Monday, July 30, 2012

Average Georgia: Touched by a tiara

Just came from dinner with Jaye. Apparently I love bamboo rice with fried hito, especially when it's free because my best friend cares about me, starving writer. The price? Had to endure being laughed at for five hours, when I told him where I was last weekend.

I was at my first ever travel writing gig, covering a new water park/resort (somewhere in Luzon). I sincerely thought that travel writing would be all solitary walks on photogenic white sand beaches but no... I was elbow to elbow with people the whole time. In the shuttle bus, registration, press briefings, cultural shows. Even in the tiny restrooms, where I had to stand in line with the other travel writers (synchronized peeing! a nightmare).

So. many. people. Ran out of small talk topics. Made a snarky remark about the crude sculpture in the lobby, only to be told that it was modeled after the resort owner's mother. (Also, no one laughed! Remember: Don't ever make snarky remarks.)

After the luau and fireworks, which I brilliantly spent at the event organizer's table where everyone was too busy to chitchat, I tried to call it a night. My excuse was I wanted to start on my draft, but they pulled me out of my room for a meet and greet with the former beauty queen who was the resort's spokesperson.

Had ten minutes with her. Ran out of questions in half that time. Awkward moment of me checking my time and her smiling earnestly at me.

And then I said this: "I guess it's a little weird to be doing these small appearances, no? When you've been all around the world being treated like royalty. Do you kind of wish you were still reigning Ms. __________?"

I actually did say that. I have my recording's transcript.

Jaye was, OMG, you totally just insulted your host and your host's spokesperson. And I totally did not mean that.

But she didn't even blink, and told me, "I'm here because I've been around the world and this is where I choose to be. My motto is 'Never wake up wishing you were someone else, somewhere else.'"

"She has a MOTTO?" Jaye said.

I told him to shut up. (She was a beauty queen. Of course she had a motto!) Never mind that she was a pop culture has-been now endorsing a cheesy water park. She was living life regret-free. More than I could say about me. And Jaye.

I couldn't help it. I hugged Ms. Beauty Queen, and actually watched the second round of fireworks willingly. One of the photographers in the group took a really cool pic of me. It looks like I'm on a solitary walk, just as the sky lights up with fireworks. Like this travel writing thing is as glam as I thought it was going to be.

I'm using that photo everywhere. As soon as he emails it to me.

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