The temptation to pen (keyboard sounds silly here, don’t you think?) a few limericks or rhymes with lines ending in ‘ay’ is strong. However, the prompt generated cerebration in my imagination, recalling celebration with libation on vacation in a nation whose tropical location made an ideal destination.
The year: 1978
The date: 31 December
The time: coming up to midnight
The place: Hilton Hotel, Manila, Philippines; on the edge of Rizal Park
I was living in Dubai at the time, with my then wife and our two very young children. We were on a 21-day, three-centre holiday that had taken us to Singapore and Hong Kong (where we spent Christmas) before taking the flight down to Manila for the final nine days of our break, on Boxing Day (the British public holiday celebrated on 26 December, the feast of St Stephen – the day when Good King Wenceslas; Duke of Bohemia and patron saint of the Czech Republic; famously went out). Being British, we were accustomed to the period covering Christmas and New Year being cold, and generally wet. Christmas in Hong Kong was, as I recall, warm; the run-up to New Year’s Eve in Manila was more than warm.
As midnight approached, and with it the turn of the year from 1978 to 1979 (was it really 36 years ago?), we made sure the children were sleeping peacefully, notified the front desk that we would be going out to the park for a while and so had need of the hotel’s baby-watching service, and went out into the night air. In T-shirts and shorts. That’s right; midnight, in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere (just), and we were wearing T-shirts and shorts.
Rizal park was buzzing. We were staggered by the number of people, and I was beginning to get a bit fed-up with people calling me Joe. Apparently, that’s the name they use for all Americans, and as we were white, we were assumed to be American. I was in such a relaxed mood, though, that I just let it go, determining to wear a T-shirt bearing a picture or words that would identify me as British, next time we ventured out.
When midnight came, people of all races, colours and creeds were rushing about, kissing and hugging one another, screaming ‘Happy New Year’ in English, Tagalog, Spanish, and various other tongues. Not being one of a demonstrative nature, and eschewing intimate physical contact with total strangers, many of indeterminate providence, I shook quite a few hands, and even went so far as to pat a few people on the shoulder as I did so.
Making our way to the edge of the crowd, we spotted a couple of local lads sitting on a bench, playing their guitars and singing a selection of Simon and Garfunkel songs – and making a jolly good fist of it, I might add. We sat near them and started to join in. That’s not something I would normally do, but I had lubricated my natural reserve with some of San Miguel’s finest earlier in the evening, so it seemed acceptable to me to do it.
After a few minutes, my ex-wife suggested we invite them to our room to continue our crooning – at least, I assumed it was her idea. It certainly wasn’t mine; not the sort of thing I would do at all. Perhaps the lads suggested it – who knows? I was, thanks to the said San Miguel (patron saint of Marks and Spencer, no less), relaxed about the idea and maybe even on the outer fringes of enthusiastic.
We returned to the hotel, told the concierge that we were back, thanked them for keeping an eye on the kids and said we would take it from there. The concierge thanked us most politely, but looked at our two ‘guests’ with markedly less enthusiasm. We ascended to our floor, entered our room and made sure the children were still asleep. They were. We then sat on the bed, the four of us, and continued with our rendition of some of Paul and Art’s best-known hits. My ex-wife produced four glasses and a bottle of rum, the latter transforming from a full bottle to an empty vessel in what must have been record time. As the volume of liquid in the bottle went down, it took with it the comprehensibility of our renditions, but had an inverse effect on the volume of our voices.
Eventually, at about 4am, by which time the four of us were in a state best described as tired and emotional, the lads left us and we fell into bed.
A New Year’s Eve I shall never forget.
The rum? Oh, Tanduay, of course.
This is my offering to Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt word is ‘-ay’.
Here are the rules:
- Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
- Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
- There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”
- Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments, for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.
- Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.
- Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
- Have fun!