September 6, 2005
Alan Rudley, my escort, has become a friend. We had beer tonight after watching the movie “Red Eye,” where his sister worked as make-up artist. We talked about politics, movies, music, the American people, the Philippines and life as a whole.
One has to know and connect with people to really know them. Alan, a gentleman farmer from West Virginia, is just great. It would be interesting for him to experience the Philippines and see and experience life in the Philippines.
It’s been almost two weeks that we have been together and he knows when to give me space if I want it and to guide me when he feels I need some assistance. He’s a good driver too. We rented a car for several days to travel to St. Petersburg, where our appointments are. I serve as navigator and he’s my driver. You can just imagine me, who only read about the Interstate in novels and magazines, guiding this American through the highway and telling him to go to Exit 44 on I-275. It was just crazy but we never got lost.
People just connect if they learn to listen to each other. That’s what I did. I opened up to him and he told me stories. We swapped ideas, we disagree on things but we also learn from each other. He loves books and promised to bring me to this bookstore in San Francisco that is the “tambayan” of great American writers. I gave him my book and he finished reading it while we were on our way from Washington to New York.
Tampa, by the way, is a harbor and it looks like Subic. It’s just cleaner and the system works, unlike in the Philippines.
USA Today – ‘Destroyed’ city clear out
The Tampa Tribune – TOLL OF DREAD
The Wall Street Journal – Behind Poor Katrina Response, A Long Chain of Weak Links
St. Petersburg Times – Some allowed back as all warned away
Everything’s about “Katrina.”
By the way, I had corned beef for lunch at a deli in St. Petersburg and it was not like our corned beef. It’s meat as in slices of meat. This evening, my best bet for beer was the Budweiser although it’s not as good as San Miguel. I had chips and salsa for “pulutan.” I’m enjoying this part of my American education.
Americans who would be reading this will laugh. Filipinos too think they know more. But I’m going around at least seven American cities from east to west in just three weeks, traveling by plane, train and car.