Aug 31, 2006

That Burning Man!

Before coming over, I was under the impression that some Americans do strange things. What else? In the Philippines, we only hear of what Americans do through the news, movies, and novels (remember Sweet Valley High?).

My grandma specifically warned me that Americans do strange things. This is probably because we used to be so enthralled with extreme sports on TV, and she'd say, "Those American kids are just waiting for their bones to be broken." Growing up, I learned that if something is dangerous/embarassing/immoral/stupid, then don't do it. Life could not be simpler.

Then I moved here. It was pretty unnerving the first time people would say the four letter F-word (and that's not FOOD, FISH or FRED) liberally. Transformations include an adjective similar to "pinaka" -- the superlative, to refer to someone really good or really stupid, to tinker with something, or to mess up. It could mean anything. I remember I got a good beating up for cussing when I was little, and here I was, around people who cuss like it was the most normal thing in the world.

Then my friend Paul mentioned that he was going to the Burning Man Festival. People go there to see a wooden man burn - among other reasons. I hear it is one of the craziest events out there. Something like there are no rules, nothing is for sale, and anyone can do whatever they want. Activities include "Get Married by a Whore", "Have a Panty", and "Immortalize your titties". Holy Smokes! This is way crazier than anything I have ever heard.

My grandma does not know how right she is when she said that some Americans do strange things. Like go to a dried up lake to see a wooden man burn. But then again, aren't we all weird to everyone else? I am very much aware that my family and friends here think that I am strange sometimes.

My kababayans would think: what's up with having a festival around a wooden man burning? Wait til they hear what Americans think about a celebration where the main attraction of the party is the skin of roasted pig. But they just don't know how good it is, no? Mga kakabayan, magdungan ta sa pag-ingon: Bitaw!

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