Shortly after leaving the internet bar yesterday afternoon I stepped into a taxi and explained that I was arriving at a local hotel but didn’t have the address, only a phone number. We could barely understand eachother (in mandarin!) because his cantonese accent was so strong, but he handed me his phone to make the call. I called and was quickly connected to someone who spoke perfect english, maybe an american, saying that he could tell the driver where to take me. So we left and a few moments later I arrived on another unfamiliar street where I step out and peek around looking for a sign for the hotel named “Augusters”.¬† Before I can find anything a middle-aged Phillipino woman asks me if I’m looking for the hotel before leading me through a small alley into a side-door, up three flights of stairs, and into the small lobby space where she explains that I spoke to her husband who told her I was on my way. 17 years ago she, a Phillipino, met and was wed to her Bangladeshi husband, where they now happily live and both speak cantonese. Now that lodgings were handled, I was free to not worry about much of anything for the next 24 hours.
I stepped outside onto the street again, this time knowing that I’d have a place to return to with only my camera, 28-135 IS lens, and tripod in my backpack. I walked the streets with camera in hand at 6:30pm as the shadows grew longer until they were no more. The best light of the day is arguably between 5:30-7:30pm, depending on time of year, and I took full advantage of it. I took a few hundred shots before seeking out the St Augustine building, walking up steep cobble-stoned streets lined with motorbikes when I saw two Chinese photographers walking just in front of me. I said hello and introduced myself, finding that both of these fellows speak english, and we walked the streets taking photos before eating dinner in a small cantonese restaurant. Our conversation jumped into and out of a number of topics, and I was happy to find locals that I could communicate with who share some of my interests. I took photos with them until midnight last night, capturing almost 400 of the best photos that I think I’ve taken in a year. It’s really been too long.
It’s 1:30pm now. It’s just stopped raining, and the sun is brightly shining. Who knows what today will hold?