Sorry, Ma’am

We awoke at 6:30am on Monday morning to the sound of poles clanging and what sounded like someone banging on a plastic bucket.

As I trudged past the building to the bathroom, I glanced up. Indeed, there was a man sitting against some scaffolding, absently pounding a giant bucket with a hammer. I wondered what he was contributing to the project.

We decided that perhaps it was time to head back to Manila, but not before stopping back at El Union for some breakfast. I was looking forward to the easy vibes that would wash over me in waves and allow me to think positive thoughts such as, “Nah, it’s cool that I’m up at 6:30 on my 3-day weekend. I am one with the morning.”

It was closed.

We headed instead to a little restaurant down the road whose name I forget, but not to worry. I wouldn’t recommend it. The atmosphere was a combination of 50s kitchen and surf shack, and our hopes were high. I ordered scrambled eggs. Sarah ordered eggs and hash browns. It’s important to mention that we had all eaten something at the hostel – except for Sarah. She was justifiably hangry.

About twenty minutes after we’d ordered, as dishes were being served, a waiter approached our table.

“I’m sorry ma’am,” he said to Sarah. “No hash browns.”

“You don’t have hash browns?”

“No ma’am.” Pause, some awkward staring. He hastily adds, “The chef can’t make them perfect.”


“He can’t make them perfectly.”

“OK…so I’ll just have the eggs then.”

“OK. You want to cancel the hash browns?”

This conversation is not unusual, I’ve noticed. I filed it away with the night Sam and I went to Draft and were told they had no pork products, so we ordered something else and watched the tables around us digging into their pork knuckle.

We hit the road after this and immediately started craving McDonalds. We kept our eyes peeled for those ubiquitous golden arches and finally, our watch paid off! A small sign popped up on the roadside, indicating that a McDonalds was 1km away!

It wasn’t. There was no McDonalds.

In the end, we found ourselves sitting in a parked car beside the motorway, eating Jollibee outside the entrance to a zoo that advertised one single leopard and a few T-Rex statues.

“This is what they should put on the cover of the school recruiting packet,” Luke said, unwrapping a package of rice. ” ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines!’ and then a photo of some teachers eating Jollibee by the side of the road.”

It was a fitting end to our trip, because if everything went according to plan, this blog would be awfully boring. Also because I had my first Jollibee experience, and I got to say the phrase, “I would like a Yum with cheese.”


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