Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bariles In Atlantic City

I am usually not a very sentimental person, I am more of a romantic than a sentimentalist...With letters, cards and souveneirs, I restrict myself to a memory box which is the size of a big shoebox and when it gets too full, I make myself go through it and throw things out that are no longer as important to me. It is amazing how something that you absolutely had to keep at a time can lost its sentimental value after a few years, after you moved on with your life. But if humans were entirely without sentimentality, we'd be like Finnish architecture- sensible, yet dull as tapioca.

Having said that, I don't think I will ever be less sentimental person when it comes to my home, family and friends, things that matter most to me. Last Sunday after attending 9:00am Mass at St. Teresa of Avila, at the spur of the moment, my friend & I decided to take a drive down to Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was one of those very rare, perfect, deliciously warm Sunday afternoon in winter. The city was not crowded, which didn't surprise us because of the economic crunch that's hurting not only Americans but everybody all over the world. We park at Caesar's Palace Parking and walk though the casinos, down the the restaurants on the beachfront side of the building. We knew where we were going. My friend was taking me to Japanese sushi bar because I was craving for sushi. I came from the Tuna capital city of the Philippines. In General Santos City sashimi and sushi comes in abundance and the cheapest in the world. WE ordered Magu sushi, $8 for a 2-piece serving! While picking sushi with chopsticks, i was teary eyed not because I put too much wasabi sauce but because I was strucked by a weird nostalgic chord in me. The sight of sushi and the sensational taste of wasabi that seemed to clear my sinuses, flashed floods of memories and with it so many vivid imagery of my times in GenSan Fishport and my Fishing Boat that catches this Tuna that I was eating on the other side of the world. I remembered Dodong my operator and our fishing crews who weather the storms and raging waves of the ocean and separation from their families for 21 to 28 days a month catching tuna. It occured to me that they didn't even realized, that maybe, just maybe I was eating what could have been one of their catch, at 100 times the price we get back home. An alpha grade tuna cost $7-8/kilo in GenSan. A tear ran slowly down my cheek as I started eating . The wind was whistling through the glass building...I was looking straight ahead, seeing nothing but the shimmering reflection of the winter sun on the Atlantic Ocean, like white sparkling marble. So mesmerizing, tranquil, deep, warm...I feel a little closer home, my eyes brimmed with tears.

My friend seemed amused...

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