The circuitous trip home and backBy Leon Worden
Saturday, January 12, 2002
Wasn't the shortest distance between two points a straight line? That's what my old phys ed teacher at Placerita, Mike Allmandinger, tried to drum into me one time when I rounded the bases— and I do mean rounded the bases. Hit the bags but ignored the chalk and sort of circled the infield. I wasn't cut out to be a ballplayer. Or a mathematician.
But now here I was, taking the coastal route to Hong Kong by way of Canada and Alaska, over the Bering Sea, across Siberia and down through Beijing into Chek Lap Kok airport.
What kind of a name is that?
Maybe the storm over the Pacific explains the Siberian passage. I don't remember going up and around, the last time we flew Cathay Pacific.
I like flying Cathay Pacific. Wilma buys the tickets. I guess it's for the price. I like it regardless. What terrorist would be stupid enough to screw with the Red Chinese?
Another two hours and we'd be in Manila. So far things had gone better than I expected. Jake was really
Manila is nice at Christmas. Beach weather.
Jake was having a blast. Lights, sounds, smells, and most of all no car seat. Funny. Back home they were raising the bar to 6 years or 60 pounds, whichever's more.
After a few days Jake started acting up. The faith healer said he fell on a black dwarf when he tripped on the sidewalk inside Intramuros, the old Spanish walled city. I guess it put a hex on him, poor kid. The healer did a blessing and he was OK again.
They asked me in the newsroom what a black dwarf is. You know, I said. A gnome. A pixie. Yes, I assured Stacey Klein, it's invisible.
A writer for the Star called the Philippines “a Roman Catholic island in a Muslim sea.” I liked that. Very apt. But it's still got a million superstitions that have zero to do with the church.
Mothers will be mothers, and mine didn't want me to go. She's fun to tease. The buildup lasted about two months. The United States sent 22 advisers to help the Philippine government go after the Abu Sayyaf, the bandits in Mindanao who were still holding two American missionaries and a French nurse. They'd abducted them from a resort off the island of Palawan.
At least they were still holding them hostage. They'd beheaded the guy from Corona, Calif., in May, along with a dozen Filipinos.
We'd been planning to visit the Palawan resorts. Not this trip. Teasing is one thing, recklessness another.
Abduragak Janjalani was a veteran of the Afghan war with the Soviets and trained in the
The Philippine government under Joseph Estrada was messed up. The terrorists would kidnap hostages, demand ransom, get paid by the government and release the hostages. Then they'd turn around and take some more hostages and the cycle would start all over. The last couple of years the government paid $25 million (U.S.) straight to these
People Power 2, the second bloodless revolution in roughly a decade, came along just in time, and not just because Estrada was a crook. Gloria
Unfortunate that Arroyo's army missed its
Tragic, yes, but the situation isn't insurmountable. Arroyo has a solid team of
But not badly enough for me to heed Mother's advice and stay home. You can't live that way. Besides. Mindanao is a long way from Manila.
Sure, there was the guy who foiled the coup plot and got gunned down by his
Stevenson Ranch. Manila. Hmm. Never thought of it that way.
I guess home is wherever you are.
©2002 LEON WORDEN ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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