smoke and light

Afternoon Talk

Afternoons in the Phillipines are an important social time. The oppressive heat of the day begins to dissipate and people slowly emerge to wander the market, eat BBQ’d street food, talk, and burn their rubbish.

afternoon burn off

Jerry and I like to walk in these late afternoons, or ride tricycles to neighbouring municipalities, or leg-it to other barangays. The faces are different but the lives are the same: men working by the side of the road, hammering, planting rice or tending their stock of fighting roosters.

Jerry and I ask permission for photos. The men oblige and smile but seem too afraid to engage in conversation with the odd white woman wandering the highway without an umbrella.

The roosters shout to the afternoon sun as Jerry and I cover the entry points to our lungs with little face masks. Maybe we can block a bit of that smoke.

And as we sit in a tricycle waiting for the driver to take us home, I flick through my cellphone of afternoon photos. The driver peering over our shoulders shrieks in amusement as his uncle (repairing a motorbike chain by the side of the road) slides through the  cell phone’s camera roll.

© 2018 Melinda J. Irvine


Written by Melinda J. Irvine

Melinda J. Irvine is a freelance writer, poet, and blogger — writing slick sales copy for clients from all over the world. And blogging poetry. In her spare time, Mel is busy building (and writing) a free online learning centre for the marginalised kids of Estancia, Philippines.

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