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Not-so-quiet Drink in the Philippines

“Ok guys, I want you to stay here for tonight”, commanded the Duty Officer. “Aye, sir”, I grinningly answering. Hey, it’s a better position then I would say about an hour ago when the local natives were running me down. In this corner, 3 sailors and for the home team … alot. Even odds I say being the opposition averages a mere 5 feet tall. But when your in foreign land its odds you wouldn’t want to bet on. Unless ….

Subic Bay, Philippines. Ours, was the first Nuclear Submarine being allowed in the country since the departure of the Military long ago. A once bustling town of Olongopo City, full of life and commerce centered by the naval base. What’s left now is a Freeport in which resorts and Casinos fill the vacant lots. A struggling economy that doesn’t suit the friendly locals. But it never does. Somehow as a stranger you see things as if you can help and make a difference but deep down you know you can’t. So you carry on. Enjoy the much deserved port time. What does this new land have in store for us? Lets see. Playing basketball with the locals and while trying to avoid the side bets and thong slippers. Jeepneys at every corner “pssst, pssst, mister you need a ride?”. Practically next to nothing custom-made tailoring and karaoke “fun” bars. Retired U.S. military owned bars staff by beautiful local talent and the Discothèques. hmmmm…Where the excitement begins.

Spending our free time away from work and commitments the 3 of us set off for much deserved break. Myself at 5’7″, Zach a muscular white guy at 6’4″, and Phillips a brother from Detroit at 6’5″. I wasn’t much for bar hopping yet but as we strolled along the strip we knocked down a few beers here and there. We overheard a loud rhythmic bumping sound around the corner and investigated. Sure enough with its neon lights beckoning us it had to be our destination. Unfortunately our final as we learned later.

We made our way in and upward the stairs towards the club. Being that it was our first night out in this new land we were excited about seeing the different atmosphere and the locals and I admit the girls. Speaking of … about 5 locals descending down the stairs wildly as we came up. That’s where it all began. I noticed that the group was a little tipsier than I would say for any normal person but thought nothing of it. As our paths crossed, Phillips and a local made contact. An apologetic “my bad” was issued from Phillips to the local, however in the state that the bunch was in, it was sadly missed. Now for every action there is a equal, opposite reaction. Although when an enhancing substance is in your system the senses are altered and instincts take over. As it did Phillips. I don’t really blame him … well … yeah I do. A remark of “watch it nigger” was not appreciated as one of the locals ended up to be the lucky recipient of a right hook by Phillips. As the melee broke out with fists flying everywhere we managed to head upstairs and into the club. Securely we thought inside with a guard at the door we took a breather. A brief one at that. As the doors flew open and chairs went flying, lights exploded on and we broke to each corner. Bad move. Just like in the movies the record screeched to a halt. Now I’ve been known to talk my way out of a lot of bad situations, fights included and being that I was of Asian descent with my brown hide I thought maybe I could possibly do the same here. I was wrong. A sucker punch proved that. I took one in the jaw followed by mass confusion that I was in an actual bar fight!!! Fell right into that stereotype of drunken sailors and bars .. Didn’t I? Cool that it was my first one and what a story I can tell the grandkids about, if I survive. Not so cool when the 5 became an overwhelming majority of the club. I managed to dodge a few other blows while parring some kicks while never striking. Don’t know why I didn’t choose to swing back. I guess somewhere in watching all that Kung Fu theater stuff it made me passive and it all made sense that night. Felt that I could’ve easily unleashed my “Tigers Claw” or “Swooping Crane” at anytime I chose to, but I didn’t. Being much of fan of the genre I knew I would’ve probably ended up dealing with the avenging son years down the road. Believe you me they always find their man. I looked across and there I see Phillips making a run for the same stairs we came up through. Punched and kicked on the way out as if it was some sort of gang initiation I see Zach doing the same. Knowing now where I had to be I made a break for it. Dashed down the stairs like a bolt of lightning I came onto the open street that lay silent. No signs of anyone. No Phillips, no Zach just an old lady selling eggs to no-one. I asked her if she so happened to see a couple frantic guys running about but I guess that was lost in my accent, or lack of. I made my way down the block and felt the ground rumble beneath me. Turned my head back and saw a stampede of the same locals at the club giving chase. You see, little as they knew I ran Cross-Country and Track in High school and was fairly good at it but again that was back then. I had to summon the old muscles they lay dormant for years and off I was running for an unknown finish line. A flat-bed truck, which has been converted into a taxi, rolled along side me with the driver gesturing me to hop on came just in a nick of time. Onboard the jeepney I thanked him for being where he was and ordered him to “take me to the base!!!” A much deserve tip to the driver I left as we approached the gates. Ahhh safe haven at last.

Leaving the Discotheque, the drunken locals and an unforgettable night behind I entered the base and continued to the ship to what lay ahead. Reprimand, punishment? … I had to find the other guys was my first and only thought. I broke down the ordeal to the Duty Officer and we set out with a couple other guys to find them. We were well prepared this time with fire arms so I felt a little better. Surely we wouldn’t need to use them but just the same its nice to have in case, right? A report was made to the police station about an American that was brought there by a hysterical Jeepney driver. There is where we started.

Quiet views are the best, says Sim

Sure enough we picked up Zach from a cell who inherited scratches and a ripped shirt. Zach has his own story to tell. “What happened to you man?” As he recalled the story to me. When he came down the stairs he managed to find a Jeepney right away. Unfortunately it was wedged in between 2 other ones. Not good. The driver woken up by the sudden change in weight of his vehicle turned around to catch 6 other locals jumping into the back. As they stood tall in the Jeepney underneath the pile was I bleeding and scracthed up white guy balled up. The driver took to the streets and to the police station at once. Within the police station the two parties was separated by cells and so Zach’s night of fun came to an end. On a hunch we picked up Phillips at the hotel room we were suppose to stay at that night. He opens the door in his boxers as if nothing had happened. “I guess your Ok” I asked curiously, “Yeah man, I’ve done a lot of running away from people in Detroit, it’s all good”. Back to the ship we went. Back to what the Duty officer had in store for us. Oh man …. first night out. Looking forward to the rest of the port time or lack of after tonight. But luck would have it no reprimand, no punishment. Just a “why don’t you guys stay here tonight” weeehh! . “Aye sir”.

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