Thursday, November 30, 2006

Public transportation

I have no car here in Roxas City, my new (old) home. I have to depend on relatives to take me around the first week I was here. But this gets old so I am learning to take public transportation.

There are two choices: a tricycle which is a Nazi type vehicle with motorcycle and side cab and there is the minicab.

I am not tall but here in the island, I tower over people's heads. When I get inside the minicab, I must bend very low so I do't hit the roof. This small cab fits about 12 tiny local residents. One day I was pushed all the way inside the cab. I couldn't see my stop because the windows were below my eye level. When I saw the blur of my cousin's blue house next door, I realized I was way past my stop. Imagine getting out of this cab! When I asked the driver to stop, it was all too sudden, the people around me were taken by surprise with the unexpectef stop and my loud voice asking the driver to "Para" (stop). Then as I tried to get out of this cramped, modified jeepney, I kept saying, "excuse me", "excuse me" until I could push past all the legs on the very narrow aisle while keeping my head bent to keep from hitting the roof. It is the most awkward position.

I think the tricycle is a better deal. If I pay three times the regular price, I can ride with my assistant and we could have the tricycle to ourselves. If not, I could be riding with 8 people, two of us inside the cab, 2 behind the driver, one sitting on the right wheel, and two or three standing in the back. It all sounds impossible but I happened to be riding with 8 or more people because my assistant taught we could save a lot of money. And I appreciated her concern but for 50 cents, we can travel comfortably. But not that comfortably. Because the tricycle almost hugs the ground, you feel every bump. And this means you hit your head against the thin, metal roof every time there is a dip in the road. Getting out of the tricycle is a feat because it is so low that I have to bend down, let my legs touch the ground, pull myself up by clutching the sides of the cab, then stretch out. It is always a relief to stand up again.
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Image by Rosario Charie Albar

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