Deja vu all over again, we return to Manila


Before I start, here is a picture from yesterday.  Well drilling in the Philippines.

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They use a trash pump for moving the sand, and the simply twist the casing into the sandy ground.  Labor intensive, but efficient and easy.

Decisions, Decisions.  How to return to the Christmas traffic in Manila?  We decided to take a pot shot at December 24th, but a young lady advised otherwise, saying the traffic would be outrageous and there might not be any busses on the 24th because of the holiday.

Digression-I’m in Cavite writing this and the little baby girl mentioned at the party, Lyxn (pronounced Lix-en), just woke up from her nap.  She has the most determined, shrieking, cry that I have ever heard from a teeny baby.  With a set of lungs like that, I think she should become an opera singer!  Smile  WOW, she REALLY gets into it.-End of Digression.

After some thinking, pondering, and stewing, we decided that we should leave the night before.  We started on 2am, then midnight, and chickened out.  Went for 10pm instead.   So, set the alarm and up and at ‘em at 9:30pm.

We almost immediately picked up a Viron air conditioned bus at Santo Thomas for about 650 pesos for the two of us and off we sailed into the night enroute to Cubao.  No way to shoot pictures and I wasn’t in the mood.  I hate short sleep rations.  The driver was careful and calm, we rolled down the road at a quick but safe pace.  Hardly anyone on board, which flummoxed me for a while.  Maybe 20 passengers.    They tried to pick some more up, but finally they gave up.  We cruised.  The air conditioning worked too well.  A little cold.

As many of my readers know, I’m quite observant.  I don’t sleep well on a bus or plane, so I leaned back in the seat and watched…as bus after bus after bus after bus after bus…passed by fully loaded in the opposite direction.  I let my thoughts drift and realized I was watching the holiday migration from Manila to somewhere, ANYWHERE else.   Armadas of cars, too.  Heavily loaded trucks going out as well.  It seemed to be a solid stream, but our driver still found places to pass the occasional slow poke going in our direction.   I think that the number of busses going by was over two per minute.  So in a five hour trip 300 minutes times 2.5 busses with 60 people on board  equals an astounding 45,000 passengers.  Not all originated in Manila but…If that isn’t some sort of hegira (Look it up, folks, on dictionary.com), then what the heck is it?  I’ll bet that the rush is still going today, and I’m sure it started long before we left Agoo.

Slow night, 1 am, everyone was asleep but me and the driver, and wouldn’t you know it?  One of those pesky pedal tricycles appeared out of no where.  The driver grabbed the brakes hard.  The conductor was dozing in his seat near the door.  A slick plastic seat as well.  And off he slid, suddenly fully awake and grabbing anything he could to keep from falling into the stairs.  The driver and I exchanged chuckles and the conductor smiled ruefully.  Later on, he disappeared back to an empty seat and finished his nap.  The driver gave him permission.  I suspected that the conductor was going to have to turn around and leave Manila as soon as possible and the driver was helping the conductor out.  There still had to be a bunch of people in Manila/Cubao.

On to the freeway, I dozed a bit.  And finally into Manila at 3 am.  A short wait for traffic here and there, but no big deal.  Leaving early had worked great.  Into the station area and my earlier thoughts were confirmed.  Hoards and lines of people waiting for busses.  I wondered if some of them hadn’t been waiting all night.  The din was incredible, busses, taxis, cars, jeepneys, motorcycles, people, and soon us; all trying to go somewhere, but someone or something was always in the way.  Everyone lays on their horns in frustration, I don’t think that helps one tiny bit.   We joined into the fracas, trying to find a bus or a jeepney to Makati.  Found it after walking a block and got on board.

The trip across town went well, also.  We got to Praxy’s sister’s house at 4:30am, not bad.  After a bit of chatting, we settled down for a nap.

Up at nine, Praxy wanted to go to her other sister’s house.  I liked the idea, but I was again wondering what we would run into as far a crowds went.   Nita’s house is on the south edge of Manila, and Nora lives in Cavite which is further south.  We decided to give it a go.

So, a tricycle ride to the jeepney stop.  A jeepney to a mall.  Cross the freeway on an overhead walkway.  Into the mall and downstairs to the parking lot.  Another jeepney from the mall to Cavite.  Then finally another tricycle to Nora’s house.  Sounds simple.  It kind of was.  There was a “jeepney broker” arranging the jeeps a the first stop and it was a little confusing, even to the locals.  I had to tell a couple of young men how to do it, they made a mistake.  The jeepneys in the mall were very hard to find and the traffic coming out of the parking lot was terrible.  I nearly roasted before we finally got moving in the fresh air.  The second ride was very long, and I’m a little bit big for jeepneys and motor tricycles.  So I was very stiff after a 30 minute ride from the mall to Cavite.  Then we had to wander around a bit in Cavite on a tricycleto find Nora’s house.  All in all, it went great.  Praxy and I are getting better at navigating the tricky world that is Manila.

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23 of us in the jeepney from the mall to Cavite, including the driver.  Hot hot hot.

There were a ton of nephews and nieces, brothers and sisters, and friends to meet in Cavite.

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We ate candy and chatted, a nice way to spend Christmas eve.

I also found out little Lyxn’s name.   I also also found out she is ill, I hope she comes out of it OK.

Travelers, it pays to keep up on your inoculations.   Lyxn’s disease is highly communicable and dangerous, but Praxy and I are safe.

Safely in Cavite.  23 more days to go.

12/24/2011  7:00pm

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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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