Every year I bemoan the yearly drive to the Mega SM Mall in San Fernando Pampanga. One and one half hours drive away. Do we have a New SM Mall in Olongapo? Why yes we do but it’s different in Pampanga as it was explained to me.
My Daughter, granddaughter and Son-in-law Chris arrive at my gate in their Innova. I find my niece Shay and her mother Clara is joining is. Did I ask why? Of course not I stopped questioning anything years ago, I just grin and climb in to the car.
It’s 0830 departure, I thought wow that is early and my daughter YoHanna who processes her own “Time Zone” is early for the first time. Then Chris started laughing and said: “Dad we were supposed to be here an hour ago!” Ah the world is back on track once more.
The major decision to take the National Road, vice the expressway was made at a higher pay grade than mine! So I just looked out the window and watched the pastoral beauty of rural life pass by. Rice Paddies the Mountains and people going about their business while clogging the road with more Tricycles and Pedicabs than any one human could count. A typical day in the province!
Kano traveling in a car full of Filipinos, of course hunger came up, and as we entered into San Fernando a MacDo’s appeared and 10 minutes was wasted finding a parking spot, but that’s okay we still have an hour before the mall opens. Chris was driving!
I dearly love the attitude of the Pinoy; disappointment seems to roll off them like water off a ducks butt. The ladies room was closed for repair I’ve been in a car for an hour with six women, so that was not a good thing. Someone re-wrote the menu as they ran out of sausage paddies. And substituted Longanisa which made sense as Pampanga makes the best Longanisa. (Talk to them if you disagree because that was what the sign said as we entered town) Did I mention that there were no hash browns either? But there they were standing in line attempting to make an order that would work for all. When my voice from in the back said; “Ladies do you still need a comfort room?” Back to the car and down the road with the girl at MacDo’s still trying to figure out what happened.
In the mall there is a Kenny Rogers Rib and Chicken joint. Will a Pinoy eat that in the morning? Just watch-em, and Ribs and mashed potatoes for breakfast, this Kano had no problem with that. SPOILER ALERT they have corn-on-the-cob rolled in crushed bacon. I hereby nominate the inventor of that for Sainthood.
My Florida shopping is done, I put $350.00 dollars on my Daughter Ymir Thea’s NFCU Debit Card to buy a $ 140.00 Radio Flyer red wagon for my grandson Jaden (pneumatic tires and wood sides of course) and the rest for her. Jaden hasn’t stopped saying; “Thank you Lolo Daddy Bow”: That’s the name he gave me, so it’s my other name!
But here I must go into a store and find a present for my wife, daughter and granddaughter. Colleen made it easy as a few days before she cornered me and mentioned LeBron James shoes by Nike
A type of rubber shoe that are the must have for a young lady in the Philippine islands. (Ya-Ya Dub must have a pair?) Remember I left Olongapo to be here in San Fernando? The particular type of Nike both in color and size were not available in this San Fernando’s mall’s store!!! BUT, in the SM in Olongapo City they had in stock the pair needed. Because they cost in excess of 6,000.00 pesos the phone call was made manager to manager about the shoes. Of course Colleen knew the Manager in Olongapo and found that the shoe was still there. I took the phone and asked her (The girl in Olongapo) to take the shoe and keep them until the morning where I and Colleen would buy them when we arrived. But sir that is not….And I added; I will give you an extra 500.00 pesos for helping me. They’ll be here in the morning sir. But I knew that. She’s my granddaughter, and her Lolo Daddy Paul will push a mountain aside for her?
Well Colleen was impressed by Lolo Daddy Paul (That’s what she named me years ago) now she will help me shop for my presents for her mother and Lola. And a fine job she did for the old Kano.
I’m done, off to Starbucks for a “Coffee Amerikano” A regular coffee with cream and sugar that can be ordered in less than 5 words spoken. (I point to the size of the cup I want).
I have with me on this rare occasion my Cella Phone so when it’s departure time I can be found. Chris has been missing for hours; I respect the hell out of that guy!!!
All my Christmas shopping is done; I’ll start squirreling away money in January for next year. I moan and groan but the truth is, it really is “My Favorite time of year” So from here up on our mountain in Bataan I’m wishing you all a most joyful Christmas season to you and your family.
Late addition: Two new families moved in to out Purok with a few young kids. While on my roof patio I noticed they came out with this tired old ball that no longer held air and played with it until it got dark. So while in town I bought all of them a new ball. (That Christmas Spirit was just abounding around me.) Needless to say the kids loved them. They all ran to their house to put them away and came back with the old flat ball. Mayang explained; “They don’t want the new balls to get dirty, because they are new.” It makes sense to me!
Merry Christmas and a very loud New Year; to all our friends on LiP! ! !