Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Pirates of the Carriedo: The Curse of the Black Market

Yesterday, my darling wife and beloved sisters-in-law journeyed to Quiapo, to visit the "Pirates of the Carriedo, the primary purveyors of pirated movies, music, and much more.

Our journey started with a walk to the center of St Francis Subdivision, where we caught an "FX" for a 20-minute ride to Monumento (cost P35 a head). Once arrived in Monumento, we walked down to the LRT for the train ride to the Carriedo station (P15), where we followed a convoluted trail into the primarily Muslim section of the Quiapo commercial district (I don't know exactly how Muslim these folks are, as the women showed skin, the men sold porn videos, and most of the foodsellers also sold pork products).

On Famski's recommendation, we found "Rams", who sells both high-quality pirated movies (in VCD and DVD formats) as well as imported "legal" editions of American movies, most of which have been subtitled in Chinese, Japanese, or some other -ese. Rams was very friendly, and unlike most of the other vendors, he played each DVD prior to the deal, to show that they were not (overtly) defective.

My official statement is we only purchased legal editions of the movies that we wanted. Honest.

En route back to the LRT, we bought Rani her very first rosary (I must admit to being creeped out by hearing my family haggle vigorously over the price, even if it isn't my religion), mechanical dog and bird toys, and this trip's first Jollibee burger, a Yum! with cheese. Jollibee has several menu options, and even the different sorts of burger have different tastes. For my American readers, the Yum! is most like a vastly oversized Krystal burger, and the flavor of the meat portion is identical.

We're having Rani's "official" birthday party at a Jollibee franchise, after her baptism on Sunday. We're still in the midst of the "actual" birthday celebration, which is complete with cheese-flavored ice cream (I swear, I am not making this up) with bits of real cheese. The proper name of the flavor is "Queso Real (pronounced Ree-ahl)", and it was delivered to the house by a sorbetero, or "ice cream man". The cost is a bit less than US$15 for 3 gallons of some of the best homemade ice cream this side of my Mama's (after tasting this, Ben and Jerry, even though they've been bought out by "the man", will eat their petula-stinking birkenstocks in envy). Tonight's dinner will be pancit (for long life) and crispy pata (deep-fried pig feet) .

As I keep saying, photos will follow.


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