COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN – How we ended up with 3in1
I don’t know what we’re going to do when we run out of Nescafe 3in1. In the Philippines you will find anything and everything like toothpaste, laundry detergent and coffee in these ‘cute’ little packets. The Nescafe 3in1 is a mixture of instant coffee, Coffee-Mate and sugar. It’s a no-brainer. Just add hot water and enjoy. It tastes exactly what you’d expect it to taste like – artificial and sweet.
My husband “the Chef” and I ended up slogging a half pound bag of the stuff in our luggage while traveling through Palawan.
It all started in a town called Calamba about an hour and a half drive from Manila. We were staying with my aunt for a few days to visit relatives and acclimatize to our surroundings. My aunt has a few ‘helpers’ around the house including a driver. Believe me when I tell you it is not fun to drive in the Philippines and to save your sanity I think you would get one too.
It’s the first time “the Chef” has traveled to an Asian country so I was quite surprised how easily he adapted to the environment and to the people around him. Soon he was chatting with the cook, the driver and even with the gardener. He does not speak the Tagalog language but somehow he was able to communicate with everyone. It was only inevitable at some point there would be some sort of communication breakdown.
During our stay I discovered “the Chef” had gone back to his unhealthy habit of smoking (working in a restaurant will do that to you). Unbeknownst to me he arranged with my aunt’s driver to buy him a carton of 10 packs of cigarettes.
Well, to my laughter tempered by my horror, this is what he ended up with. 10 cartons!
I don’t want “the Chef” to expire prematurely so I made him take back the rest of the cigarettes. I can’t blame the driver as he speaks only a little English. “Sorry sir but no refund. Only exchange.” And so, we ended up with a couple of bags of the 3in1s and a few bags of Pineapple and Mango Tang (which also came back with us to Canada).
During the day at around mid afternoon when I’m deep in my thoughts and in my writing I start to crave a 3in1. It’s not as if it’s a good cup of coffee. It’s just that after one sweet sip all the good feelings and emotions I had while traveling come back to me. I want to ride that wave of happiness.
The funny thing is I can imagine when I’m finally living out my dream in the Philippines I’ll be craving a freshly brewed coffee but where we’re going there won’t be a Starbucks or Tim Hortons anywhere in sight. I’m okay with that.