Women and Presidents
 
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Two visits to the Philippines at a twenty-year interval. A report of a travel in which the reader will find the crystal vase of my youth as a Young Communist League member, the true story of one thousand and one shoes, flirting with a dictator, a great geographic and a lot of minor historical discoveries O Lord, how beautiful they are! If you rest your glance on a goldfish, it may seem to you that it is not golden but silvery. But there are so many of them: a brisk whirlpool of shining eyes and smiles, and none of the miniature live statues is at rest even for a moment.... Heart-beat in a supermarket, or The advantage of being a gaper I am standing outside the aquarium-like windows of a supermarket, beholding the faerie sight of what is taking place inside like a downright gaper. This is my very first minute in the Philippines, to count the net time, and not the time spent at the airport, one-and-a-half hours of inching forward (when your taxicab is both moving and standing idle and no silver can help you) in an eight-kilome-ter-long traffic jam from Manila Airport to the business quarters Macati, one of a dozen city-districts making up an absolutely unruly Greater Manila. Eight p.m. has just rung. The doors of the supermarket close for entry, and during several minutes the last rivulets of customers pour into the street; now the goldfish in the aquarium are performing a sophisticated ritual dance, evidently, the parting dance. A Manila supermarket is an exact replica of a contemporary supermarket in America or in Europe, with one important exception: its trading premises accommodate ten time as many attendants per square meter. They are girls and young women wearing symbolical skirts and shirts - praise be to the sun outside and the air-conditioning inside; the colour of their dress is the only difference between them, depending on the floor and section. There are so many these motley but equally charming beings there that an embarrassed newcomer may forget wh ... Read more
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