Manila, the word must translate to “traffic jam” in English

My condolences to the families in Mindinao and Negros on their loss of friends and family in the typhoon on 12/16.  We were in Manila, in the north, and just got wet.  The typhoon crossed Negros just south and over the mountain from Dumaguete.

Notice again there are no pictures.  I haven’t bothered.  All they would show is either crowds of Christmas shoppers or crowds of vehicles.  I’m not kidding.

How to describe yesterday and be positive.  Not easy, except we had a great time at the Asgad reunion.

Zenaida, Emily, and Brent decided to come by our motel and meet up to help us find our way to the party.  That sounded great, they would be here sometime around 4pm.  So I was downstairs waiting for them at 4:15.  I waited.  And waited.  And waited (sound like the ferry?).  And waited.  Praxy joined me at 5:30.  And then WE waited.  Finally at 6 they showed up.  2 1/2 hours to make a normally 15 minute trip, they had left at 3:30!  Everyone was hungry so we took off for the mall to hit the food court.  Raining, but no big deal, right?  Hah!  Dinner was done by 7, so we took off for the reunion.

Outside to get a cab.  None.  We waited and waited.  Nope, none available.  So off walking in the rain to catch a cab on the main drag.  Waited and waited.  Nope, no cabs there either.  So we caught a jeepney to another spot where there were cabs.  Waited and waited.  Nope, none there either.  Meanwhile, the rain pours down on us.  One stopped.  When the driver heard where we were going, he scoffed and refused to take us saying words to the effect “You’ll be waiting in line until morning”.  Caught another jeepney to the Quezon SM mall.  Mistake.  Our reward was one hour sweltering in a jeepney creeping along in a traffic jam, exhaust smoke, crowded, hot, and miserable.   That was “waited and waited” in a sardine can.  There was a guy with four boxes of baby chicks in the jeepney.  I wondered if they would be the “canaries in a coal mine” and let us know when the exhaust fumes reached lethal levels.  None died that I could see.   There were four cars broke down in this stretch.  Knowing Filipinos, I’ll bet they ran out of gas.  They always run below 1/4 on the gas gauge.

But we got to the SM mall and things were looking up.  Right?  Wrong.  We waited and waited in the rain.  As cab after cab came by loaded with people.  Finally Zenaida come up with a plan.  It was a four block walk to the bus road (in the rain) and…VIOLA, busses.  We caught the first one headed for Commonwealth (our street) and we were off.  Slowly at first as the busses loaded around us (ours too), but we picked up speed.  I was thinking by now that I wanted a bus back to our hotel.  I contemplated jumping out the window and grabbing the now plentiful empty cabs and go back to our room.  I closed my eyes on the bus and wished I was home in front of the fireplace with my cat James on my lap.  Brooding and disgusted, I vowed I was NOT going to try to go to Corregidor the next day.  By the time we got to the dock, 24 hours will have passed by.

How do these people live like this?

Finally time to get off the bus.  Up and over the road on an elevated crosswalk and…WE WERE FINALLY THERE.  3 hours of standing in the rain or waiting in traffic (at 2:30am it took us less than 15 minutes to return to our hotel by cab).

The mood was festive and happy, and soon the bitter trip to the party was a irritating memory.  There was dancing, music, families, food, and fun.  Praxy chatted with friends and relatives and I settled down to people watching and enjoying the atmosphere.  What a nice bunch of people.

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Dancing talking and just generally having fun with all the wonderful people from Asgad and their children and friends.

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The newest and youngest member of the “family”,  Karen and her one month old baby,   She was all smiles until…

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Until Praxy tried to hold her.   She set up a horrible fuss, much to everyone’s delight and good humor.  The little gal was suddenly hungry and mom had to take care of that and take care of it RIGHT NOW!   We were all laughing like crazy.

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As I mentioned on Facebook, I got roped into joining in the Aminudo dance.  A rice sifter is place on the floor and you dance around it.  People walk up and toss 20 peso bills into the plate.  I didn’t make much money, but everyone clapped and roared with laughter.   I was embarrassed by it, but with a little liquid fortitude, (Philippine brandy) I was up to the challenge.

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Praxy bought a bunch of raffle tickets and we won two of the food baskets.  Zenaida and Emily each got one, Praxy and I didn’t have any room to carry them.  2,500 pesos worth of food, not bad.

The trip back to the motel was uneventful, but Praxy and I had decided that we had had enough of “traffic jam”.   We were planning a trip to Tagaytay when Connie Daugherty called from Agoo (not a goo, a go-oh, both o’s long).   We decided to spent one more day in Manila (“traffic jam”) with Arturo and his family, but it is time to head to the quieter climes of rural Luzon.  Off north we go-oh.

12/19/2011  7:00pm

About Ken

I am a federal employee that loves to travel. I don't get any time off during the busy salmon tagging season, March through November. So, I save my leave and explore the warmer parts of the world during the winter.
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