Saturday, December 10, 2011

Finding Dinner On My Cebu to Calbayog Boat

Hungry and eager to binge, I went looking for the “canteen” of the ship. Following the apprentice’s earlier instructions, that meant I had to walk the entire length of Deck A – Economy class, since my bed was at rearmost! Hmm, the few passengers on this ship (I imagine there were probably just about 50 of us or less on this class of service) were all settled on the lower beds. I was sure most were not following the bed assignments written on their tickets. That gave me an idea (but more of that later) hehe! And hey, the few that we were, most were settled in front or near the small television on the wall broadcasting the evening news. Maybe that is why I had no immediate “neighbors” over at my bed, though there were roosters in boxes or bayongs. Maybe people were roaming the ship, like I intended to (later)!

Exiting that tourist class area, I was surprised that the glass door is just about 2 meters in front of the canteen. And OMG what a canteen, its tiny! Therefore too few choices! Anyway, I was gunning for a rice meal so I did not bother that they only have Sky Flakes, Piattos, Fiesta Meat Loaf, Chocolate Mallows, Youngstown Corned Beef (meron palang ganyan!), Tortillos, Curly Tops, toasted bread and the big cup-noodles. Busy talking to a colleague at some corner, crew ran to his counter when he saw that I was waiting. I was sure he was/is also an apprentice for he looked even younger and shorter than the others. Isn’t there a height requirement in the shipping industry? Golly his shoulders were just level of the counter-top hehehe! And he revealed the bad news… I was two meal-packs too late for a rice meal as the last two were just taken by another passenger. Arghh!

The first weekend (okay, Friday) of December and it looked like I was going to starve! Is this some indication of what Christmas is going to be?! I pray not! Anyway…

I asked if he can cook just one more set for me. He almost laughed at my request and promptly told me there is no cooking area in his canteen. He told me those meal packs come from their offices on land and are just delivered to him prior to departure time. Ayayayay! I asked if it was still possible to get off this ship and get some rice meals ‘to go’ from those shacks by the pier’s gates. He looked at the time, it was almost 7PM and he shook his head saying I could be left behind. Oh my oh my! The heart sank and the stomach grumbled. This was obviously going to be a dinnerless night. Aaaargh! As I stood there flabbergastedly unbelieving my fate, other passengers came and went though most of them settled for the instant noodles and some bread that lay in a white plastic bag on the counter top. I was trying to think for options…

“Sir, noodles na lang, baka maubusan na kayo” came the kid’s suggestion. The look in his eyes told me he felt sorry to see me having no dinner for the night. But he was quick to offer suggestions as whatever remained in his little canteen seemed to be going briskly. Most folks got noodles and a piece or two of the bread – the size and shape of a baseball. I noticed the noodles are not the ordinary cup size. They’re bowl-sze big, so I asked if there was anything smaller. None! I am no fan of these instant things especially the size of a large popcorn bucket hehe. But I had no choice and I thought the carbs and the hot water that becomes soup (probably a liter in quantity) would have been fine enough to get me through the night. So I asked for one (lest even that be also depleted) and 2 of the SkyFlakes.

“What flavor sir”, came the kid asking. I was still busy thinking how I could last this night without “food” and I casually said “mushroom”. He was suddenly laughing and told me “sir, walang ganyan”. I was sending a txt message to someone, reporting that I got no dinner, so I unconsciously said “asparagus”. Now the kid was scandalizingly laughing at me so I asked “ano problema mo?” – which, while still chuckling he promptly replied with “ikaw sir hahahahaha, ang flavor ng noodles ay chicken lang or beef, walang apparatus”. Now I joined him laughing and managed to say “chicken” hehe. Next he asked if I wanted “Pinoy Chicken” or “Sotanghon Chicken”. Argh how would I know?! So I just asked him which was better. Then he said “Pinoy Chicken, last na ‘to, ubos na”. He opened it and placed hot water (I still say that’s about a liter). And his hot water is really scalding hot, I could not even hold the big cup that’s made of paper.

I asked where should I consume this whole thing since I could not see tables nor anywhere to sit. He said I could make my way back to my bed and eat/slurp everything there or I could go up to the roof deck where there are tables and chairs. ROOF DECK?! This little ship has a roof deck with tables and chairs? My eyes grew excitedly wide, I think I even forgot I was hungry!

And I made my way upstairs to the roof deck, thinking whatever it is, it should be a better place. But let’s talk about that in the next story, aight?!

1 comment :

  1. I love your posts. They're so informative. I've never been on a ship in the Philippines, but hopefully next time I visit, I will try to experience traveling in one one.