There is a lot to be said and desired about traveling – culture, sights, flavors and expanding your perspectives about people and the world. There is also a lot to be said and undesired about traveling – terrible transport, , scammers and people who are just rude and mean, experiences that make you sick tot he stomach (literally) or just sick.
Yesterday, I had a terrible flight to Hong Kong. I had a row with a rude and ill-mannered middle eastern couple who wanted to have 6 seats to themselves. I lost my temper and said a lot of nasty things that I regret but at that moment, I was really pissed off at them screaming expletives at me and I just could not take it sitting down. Add to the mix an ignorant American and I was close to getting really violent. By the way, I publicly apologize for my statement. I did not mean to say we Filipinos do not welcome white people in our country. What I meant to say was that we Filipinos do not welcome IGNORANT people in our country.
That trip made me realize a lot of things – that most people who are ignorant think that they’re privileged. They also think that you are not Filipino if you do not bend and bow to their every whim and can speak English fluently with a western accent. You should have seen my face when the man said “You are not Filipina! You do not own the Philippines! You do not speak like Filipina! Shame! Shame!” I laughed and said “You want a bell to go with that ‘shame’ statement and make me Cercei?” I would have loved to be Cercei because I’ll have some green flames burning his ass – his ugly camel girlfriend too. But I digress. Dammit… I said I was going to take the high road. They just make me sooo mad. The rest of the exchange was me patronizing them and smiling and saying “No, thank you” to their “fuck you” A group of Filipinos from the other rows were looking at me and said “Bastos yan ah! Ano kabayan? Resbakan ka na namin?”
The flight attendants and the cabin manager were very helpful and were profusely apologetic. It’s not their fault and I do appreciate them for being on top of the situation. Thank you Philippine Airlines. Although I wish you could have done more and off loaded them because they had to insult and embarass me over and over even after you have warned them.
I was left in a really bad mood after. I felt bad because I lost my cool, I’ve insulted other white people on board and I didn’t really mean to. I hurt my travel buddy, who was white, by the way. I was worrying about it so much that I developed a stress headache – part of my issues with anxiety. I was worrying about how I can make it up to travel buddy and worrying and questioning myself and I was already making a list of how horrible a person I am. Yep, this is what happens when one is afflicted with Anxiety and Depression at the same time.
On the train ride back to the hotel, my leg was hit and scratched by a rather large and heavy bag. The owner of the bag immediately apologized and I assured her that it was okay. I saw the contents of the bag and it was a large bag of peanuts. I giggled and told the woman “That’s a lot of peanuts!” She said it was from her sister who was in Taiwan. It’s a famous kind of peanut with purple skin, she said. I said that I initially thought that she was keeping an elephant in her backyard. We both laughed and she offered some of the peanuts. I politely refused but thanked her. She insisted and so I got some and we had a great little exchange. I felt good after that. When we had to get off our stop, I thanked her again and she wished us a great day.
Travel buddy was laughing, saying that only I can make friends on a train and get out with peanuts in my pocket. I laughed and said “Maybe I should stick with land transportation rather than planes”
What’s the lesson here? Be polite. Be nice. Be civil. Stand up for yourself. One bad experience does not mean that there won’t be any good ones. There are some really awful people out there but then there are really nice ones too.
And to all my white friends, I am very very sorry. Please do come to my country. You are the nice ones and smart ones.