Monday, March 7, 2011

Wagyu stories and swipes with (or at) J

So there I was on my Mac tonight editing a couple more articles for our wonderful April-May issue and going through the beautiful photos of our cover girl Angel Aquino in Boracay, when my Blackberry pings and it's J on text, still in some god forsaken place that's so remote both his phones have now stopped working on BBM and he's subsisting entirely on text and WiFi in the hotel lobby because his supposedly luxury hotel doesn't have Internet in the rooms. And if you know him, you'll understand how funny that image of him sitting it out in the hotel lobby, trying to access WiFi is (swipe).


He may have lost connectivity but at least he hadn't lost his sense of humor -- this time (swipe). He's generally a very likable person in real-time text-life and lots of fun to be with; and I've only seen him miffed once so far. When this happened, the texts stopped altogether for something like 24 hours. It wasn't that big a deal in the course of my typically busy day (swipe) but it was hard not to notice when my phone went from days and days of 40 pings to suddenly zero. And the options were either he'd run over his phone and couldn't text anymore, he forgot to pay his cell phone bill, or he was just miffed (swipe). I knew it had to be the latter (swipe).

But this morning -- at least this morning in his part of the world -- he was in a good mood. "Are you taking a swipe at me?" He asked. He was referring to the little note I inserted into my blog the other day, about how he's not the only person in Manila with a wagyu stash -- just in case he somehow thinks he's the only person from the Philippines who remembers to handcarry a couple of kilos of prime Japanese beef when flying back from Tokyo (swipe). Lots of friends do the same thing, but he's the only one I know who has an expensive restaurant cook it for him (swipe).

"Don't know what you're talking about," I replied sweetly, even if -- of course -- I most definitely did. He paid no attention. "So -- when's the next swipe going to be?" He texted back.


"I'm actually thinking of killing the character off," I teased him, just to see what he would say. He keeps telling me to avoid any incriminating details when writing about him, and he's constantly stressing he wants to remain anonymous. But I have a feeling he kind of likes appearing in this blog every so often, even in a very small way (swipe). For instance, the other day, he texted out of nowhere again to say, "I see I'm the star of your blog again." I then replied: "Star of my blog? It's more like a cameo role, isn't it?"

Of course, he'll never admit it, though, and I'm happy to play along and avoid the details. It is fun to write about him, after all, and to keep people guessing who he is in this rather small town.

"Nope, I don't wish to be killed off," he texted back. "And, if I finish my own stash of wagyu, at least I now know I can depend on you since you have a stash too." Again, I just had to have the last word before heading off to bed. It was the start of the day in his part of the world but it was close to midnight in mine -- and I'd already made up my mind to head to the gym at 7 in the morning.


Pretty soon, J will be returning home but it's my turn to head out to exotic climes. I'm off to Hokkaido tomorrow and then returning to Manila by the weekend; and then hopping on another plane for Singapore to catch a ship from Bali to Manila via Sabah. If that sounds quite complicated, it really is. But for me, it's just another week in my Travelife -- and the beginning of a pretty busy schedule for the rest of the year that will take me to Sri Lanka, Syria, Spain and Turkey over the next few months alone. And then, I'll be the one BBM-ing him from somewhere with unreliable signal. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll be too busy having fun on my Silversea cruise next week to think about BBM (swipe)...Anyway, the point is that we're almost never in the same place at the same time, which is why we have this rather inane (private swipe) text relationship instead of a real friendship.

"You forget. It wouldn't really matter whether I killed your character off tomorrow or not because we never see each other anyway," I texted. "And you'd better find a wagyu source you actually see, rather than just text. You can't eat a Blackberry, after all."

If he's still looking for a major swipe, he's certainly got several now (swipe). But, yes, at least he's the star of this blog today.

Angel Aquino in Bora for Travelife last week


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