SIDE TRIP 29: Pinoy Abroad… at ang Bolpen, BOW!
Funny how most Pinoys would readily tell their life stories to complete strangers – – especially to fellow Pinoys they meet abroad.
This morning on the plane to Bangkok, I was seated beside an amiable soul and within ten minutes, I had a pretty good idea of her short life so far. It appeared she fled a poverty-stricken life in Samar to work in a bar in wicked Manila (nothing new here), got herself a German boyfriend, and they planned to holiday in Thailand.
Last week, just as they bought their tickets, she got held up at knifepoint by some jerk in Orosa Street, taking all the money she had including her crispy new passport and a Nokia 6210. Waaah! Losing the money was OK (her boyfriend has lots of it) but she couldn’t leave without the passport. So they had to go “under the table”, she said, so she could be issued a new passport pronto.
Still, the documents couldn’t be hustled fast enough so the dear boyfriend had to leave first without her and now she’s travelling on her own (first time out of the country) to catch up with him to sip daiquiris on Pattaya beach, oh la la.
But first, she had to accomplish the Thai arrival and departure card prior to deplaning. She politely asked to borrow my pen and proceeded to fill up the form. Then she gasped, rather loudly: “Naku, sabi dito black bolpen dapat ang gamitin! E blue itong bolpen mo!”
That is news to me! In all the time that I’d been travelling, I have yet to encounter an immigration card that required black pens only.
When I looked at the card, it said: “Please write in BLOCK letters”.
Uh, OK. 🙂