Sunday, July 8, 2012

Travel Thoughts

For the most part of my travels previously, I have been alone.  Most of them are business trips, and I am the only one sent by the company.  But as of late, I have had travel companions.  And I have finally started to enjoy the company, the banter, the bonding due to shared experiences, especially during foreign trips.

But yesterday, here in Taipei, I was alone for the first day.  And I got to remember again a lot of the experiences of traveling alone.

Like what seems like endless walking.  I am quite uncomfortable taking cabs, fearing exploitative drivers.  So I would rather walk, with map on hand.  I actually have fun looking for places.  And the best part of walking is the chance to re-trace steps quickly in case you feel lost.

I used to be able to walk for hours, not even stopping for coffee.  I had such limited time since the shopping and sight-seeing were just squeezed in the business meetings.

I also enjoy being able to hear Mass at different Catholic Churches.  I could see the ranges of attendance, from packed churches in Dubai, Toronto to the almost-empty parishes in London, Paris.  Despite the Vatican's enforcement of uniformity across all dioceses, Masses are celebrated in different ways in different countries.  And that makes for some confusing behavior (why are they standing or kneeling at this point in the mass?)

In certain OFW-countries, I get comforted by seeing kababayans around.  After a long time of not hearing Tagalog, listening to sometimes loud and rowdy conversation in Tagalog is music!  And where the Churches are, there will be the small enterprises catering to our unique Pinoy tastes: pirated DVDs, remittance centers, karaoke, polvoron, adobo.  Yet I can't help but feel sad for some of them, for those who felt they had no choice but leave family and friends behind just for higher pay.  I still feel that way every time.

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