028: Bookends

wp-1453995238214.jpegThe day started early and ended late. Emily and I drove over to SM Ecoland at four in the morning to try to get in line for passport renewal. Aris, best man at our wedding, was in town and I took him around to see the Davao nightlife. In between, several other things happened. Today was a full day. My body will probably crash in the weekend.

DFA Davao is a glimpse into purgatory. People apparently line up the night before and sleep under the walking shed of SM Ecoland so they can get a number for their passport applications. DFA Davao accepts a variable number of applicants per day, but it is sometimes as low as 160. By the time Emily and I arrived, the line had grown to around 200m. It wasn’t really a line to speak of, as there were gaps in between, spaces “reserved” basically. Such is a recipe for arguments and near fisticuffs. The morning calm was in fact broken by a shouting match near the front of the line.

We tried to rationalize staying in line for when the mall would open at 9:00AM — that’s a five hour wait — with a strong chance of not getting a number anyhow. We waited a bit. We chatted and joked with the two young people immediately ahead of us. The guy was a call center agent who wanted to try his luck working abroad. The girl was a fresh grad who thought it was a good idea to get her passport early, just in case the opportunity presented itself.

“It’s easier to get a passport in General Santos,” the call center agent said. “But I don’t have the funds for the trip.”

Well, that was an idea.

Eventually, Emily and I decided it was a waste of time to wait for what could potentially turn out to be nothing. We wished the two good luck and bade them goodbye.

We shopped for vegetables at Bangkerohan Public Market. On the way back, I took the longer route through downtown. That took us by the public market. It was five thirty or so, there was time. Emily bought lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, calabash, tomatoes, and water spinach. Then we passed by my parents’ house to drop off some of the produce.

Emily made Iberian chicken. So very, very good and tasty.

I took advantage of the brownouts to multitask. I’ve been pretty lucky as far as power interruptions go. I always manage to miss them. It’s either I’m at one place of work or another, or at home. The power went out at my software development job at around 3:00PM. I took that chance to head off to Ateneo to set up the scanner that had just arrived. As I finished running the tests, the power went out again, and so I went back to the other office where the power had come on. Just like playing ping-pong.

It was good to catch up with an old friend. Aris and I had coffee at Frog Kaffee and Roastery along F. Torres. The decor was unique, set up like the living room of an old hacienda. There were plenty of mirrors and crystals. The tables and chairs seemed put together from an odd collection but still managed to maintain good harmony. The coffee was quite pricey, though. It was an interesting experience, but I don’t think I shall become a regular.

After an upscale experience, we went downscale. We drove over to Roxas, and we lined up for dirty ice cream. Lining up. For dirty ice cream. Only in Davao. It was good to see the night market bustling with activity. This is what passes for university life here.

Published by

Dom Cimafranca

Teacher, writer, project manager, and all-around nice guy.