Thursday, March 14, 2013

Olive oil

YESTERDAY I TOOK the 0520 flight to General Santos. I hailed a cab to the airport at 2 am, immediately checked myself in, ate a ham-and-egg sandwich and drank a cup of brewed coffee (what was I thinking?), and I almost missed my flight because I was too engrossed with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (John LeCarré, he's brilliant) that I didn't hear the announcement over the speakers. I will have a month-long break, and I'm spending most of it at home. There's nothing like hearing your mother wake you up in the morning to get a dose of early sunshine and your father urging you to go to the gym. The former I can do; the latter will probably never happen.

On the way I met a 30-something woman, an OFW from Cyprus, who was visiting the country after four years. I get a kick talking to strangers when I travel alone.

"Cyprus!" I said, "So you've been to the beaches?"

"They have the best beaches." Her eyes brightened up.

"How's the peace and order situation there?"

"It's not as bad as it sounds. It's peaceful where I live."

"The salads—do they taste that good?"

"Yes, the greens are always fresh, except during winter time."

"Do you stay in Nicosia?"

"No, but it's just a couple of minutes away."

Shocked that I knew a lot of things about Cyprus, she asked if I had been there.

In grade school I fell in love with geography. I memorized capitals, familiarized myself with flags of even the most obscure countries, some of them already non-existent today, and devoured age-old atlases that had accumulated dust in my grandmother's shelves after years of disuse. Maybe that was the reason I fell in love with reading: I felt like I could go places.

"No, but that's my dream," I told her. "A Mediterranean tour. I also want to visit Turkey and Greece. The limestone beaches. The sea . . . And olive oil."

I didn't get to say goodbye to her when we parted ways, but I hope she enjoys her time at home—as I most certainly will.


(Photo by v. plessky, 2008).

***

IT'S NOT Cyprus exactly, but I like the blue hue from there I stand: ah, tropical goodness.

Blue sky

2 comments:

  1. And doubtless you kept details in your encyclopedic brain. Ako I read a lot but my memory's like a sieve. Doesn't retain much.

    Am happy you can enjoy a break, Lance!

    slf

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    Replies
    1. My memory is like that these days, too: a sieve. Kung kelan pa nag-medschool, eh!
      Thank you, Ate, I'm enjoying my time at home. I don't want to get back to the "real world" any time soon.

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