Friday, March 31, 2006


I moved all the way to France to star in my very own fit-for-Pinoy TV telenovela. Imagine me last Saturday a gorgeous Iza Calzado, long black tresses falling in sensual curls down my back as I stand at some restaurant's bar, sipping a drink, talking to a guy who was not at all hot. Ugly as hell, in fact, no Dingdong Dantes this one. Anyway, he had started small talk and to be social I was small-talking back.

A little while later, I took my leave, turning to say goodbye to the guy's companion, a blonde with bad posture, craggy face, and skin the color of pastry dough. Unbeknownst to me, this female character had the spirit of an evil Princess Punzalan. In a jealous rage peppered by a mega-dose of racism, she focused on me her mean eyes, reached a claw out to give my hair a tug--yes, members of the audience, a sabunot it was--then proceeded to abuse me with a sentence not fit for printing here. And then her final line: "You, Thai puta."

As I wrenched myself out of her grasp, I wanted to scream, "Excuse me, pero hindi ako Thai!!!"

Attempt at being funny and cute failing miserably, let me just say, Fuck these small-minded and uneducated idiots, I want to go home.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Chasing Sally I've fallen down a dark rabbit hole where I spend sundown haunting the 13th-century streets of our village, a ghost hybrid that doesn't say "boo." I'm infectious: Going into a bar for coffee, I heard the two barmen begin meowling too. Occasionally, ancient female spirits join me. Led by Madame Bardella, saint mother to cats lost or abandoned, we go on our tours when the world turns gray, our beacon her hair dyed magenta.

Alone I go to church grounds. Once in the chapel of gray penitents, I thought I'd found the errant juvenile, but her tail had grown two centimeters and there was a patch of white on what should have been an all-black neck. Still I was staring, willing this beast to transform into mine. "See how it raises its legs to pee," cousin Sylvain suddenly came up behind me. It can't possibly be Sally, because this one's a he.

Exactly one week after her little sister disappeared, on the same day and the same hour, our other cat Dolly went out the cat flap and wasn't seen again. The witches had returned hunting for meat for their cauldrons. Fortunately wise and quick, Dolly managed to jump off the broomstick and fly across the moon, landing back in my garden on the twentieth hour.

I am still hoping for the best, convinced that someday soon, Sally will walk right in through our lavender gates, bruised from her adventures but happy to be home. This despite knowing that many other cats have not made it. A new friend who lives two streets away told me that she lost two felines in one year, a mother and her son. That's nothing compared to our blonde neighbor.

We managed to track her down yesterday. Her gray-and-white male had been pissing in our home, and we demanded to know if the horny bachelor was keeping hostage our little girl. She said not at all, but she'll be keeping her eyes open. Then she warned us not to hope. The woman's lived here six years, and from a total of thirty cats, she's lost twenty-four.

I'd die. So yesterday Dolly was cut up and her ovaries removed. In exchange for protection, we offer her innards to the cat goddess Bastet.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Meowing Plaintively

All activities on this site are suspended as the Provenciana's energies go to posting flyers, harrassing people on their afternoon walks, aiming a flashlight down abandoned wells, knocking on neighbors' doors, quizzing the veterinarian on cat behavior, and meowing like a fool on the road at sundown, all in the effort to look for baby cat Sally. If despite her broken tail and lack of a passport she had happened to get on a plane and flown away, and you see her being a tourist in the Philippines, Singapore, the States, or Spain, please let us know. Pierre is tired of investigatigating the neighbors' chicken pens, and Dolly and I spend the rest of our time looking out the window, trying to figure out if any of those black shadows could possibly be her.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Eksena sa Osmena.
Ang saya-saya!!! Ilang raw na rin ang nakararaan ngunit ninanamnam ko pa rin ang alaala. Mga ati at kuya, kinakailangang maranasan niyo ang araw-araw na niraranas ko para lubusan ninyong maintindihan ang rurok ng aking kagalakan. Sa unang pagkakataon sa loob ng siyam na buwan na halos walang humpay na pagbubugbog ng utak at pagpipilipit ng dila para matutunan ang isang wikang banyaga, ibinuka ko ang aking bibig at--nanginginig at pumapadyakpadyak ako hanggang ngayon habang naaalala ko ito--nagsalita ng walang iba kung hindi Tagalog, o Filipino kung gusto mo.

Oo, dito mismo sa Pransiya naganap ito, chikahang nagsimula ng alas-diyes ng umaga at natapos ng alas-kuwatro, anim na oras , sey mo. Salamat kay Kala at Makis, na nagmaneho mula sa malayong lugar para makipagtagpo sa isang kababayan (ako) na hanggang noong nakaraang buwan ay nag-aakalang walang ibang Pinay na nakatira sa may dito. Ulit, Kala at Makis ang pangalan nila, wala akong litrato, pero may blog ang dalawang ito. (Ayan, nag-Ingles tuloy ako, pero ano ba ang wikang Filipino para sa blog, "blag"? Ili-link ko sila dito, hintay lang kayo.)

Nangyari ang lahat sa lungsod ng Arles, nung nakaraang Miyerkules, anim na oras na walang kahirap-hirap na pagsasalaysay ng mga kuwentong buhay. Kumain din kami, una sa Restaurant L'Entrevue at pagkatapos sa Fad'Oli, at naglakad sa napakahabang palengke, naghahanap ng itim na sinulid at itim na bag ("maleta"? "tampipi"?), ngunit karamihan ng panahon ay ginugol namin sa talakan.

Dahil mga kababayan, madali silang basahin at kaibiganin. Bukod sa hindi ko kinailangang maghanap ng palaging nagtatagong wikang Pranses, hindi ko din kinailangang palaging kuwestiyuhin kung tama ba ang basa ko sa personalidad at karakter ng taong kaharap ko, katulad ng madalas kong gawin kapag kahulimilo ang medyo malalamig at madalas na seryosong mga Europeans dito.

Hanggang dito na lang, magpapaalam na ako. Kay Kala at Makis, maraming salamat, kahit na hinayaan ninyo akong molestiyahin nung mamang matanda na maydalang gitara. Gayunpaman, winner ang araw na iyon. Ay hindi pala. Panalo!

Something That Made Me Go Wow

Not-so-little pinkies.

Yesterday morning, while drinking coffee, we drew the curtains to get our view of the salt mines in front and the marsh on the right, and got a pink surprise. Our dear departed duckies (remember them?), after hopefully having caused indigestion in the bellies of their nasty hunters, must have flown on to bird heaven and partied with the bird king, and to his majesty told how good we've been with our morning offerings of dried baguette, so that the king decided to send us a gift.

The Camargues, where we live, is from spring to autumn home to tens of thousands of flamingoes, those elegant-looking birds that range in color from white to deep pink, which many of us have only ever seen in pictures or on The National Geographic Channel. In Manila, the only birds I'd see flying free were the nondescript maya and the ubiquitous kalapati, so the first time I saw flamingoes on the road to Le Grau du Roi, I was squealing with delight. Since them, I've spotted more of them, on the same road and when we go to Les Salins du Midi, but always they were in large groups and keeping their distance from men.

So imagine our surprise when yesterday we were treated to the sight of flamingoes right there in front, a few meters from the edge of the terrace! Seven of them were feeding, standing stick-legged and their beaks in the marsh. They were there while we breakfasted at nine, and stayed until after the sun had set.

As I made dinner, I told myself: I complain about how hard life is trying to adjust to life in provincial France, but having lawn furniture like this makes me determined to shut up.

P.S. Whatever is in that marsh must taste good. It's March 7, and it's the third day the flamingoes have come. This morning they even brought over friends, three seagulls and an heron.