My Machismo in Manila

I self-medicate with a kebob stick

I hate pain
My pain face
pain relief
How I cope: beer + ice
The Peninsula Hotel, Manila pool is breathtaking, a clear blue oasis that calls to me irresistibly after a week in Typhoon Taipei. The sun is warm on my skin, and I yearn for a day of pool-side bliss. Into this perfect vision, I find a deck chair positioned just right, and start to recline it for maximum sunage, when..

AAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!

I scream this and much more and much worse, teaching the kids staring open-mouthed at my anger and actions swear words that not even sailors know. Cursing gods, mothers, and all variety of farm animals I hold my bird finger of my left hand in agony.

Mashed in the deck chair, it colors from tan to bruise in seconds, with the nail bed turning an ominous deep, dark purple and the whole digit throbbing with each heartbeat. As my swearing subsides to a low curing rumble, the over-attentive pool boys of the Peninsula Hotel spring into action.

Ice appears, as does a nurse and many concerned faces. I am asked to see the hotel doctor and besides the shock that a hotel in 2006 has a hotel doctor on call, I decline. This isn’t my first finger mash and there is not much a doctor, or I can do besides aspirin, elevation, and if needed, piercing the nail to relieve the pressure under the nail bed.

And now the best in self-medication, one reason I call myself a traveler not a tourist. Standing there, mid tan, with the pool boys looking on in a mixture of shock and awe, I pull a kebob of fruit off a passing tray, eat the fruit, and then jab the wooden kebob under my bird finger nail.

Blood spurts, pool boys jump, and pressure in my finger drops from heartbeat throbbing to dull ache. I pop two aspirin, and as the pool boys start to chatter about my machismo in Tagalong, I retire to the offending deck chair, demanding free bandages and margaritas (not necessarily in that order) as compensation.

Yes, I might be the dumb-ass who mauls his finger in a deck chair, but I know how to finagle free drinks out of the self-mutilation.


  1. Looks like u had a pretty good time there in manila. I haven’t been to the phils for like 5 yrs now. By what i read on ur entries, looks like phils hasn’t changed one bit…I think manila would be the only city that i know that would have ice and beer together…lolz well as far as i know. Have u been to other places in the phils other than manila?