Okay, so I seem to be a bit behind in posting. Just remember that I am on Filipino time, so why do today what I can put off til tomorrow? Bahala na!
Dumaguete, or the Land of the Gentle People, is a small city on the south eastern coast of Negros Oriental. The name of the city derives from the word “dagit” which means “to snatch.” The Muslim Moro from Mindanao used to have a jolly old time raiding their northern neighbor and making off with their daughters and other sundry plunder. There is a actually an old watchtower near the water that was used to keep an eye out for these rascally raiders. Nowadays it is used as a waypoint marker for clueless Kano’s like myself to help navigate around the squirrelly city.
It had just gotten dark, and I was instantly struck by the heat (it was durn humid), dust, noise, and the mass of humanity that was pressing all around me. The city is supposed to have a population of 120,000, and I picked a bad night to come out as every single one of them were crowding around me shopping, selling, or making their way to the local videoake parlor. It also seemed as if Dumaguete was on fire, but I later found out all the smoke was from the piles of burning trash that Filipino’s put out just about every day. Being a total noob, I had no idea where I was going or – more importantly – where I was. The streets were filled with tricylcles and the most motorcycles/scooters (they call them underbones) that I had ever seen.
My first ten minutes were spent mopping the sweat from my brow and making half-hearted attempts to cross the street. Not wanting to get squashed under a trike (pedestrians don’t really have right of way), I finally mixed in with a group of locals and crossed with them. This cowardly street crossing approach became my policy for the next week until I was finally able to learn how to cross the street by myself.
Being completely oblivious to the nature of things in the city, I decided to have dinner at the local Chow King. I ordered some sort of noodle concoction and it turned out to be a meal even worse than the one I had at the Wok and Roll in New York City. Absolutely horrible and needless to say I have not been back since to sample any additional examples of its culinary delights. Mind you, Chow King is a fast food franchise so I shouldn’t have expected too much.
Having sated my need for MSG and saturated fats once again, I returned to the streets, asked for directions back to the tricycle depot, and caught a ride back to my apartment, where I immediately turned on the aircon and slept off some more jet lag.