Time is a paradox. When we first came(a week ago) the high contrast between the pace in which time passes back in Hong Kong clashed completely with the relaxing pounding of the clock on our tiny island. We thought that the minutes will be dragging painfully and slowly, but a week later I am standing dumfounded on the porch, wondering how is it possible for 7 days to pass so quickly, leaving me empty-handed. I couldn’t even touch the tips of time. That’s the funny thing. Everything during the day is slow. The fans, which adopt the lazy circular movement in the efforts to make your boiling soul feel a little bit lighter, the huge windmills that capture your sight with their lethargic spins that match perfectly the people’s walking pace and even the speed with which the house animals move around the veranda. The dogs lay in the shade, unbothered and careless, making minimal efforts to move, only when their limbs are in danger of one of the kids stepping on them, while running around. The cats have their elegant bodies stretched on the cold tiles, waiting for someone to pet them or give them fish leftover. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, I still wonder how did a day pass that quickly, while seeming so slow?
Our house always smells deliciously. Yesterday it was the mango smell, which occupied the kitchen after we peeled around a kilo in preparation of the mango float (which now I am a master at). In the evening it was the hunger inducing scent of smoked chicken-our dinner courtesy of Nene’s cooking skills. When riding on a motorcycle, it’s the freshness of the greenness and the smell of the numerous colorful flowers that serve for decoration in someone’s backyard. Other days, when I am working at Vilches, it’s the salty ocean smell, mixed with the sunscreen signature scent that I faithfully keep in my bag in my vigorous tries to escape the rather mandatory sun burn.
I will never get sick of staring at the endless horizon, the immeasurable palm trees and the boundless wild fields. Whether having a casual walk between our house and the Cabano’s square or riding a motorcycle, passing by the provinces and the rural areas. I stare and stare and realize that this is enough. It’s all there is and it’s enough. Kaitlyn said that Guimaras is a sweet place to retire. I can’t disagree, but I wouldn’t mind devoting a month once in a while, even during my youth, to visit it, dive into it and become one with it. It’s one of those places that are so welcoming that you forget if you ever felt a greeting as hospitable at all the other places you’ve once spent time at.
You have to learn to appreciate the animals around if you want to survive on the island. This includes tolerating the rooster, which wakes you up at the most random of times (usually between 4-5 am if not even earlier) with its loud crowing, signaling that it’s awake so maybe you need to get your sleepy self out of bed as well. Other times it’s the gecko, which makes the loudest and strangest noise late at night (I swear it sounds like ge-cko ge-cko). My personal favorite it Bebe’s laugh though. The youngest daughter of the Gacita family, which as Kaitlyn put it, talks to you only when she decides she wants to, but silently pays attention to everything you say and gets it all. Our host family has a huge stereo music system and we often turn the house hall into a club (Club Cabano is what we like to call it) of course with the help of Bebe’s DJ skills, which always make sure to expose our most ridiculous dance moves.