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Where is the Patis?

Earlier this evening i was cooking "sinigang na baboy" (pork in tamarind-soured stew). I always have this peculiar cravings for sweets whenever i'm sick but notably this time i wanted to have tom yam.. the closest i can get to tom yam was sinigang na baboy (great difference since tom yam is like forever with seafood and i'm allergic to all those crustaceans swimming deliciously on a spicy tangy soup.) I just realized that i have cooked this delightful original filipino recipe inside my hotel room for the past 4 years n different layovers. I have already devised a way of cooking it from the the usual since you cannot do so much in a small pot and a moderated cooker temperature. now it's perfect but it's due for consumption tomorrow lunch. good thing i brought my miniature patis (fish sauce) from my last Bangkok flight and my sinigang mix. it's like i already knew i was going to crave sinigang for some strange reason..

Anyhow, a friend recently told me that compared to his simple life, mine is so extravagant. I do agree on that yes in some aspect.

  • I do find myself having my Sunday brunch in Paris, a full course meal by the Dead Sea in Jordan. Afternoon tea in London and perhaps dinner over-looking the stars in Rome. All of which done at 40,000 feet, by the galley counter.... standing and usually timed for no more than 20 minutes. well anyway you can eat as much as you like for as long as the pax are done and all are in peace.

  • Wanted to tell him that yes we take compliments and we smile but also we take complaints with a hard blow - not to mention the blinding spits of saliva molecules that gets to your eyes at times, the annoying hand gestures and bb (go figure). I'm amazed how much i become oh so graceful handling such. Lucky you can hung-up, make faces and mute the conversation while the disgruntled customer talks incessantly by the phone.

  • I had manners long before flying but i learned more after collecting dirty trays and place them back neatly inside the carts. after cleaning the pee soaked lavatories and after taking and gashing other people's trash. You need not be rich and experienced or sent to a training school to learn common courtesy, to be polite and to be thankful for the little people who makes your life easier. (the slave treated with no tip waiters who makes several trips and suffers because of your indecisiveness, the bathroom attendants who cleans up your mess after throwing up and the yelled-out maid who fixes your flat).

  • We don't work a 9 to 5 sched yet we fly to different time zones. it's more lethargic trying to adjust your sleeping habits always (the operational word) when you my friend on the other hand choose not to sleep.

  • the glamour of independence, and the ugly face of dying alone. The life you so ever wanted but when reality sinks in, it's not what you really expected. the parties, the interesting characters you meet. you make a scheduled rendezvous then you check-in to the most posh hotel, change to your best cocktail dress, reserve a seat on the finest resto and yet suddenly you are all by yourself, sitting alone on a strange place where no one understands you at all.

Flying is a job like any other that requires great skill and character. it's not all "welcome on board, hi! hello! buh-bye" and voila i'm in whichever place on earth. My life as a flight attendant is not very extravagant.. but HUMBLING. it's not all Gucci here LV that... it's not how many digits your salary is... it's not how many places you've been to. those are perks, superficial perks. the real blessing is the experience that will forever mold you as an appreciative, non-discriminating, learned individual. And now back to my sinigang-my comfort-the-sick food that i cooked from scratch, inside my hotel room here in Beijing. Life is not always a box of chocolate, it can be sinigang.. the more sour the better.

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