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Parrots and Small Animals Sanctuary (3)

They hurry to their room, change clothes and go to the formal dining room. There the waiters are dressed in traditional Filipino clothing. The scent of the beautiful flowers on the tables fills the room. The women sit down at a table for four. A waiter approaches. He holds a tray of various teas and invites them to choose one.

Donita:     (To the waiter.) I’d like to try a       
            traditional tea; what do you suggest?
Waiter:     (Points to teas.) This one is a sweet    
            tea, this one is black, here is a ginger, and   
            here is a green. 
Donita:     Thank you; I’ll have the black tea. (The 
            waiter and his assistant pour hot water into the 
            tea pot, swirl the water around then pour it out 
            into a small bucket.. More hot water is then    
            poured over the loose tea, strained and poured  
            into individual pots.)
Sandra:     I’ll have the same. (Another waiter      
            appears with a colorful array of small          
            sandwiches and desserts.)
Donita:     This one and that one, please. (Pointing 
            to her selection.)
Sandra:     They look beautiful; can you tell me what 
            this is?
Waiter:     This is Bibinka. This one is Cassava     
            Cake. This is Pastillas de Leche. You might like 
            to try this one, Pinpig Plovoron. And this is an 
            invitation for both of you. (He hands an        
            envelope to Sandra.)
Sandra:     Thank you. (Opens the invitation.) “You  
            are invited to the Fiipino Crew Show in         
            the Theater. There will be singing, comedy and  
            dancing by the crew at 11:15 p.m.”
Donita:     11:15! That sounds like fun, but I don’t 
            know if I can stay awake that late. (Laughing.) 
            I better take a short nap.
Sandra:     Good idea!

The women go back to their staterooms to relax before they need to get ready for dinner.Donita is very tired and stretches out on the bed. Sandra starts reading the daily newspaper.

Sandra:     I’m going to read a little more about    
            Dominica.
Donita:     Maybe we should start reading about      
            Curacao as that’s the next island we’ll see.
Sandra:     Maybe, but listen to this… (Reading.)    
            These people are believed to have left the      
            rainforests in South American to settle in the  
            Caribbean. Women spoke one language, Maipurean  
            while the men spoke another. It is thought that 
            the reason for this was that all the women had  
            been captured from another tribe.”
Donita:     But wouldn’t they have learned each      
            other’s language at some time?
Sandra:     According to this article, they might    
            have happened, but women still preferred to     
            speak to other women in Maipurean and to the men 
            in Carib. It became known as the language of    
            women. 
Donita:     (Sleepily.) I wonder if the children     
            became bi-lingual.
Sandra:     Go to sleep; I’ll wake you up in time for 
            dinner and the show. Don’t forget It’s formal   
            tonight.

After dinner the women join other passengers in watching the show. Two of the dancers explain the meaning of La Jota Moncadena (Castanet Dance). Then they watch the “Pandanggo sa Ilaw (Candlelight Dance). Two women dance wearing crowns of lighted candles on their heads. The audience seems to collectively hold its’ breath until the girls finish dancing and extinguish the lights.

Next the dancers demonstrate a traditional Planting Rice Dance, “Magtatanim and finally the Bamboo Dance (Tinikling). The audience jumps to their feet cheering and applauding for the fantastic entertainment.

The next morning, the women get up early, get dressed and have breakfast. They are excited about going onshore. While waiting for the ship to dock, Donita is reading the daily newspaper outloud.

Donita:     This is rather funny! “In 1499 Spanish   
            explorer Alonso de Ojeda claimed Curacao for    
            Queen Isabella. Many of the explorers were from 
            Valencia, Spain and decided to grow the famous  
            oranges from that region. However, they did not 
            grow well on the island and had a bitter taste. 
            In disgust, some of the growers let the oranges 
            ferment, but didn’t want to waste the food. So, 
            they discovered by accident the fermented       
            oranges mad a good liqueur!  
Sandra:     That is ironic! I know a Margarita would 
            not be the same without Curacao! Let’s go out on 
            deck and watch the ship dock.
Author: Torsten Daerr