It's the phrase that greets every foreign guy in the Philippines on a daily basis. And perhaps nobody personifies the meaning of this moniker better than Ted Lerner, an American whose popular, freewheeling column, "Hey, Joe," has been entertaining readers in the Philippines and overseas for nearly 15 years.
In "Hey, Joe," Ted presents a collection of his best Manila stories, a kaleidoscope of funny and bizarre incidents, offbeat characters and keen observations dished up by a wide-eyed foreigner living in a city exploding with life, unfathomable urban chaos and a story around every corner.
Readers will hitch a ride with the author and spend a night a t the cock fights - the Philippines' violent and gentlemanly national pastime. Walk through bustling, colorful markets that turn the senses on full blast. Experience the harrowing thrill of riding a bicycle through some of the world's worst and wildest traffic. Visit a secretive girlie bar reserved mainly for foreigners. Enjoy the party-like atmosphere in the cemetery of one of the world's most unique observances of the dead. Lounge in the authror's very own urban nipa hut. Hang out with the rather laid back and care free folks on Manila's lively and teeming streets.
Simple daily living also provides material for fascinating and humurous reading. From his run ins with mangy Filipino mutts, to everyone asking him "Where's my Christmas?," to the characters who peddle every product under the sun through his neighborhood, the author captures perfectly the ups and downs of everyday life experienced by the foreigner living in one of the world's largest and most chaotic cities.
In all, the 33 short stories in "Hey, Joe" paint a multi-colored portrait of this imposing Asian metropolis, a third world, urban travel adventure as told not only through a foreigner's eyes, but also through his ears, nose, fingers and mouth.
Indeed, like the city of Manila itself,, Ted Lerner's "Hey, Joe," is a full body experience.