You’re not supposed to do this when you’ve traveled thousands of miles to a different country on holidays but today I spent the whole entire day by myself ON THE COUCH.
This damn cold has left me feeling like crap and to be honest I’m just exhausted so I opted NOT to go to the theme park with hubby and the kids.
Couldn’t think of anything worse when my head is pounding and my muscles feel like someone just punched me all over.
Only one more day here and then we fly to Thailand for the one night stop over and then take the long journey back to Australia.
I AM looking forward to going home, not because I haven’t enjoyed this trip but it’s been more exhausting than others (this is my third time here in Manila) simply because we stayed a fair distance from the city and have had to take taxi’s everywhere to get somewhere.
Taking a taxi here is more difficult than what you might expect.
Sometimes they just don’t want to pick you up, for a start.
I’m not sure why, but I think because there are so MANY taxi’s they can be fussy about where they want to go.
Sometimes even the taxi drivers get frustrated with the traffic and just won’t drive in it.
A journey that should take ten minutes can sometimes take an hour!
We had one taxi driver this trip that we soon realised was taking advantage of us being tourists.
Pretty soon we became aware that we were in a totally unfamiliar area (which is hard to decipher because so many places look the same) and it was obvious he was driving us round in circles, taking us through back streets to get a better fare out of us.
Eventually my husband spoke up and made it clear that he was suspicious of where we were being taken.
The driver feigned ignorance but shortly after this while we were stopped in heavy traffic a young boy -probably about twelve years old, leaped in front of the cab and began washing the windscreen.
Immediately the cab driver cracked open the door and yelled at the boy, who then looked momentarily startled but hesitantly continued washing the window.
When he was finished he looked at the cab driver expectantly, hoping for some money, to which to cab driver again cracked open the door and yelled again at the boy.
The kid then stood at the window and mouthed something….I guess something not nice, but he didn’t yell it, or seem to say it in a really TERRIBLE rude way, but whatever he said infuriated the taxi driver who then LEAPED out of the door and began chasing the boy between the trucks stopped in the traffic.
The kid got such a scare that he threw his bucket and squeegee over a wall and prepared to leap over it himself….Meanwhile the taxi driver ran back to our cab (We’re all sitting there astonished and struck dumb) and seemed to be looking for something under his seat.
Oh God…..not a weapon? I was thinking..
I don’t know what he was scrabbling round for…but then he sat back in his seat for a moment before the kid yelled something AGAIN, which set the cab driver running after him in a frenzy once more.
Just then the traffic started moving again (Thank goodness) so the boy was saved…..not without sticking a finger up at the driver though as we pulled away.
How do you react to a situation like that?
We all said nothing but the tension in the cab was palpable.
I was praying in my head that my husband wouldn’t bitch anymore about the cab fare, not with this driver who seemed in dire need of some anger management therapy….Thank goodness he didn’t.
We all couldn’t wait to make a fast exit from THAT ride!
Most of the time though the taxi drivers are fine. On previous trips we’ve had some real characters. One man laughed the entire trip, at what we said, what HE said, at anything basically, which made us laugh the entire trip too. Most of the time the Filipino people are very happy and cheerful.
One other time my husband asked the driver how much it would be to a destination to which he shrugged his shoulders and said “You decide.”
lol! How weird is that?
Bet he was bargaining on us being dumb tourists who don’t KNOW how much fares should be.
Sometimes we’ve had good conversations with cab drivers (I enjoy that.)…other times they just turn the music up – loud (God, more noise!) and simply drive, peering through windscreens that are strung with dozens of religious dangly thingamabobs and wobbly bobby headed thingies on the dashboard, that it’s a wonder they can see where they’re going.
There are no seat belts in the back of cabs here, and IF there are they probably don’t work – one part or the other is missing.
It’s a very weird feeling getting in a car and not having a seat belt on.
Not that the traffic moves fast….it’s pretty much bumper to bumper and painfully slow.
There is however, it seems, a recent rule that front seat passengers(and the driver) by law should have their seat belt on.
My husband though, who seems to think he can just assimilate into other cultures by doing what they do, with no regard for the law, or his own safety, was not putting on his seatbelt – hey if the drivers weren’t, he wasn’t going to. I guess that was his thinking.
Until we got pulled up by the cops!
One thing seems to be the same….you get the same sort of power hungry, like to throw their weight around kind of cops here as you do back home. Same self important swagger, same leaning into the car window fixing you with a stern stare.
Same lecturing, all of which was received by a very humble, apologetic taxi driver and a slightly worried hubby – especially when the cop asked for my husbands passport, then read the wrong page and started going on about expired visa’s etc.
He was reading something pertaining to my husband’s travels to Bangladesh.
There was a very tense moment though where I started imagining that this cop was going to drag us all down to the station for further questioning, or something.
He seemed to be looking for something to pin on us besides the seatbelt thing.
The driver said a few things to him in Tagalog, the cop said a few more….and then miraculously all was well again. Not even a fine. (Or a bribe.)
Mind you! The ridiculousness of this situation is that everywhere you look here, I mean EVERYWHERE someone is doing something amazingly stupid, reckless, and downright dangerous.
The other day I saw three men, wearing flip flops, climbing from the top of a five storey building….like on the roof….around a wall separating two buildings….hanging OFF the building to get around this wall to the roof of the next building. The decorative wall topping the fringe of the building that they were balanced on didn’t look very sturdy either!
The garbage men sit on top of the canvas (or plastic) tarped garbage truck….On top of refuse….on top of a moving truck, through traffic. This is standard practise it seems.
People hang off the back of jeepneys, tiny children sit on the handlebars of motorbikes, three or four people sit together on motorbikes… You see people all the time, asleep, in the back of trucks and vans with the doors open, if there even are doors.
Workers climb way up high on scaffolding with no safety gear, no harnesses, no hard hats, with only flip flops balancing on slippery metal poles.
In Thailand though we were all most amused by this sign inside the cab. So much so that as we laughed and took a picture I glanced at the driver expecting at least a smile of amusement at OUR amusement.
Apparently Thai people take this very seriously though because he remained expressionless.
I mean, how ridiculous. Sometimes it’s just impossible to….hold it in. (So hubby says!)
What are they going to do?
It wasn’t long before we reached a speed of 150 km an hour…at one point hitting a bump in the road and I swear, becoming momentarily airborne -this is when I reconsidered what the sign must mean.
Perhaps “No crapping violently in your pants!” is more in order.
Definitely wear a seatbelt in Thailand.
Perhaps also some sort of incontinence pad too.
And maybe also some odour absorbing “farty pants”.
Got any strange taxi ride stories?
I’d love to hear them.
I’m sure there are many more out there.