SG: May I see your confirmation again, please?

Me: Sure!

SG: (Turning the the screeners by the X-ray machine): Rat-a-tat-tat-tat...TWENTY-SEVENTH...rat-a-tat-tat-tat (Laughs and hands back my confirmation) See you tomorrow.

Me: Yeah...tomorrow. Hello Green Room.

1 comment:

P.I.M.P said...

I enjoy your blurbs. Keep it up or better yet write a book. I would buy it.