What Have We Learned, Volume I

What have I learned so far, in this, my Learn Tagalog Summer of 2015?  I have learned quite a lot, my dear friends, quite a lot.  

I have learned that the l’il chubby bananas are delicious.  I found a bunch where some were ripe and some were still green.  Thank you, banana tree, for planning ahead for me.  

I have learned never to buy plastic bidet attachments, as I have lived thorugh the explosion of one.  

I have learned that using an induction burner in a tiny condo for frying rice and eggs and soupy things is a-ok.  Thumbs up all around.  I have also learned that putting a nice hard sear on your protein in a tiny condo is a smokey-and-the-bandit experience, and thank goodness the sprinklers didn’t kick on.  

I have learned that a walk through the Makati business district is a nice, quiet walk.  Oh, the streets are jammed with cars, but is jammed to a stand still.  So it’s actually quite lovely.  

I’ve learned that Filipinos give commands, even polite ones, in the most irritating choice of grammatical voice possible.  For example, today I was told “The upstairs dining area is closed” when I could see with my freaking eyes that it was clearly not closed… what they should have said was “We are not serving the upstairs dining area,” which would be understandable since the stairs are steep and treacherous.  Later a guard told me “Please go straight” instead of “the path is closed.”  He was trying to be nice, but I was like, “I have no intention of freaking going straight, dicknose, what is wrong with you?”  

I also realized that this preference for making very grating grammatical choices, I’ve known this since I was a little kid.  Filipino kids are constantly being told “you get away there,” and “you get down there now.”  and as a native speaker of American English I always thought, “What in the hell is wrong with you, why does a simple request have to be so demeaning?”  Guh, culture clash.  

I have learned that meals here in Manila are around $3.50 USD or less, and sometimes the priciest thing on the menu can be north of $6 USD.  

I’ve learned that restaurant rice is usually turned out of a caffeteria coffee cup, and the rice is just sticky enough to maintain that curvy ziggurat shape.  It’s not a pile of rice anymore, or even a mound from a rice bowl; it’s now a stack, a stack of rice:

It is now 7pm.  I have to make myself stay up until 10:30 pm, at which point I will take a Melatonin suppliment to try to reset my circadian clock.  Wish me luck.  

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