December 1, 2005

Travel Special for Christmas 2005

CHRISTMAS 2005
December 2005

I was in Beijing during the first week of December, Iloilo for the third, and Boracay. Welcome to December 2005.

If you’re wondering why I got lost for the longest time, and why I was suddenly out of touch, pardon me. November 2005, National Novel Writing Month, was very stressful indeed. I squeezed novel writing into my weekends while working on weekdays. I think my eyes shrank. Or popped and exploded. Or something. Not sure. Whatever it is, I ended up sleepless and spread out like butter smacked onto so much bread — and I still LOVED IT! HA!

So then, back to the story. Beijing in winter — minus 2 degrees Celsius, and with nothing next to my skin save a winter jacket. Nothing on my feet but sandals and the occasional rubber shoes when I finally chickened out and surrendered to the cold. How incoherent is this paragraph? Not as incoherent as I was while I shivered in the cold, that’s for sure!

Dr. Chel, my boss, had already gone to Beijing once before, but she graciously gave me leave to gawk and marvel at the city.

In all honesty, I didn’t expect Beijing to be so clean. There were leaf-less poplars lining the streets, skeleton-like and dark against the gray sky. There were temples and walls, buildings and townhouses aplenty. But there wasn’t a sense of clutter or disrepair. Beijing was more cosmopolitan, that I quite felt as though I had been plunged into another world when we toured the Forbidden City.

The food was great, too. We had hot pot twice (to the unacquainted, hot pot consists of having bowls and bowls of food before you, uncooked. It’s up to you to dip the meat/veggies/noodles into a pot of boiling water, and dip it in your own sauce. Ha. Mouth watering. Must wipe saliva off face. Not very becoming). We also got to eat at our hotel, where the waitresses were ostensibly giggling at us as we ate noodle soup first. Well, we didn’t know you couldn’t do that, so there.

We also went off with the China BIC staff bosses to a restaurant that showed us our fish before they cooked it. Roast fish. Check. Sticky rice topped with special sauce and delectable fish. Check. Fried squash fritters. Check. Inez’s current literary abilities thrown out the window. CHECK.

Shopping at Silk Street led us to wonderful bargains! Special tea cups. Check. Silk cellphone cases. Check. Lacquer elephant for Clem, who loves them effelunts. Check. Brains and ability to construct complete sentences, now completely discarded and forgotten. CHECK.

Why does journaling do this to me?

Wait, where was I?

Oh yes, Beijing. Now, our China trip was for business, so there wasn’t much done, save to monitor our BIC and make sure that everything was up and running. Whatsoever our reasons for going, and our circumstances, I loved Beijing! Drat, that was fun! I miss hot pot and squash fritters.

Now, on to Iloilo, where I had the merriest Christmas. Pictures to follow. Hey, maybe brains too!

And on to Boracay! (couldn’t wait for this one)

My pictures don’t fully capture the beauty of Boracay, but it sure was beautiful! Again, for the unacquainted, Boracay is one of the best beaches in the world. Its sands are white, sugary, and fine. Its sands caress your toes and drain your stress out.

I spent most of my time in Boracay just recharging and resting. My day would be spent swimming, which I love, as it’s the one sport I can undertake without injuring my back. My afternoons would be spent in the main beach, where I would hang out at D’Mall, shop, and eat with my parents and sister. Two restaurants stood out: Cyma, which serves Greek food; and Aria, which serves Italian food.

Greek = Sanctuary and Italian = The Romantic. Wait a minute…

At night, we would hang out at the main beach, drink shakes, or just walk on the strand and watch people. My favorite activity was wading through ankle-deep water, and watching the stars overhead.

There, I felt as though I was on no vacation — I was simply part of a glorious, glittering infinity.

Ah, brains gone, literary ability gone…memories remain.

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