Back to the city that doesn’t sleep

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By Jun Ledesma


Monday, April 14, 2014

BY THE time this column will see print, I will already be in the cement jungle of New York City. I have been to this city which, in Frank Sinatra’s ditty, is described as the “city that never sleeps”. But owing to time constraints and schedule that I have to abide by in a sponsored trip, I don’t get to see what I have to see. This time it’s on me…. with a little help from friends and a lot of it from my wife Jay.  All I have to worry now is a recurring arthritis. Why? We are going to do a lot of walking for most of what we will be seeing… and watching… are within walking distance from our hotel.

I left Davao threatened by Typhoon Domeng. But there was this possibility that the storm will be moving away from the city. There’s a joke I heard on radio on my way to the Davao International Airport: “Domeng will skip Davao City because Mayor Duterte is strictly enforcing the speed limit of 30 and 40 kilometers per hour.”

I left the country at a time when Congress and the Executive Department are washing their dirty linens like corruption has become a way of politicians under the façade of “daang matuwid”.  At an unusual time when the few good men in the Philippine National Police are being chastised in public for catching long wanted criminals and for making accurate estimates of typhoon casualties. I left my country at a time when the crafty and conjuring up scheme on how to resurrect the unconstitutional PDAF by way of scandalous DAP. They call these realigned funds. A part of these realigned funds are those allocated for the construction of overpasses in Matina Crossing and Ulas in Davao City. I left my country when my fellowmen are asking: “What is happening to our country Mr. President?”         


This will be the longest flying time we will experience. We left Davao City with soaring temperature punctuated with sudden summer rain and then live for one week in NYC that posts single digits on the centigrade. Weather in the US has been unpredictable. To quote a friend who resides in the eastern seaboard “It should have been spring but it isn’t. It’s warming up a bit and then suddenly snows fall.”

I am sure that my wife Jay and kids Paolo and Abbie will love the snowflakes. I remember how the kids love the blanket of snow in Mt. Titlis somewhere in Switzerland. I stayed indoor most of the time then. 

But that was in Titlis, a ski resort. I will be in New York where the cement pavement is penetratingly cold in winter and excruciatingly hot in summer. Thus it has to be in spring to make this visit…which might be my last journey. Don’t get me wrong. I am not about to kick the bucket yet. This will probably be my and my wife’s penultimate travel with the kids while they are kids and with me still able to walk without a cane or wheel chair like those used by corrupt politicians back home to escape prison.

Aside from NBA (Bull and Mets are playing) and Broadway we will travel by Amtrak to Washington DC to see the changing landscapes and to catch up with the cherry blossoms there. By the time we get to DC the last drops of icy morning dew will give way to a much warmer day. We look forward to hopping in and hopping out in slow moving tourist coaches to see all we can for three days in this City, which is the seat of government of the most powerful nation in the world.

Even as I take my first step in the cement jungle of New York, I have this yearning to go back quickly home never mind if all I have are magnets added to the door of what is now an empty ref. Never mind too if the rotating brownouts will spike from once to twice. At least I know that what causes it is government corruption and incompetence which can be quickly done away with in 2016 and not by any strange intractable courses of weather in a city that never sleeps.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 15, 2014.


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