From Conversations

Private and personal conversations made public.

Zhangjiajie
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Conversions

He looks at my passport, and I know something is not right. The bank teller stares at my currency exchange form and gives me a look I can’t decipher. My stay in Zhangjiajie is ending, and I need some yuan to catch the last train out. His fingers tap the desk anxiously, adding an uneasy…

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Everyone’s Looking

“Dance with me.” His order is delivered with an adhesive stare and in a stoic tone. No distinct accent. Deep, raspy voice. But it is his deeper eyes that scream a million sexy words. Just ten minutes earlier, he said I could call him Ray. He pressed his back on the wall next to me, asked for…

Tales from Behind the Wheel: Si Aida, si Lorna, at si Fe

The driver greeted us with a smile as we hopped into his cab. “To Melaka Sentral, sir!” My friend Ces, as usual, took the passenger seat while Asta and I occupied the back row. The driver beamed, nodded, and responded, “Okay, okay,” and started to drive. It was our last afternoon in the historic city…

Pete

I do not remember just how many mugs of beer I have emptied into my belly but I am sure I’m not stopping any time soon. I dive into the mob, get lost in the pumping music, and vanish under the phosphorescent lights that move as if trying to put me in a trance. It’s…

The Locals

There was an overflowing sense of confidence in me when I finally reached the parking lot of the Preah Prom Rath Pagoda in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was my first time to ride a bicycle in almost 15 years and I was just so proud that I was able to reach the temple without losing…

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People Along the Way: The Solo Backpackers

“No stars tonight?” She put down her glass of pina colada and sat next to me on the bench on the top deck of the boat, floating softly in the middle of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. “Not even one,” I painted a faux pout on my face while picking up my bottle of Tiger Beer.…

Robert, Robbie, and the Robbery

The rain was just about to pour when a man approached us. It was five past nine o’clock in the evening and my friend Ces and I were walking towards a cake shop along Tomas Morato in Quezon City. “Hello, sir,” said the man. “Can I ask you a small favor?” While he was remarkably…

Tales from Behind the Wheel: Scary Rides

I’m always afraid to take a cab alone. I just don’t feel comfortable being alone with the driver and the  hold-up stories that I have been reading online are not at all calming. But it cannot be helped sometimes. Whenever I do, I take the passenger seat and start small talks with the driver just…