I have learned more about Quezon City in the Philippines than I ever knew over the past few days.
All the better to learn about the environs of the person good enough to read by blog from those parts.
I always get tickled when I check Google Analytics and see some record of access to my blog from another country. Often, these countries have a zero next to them in the column that indicates the amount of time spent at the site. This, I’ve found out, could be inaccurate, because time and time again people from certain places have told me that they’ve read my stuff the night before, and when I check out the analytics, the access time from those places is often zero.
I like to take this to mean that when I in fact see that Google Analytics has logged some serious time from one of these places that the person in question really stuck around and got to know me. At one point, someone in England spent nine minutes looking at my stuff, and someone in Germany spent a couple of minutes checking it out as well.
But the Philippines…that’s just so far away. I can think of a ways to connect Germany and England to myself—one of my best friend’s brothers lives in England, for example—but cannot, in any way, connect any of my friends to The Philippines.
No, some complete stranger, from the largest city in this country is checking out my writing.
The whole thing makes me wish that I could get to know this person, and put myself in their hands when I go and visit. We could check out The Vargas Museum, The Ateneo Art Gallery, and The Santo Domingo Church. This person, whoever they are, could take me to all the best bars and coffee shops (if indeed coffee is the drink of choice in The Philippines).
I could ask this person about the notorious “My Way Killings,” a bizarre phenomenon in which people go on rampages in karaoke bars when someone mocks their performance of this classic Paul Anka song. I could ask about the state of karaoke in The Philippines, and we could go to a bar that is decidedly safer. I would make a point to clap politely whenever anyone finished singing “My Way.”
I could also ask about escrima, the national sport and martial art of The Philippines. It involves stick fighting, and the various techniques, which I’ve seen, are mind blowing. I’m sure I could check out an escrima demonstration, and I’d love to do that.
And if this person started a blog, I’d read it, and encourage them to come visit me in the States. I’d take them to New York, and we’d check out all the sites. Then I’d take them to dinner at Katz’s delicatessen; if they were a vegetarian, I’d order latkes or pierogis, but I’d love to turn them on to a pastrami sandwich, as a Katz’s pastrami sandwich is a rare and singular delight.
I’d also see if there were any bands playing in clubs, and take them to a concert. There, in what would almost certainly be a dive bar, I would buy them a beer, and we would cheer the band on. Then we could go to a karaoke bar, and I could assure this person that there is, in all likelihood, no chance of random violence, no matter how nasty the heckling.
I just love this idea of the world reading my writing. Granted, not too many people from around the world have checked it out, but it would seem that one or two have become faithful readers. If they find my writing worth reading, I am chuffed, and will do all I can to keep them coming back.
The only thing that I need to say to my faithful fan in The Philippines is that I’m reluctant to try balut, which I’ve written about before in this blog. Yet considering that I find balut distasteful, I will, of course, completely understand if they don’t want to try pastrami. They come from where they come from, and I come from where I come from.
Still, in spite of these differences, I like to imagine that we could talk about stuff we enjoy reading. Obviously, we both enjoy that, and the chance to find out about some good Filipino literature is one I would eagerly seize.
I may never meet this person, but I sure hope they’re reading this. They’ve made me feel special, and I owe them one. Therefore, with all sincerity, I say thank you, or, according to Google’s translation of English to Filipino, salamat.