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Ladies and gents our story begins with our author who one day packed up his bags to spend the next 5 years of his life on some tropical island far far away. This land is not like any place he has ever been to before. There is no telling of what he may encounter during his stay there but one thing is sure he is going to be in for one crazy adventure. And this is where you get to read about it.

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Readers beware!

The stories told here maybe appear larger than in real life and at times may even appear outlandish. However, all actual events are in fact real (well, most of them). What may appear as a distortion of reality to some may only be due to the author's perspective of the actual events. Some say he is just not right in the head.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wasted drive space

All my friends who have been to America have told me that driving in this country is very different from the Philippines. I thought maybe they drive on the left side of the road like in Japan but it's not like that. The roads here are very wide even on the freeways, much wider than in the Philippines. Not by the number of lanes but by the width of the lanes alone. I think the freeway that goes thru this town has 4 or 5 lanes. In the Philippines we have freeways with 4 or 5 lanes as well but here everyone drives very far apart. They don't maximize the space. In the Philippines we use all the available space of the road so we can have many cars going at the same time. I don't know why they don't do the same here.

Last Sunday Alex and I got caught in traffic on our way to San Francisco. We almost came to a stand still. I told to Alex,
"Why don't you use the side lane over there."
"You mean the shoulder?"
"Yes, that one. No one is there. Sige na."
"That's the emergency lane in case you have any problems with your car. We don't have a problem with the car."

He acted as if I did not know what it is. You know we have it in the Philippines too. Anyway, I told him,
"I know what it is for but there is no cars having an 'emergency' there."

Alex turned to look at me for a moment. Maybe because I am so pogi. Pero I don't think that was the reason why. He finally says to me,
"This is not the Philippines. This is America."

This is America? So what? I know that. He means to tell me because this is America he likes to sit around in his car, wasting time in the traffic? I don't like traffic, so I don't want to wait. But ok, I don't want to argue with him you know. Maybe he misses driving a car and wants to spend as much time as he can in the driver's seat. So I let him be but I was surprised to see no one else used it either. Everyone here, likes to stay in their lane, "in between the lines", even if they are going very... very... slow.

It took us an hour and a half to get to our destination but you know if I was the one driving maybe it would have only taken us a half an hour. My friend said that Americans drive everywhere because they like to drive. So maybe the rational is if they wait in traffic they can feel like they get to drive longer. Aywan ko.

On the way home there was no traffic. So I thought maybe Alex would drive slowly to stretch out his driving time but I was wrong, talaga. Alex's was driving so fast! I thought maybe he had to use the CR or he was upset but he told me it was neither. So I don't know why he was driving so crazy. He acted as if he was driving a sports car but we were not in a sports car. We were in a big family van going over 135 km/hour!! He told me to relax, but how could I? What he is doing is very dangerous you know. Pero, I don't want to argue with him again so I just try to sleep. I closed my eyes and prayed to God that I won't feel any pain.

When we get to his home town I finally wake up. I was happy to be alive but I had to use the CR very badly. As we got off the freeway we stopped at an intersection. We waited for a while and there were no other cars coming. I thought he was in a hurry but I don't know why he waited so long there. So I told him to go because I had to go too you know. Then he says to me,
"It's a red light. It will just take a minute."
"But there is no one coming. Look. Wala na."
"I know."
"Well, it does not seem like you know to me. Sige na."

Then Alex he turned to me and gave me that same look as before. You know I don't think I like this look. He tells me again,
"This is not the Philippines. There are rules here. You just can't drive across an intersection on a red light whenever you feel like it."

Rules, talaga? So it's the rules that make him drive like a bobo. We have rules in the Philippines too but if no cars are coming why not go? There was no traffic police there, either. So what's wrong? There is no harm in crossing an intersection when you are the only one there! Or to use the "shoulder" when there are no cars in an "emergency" there. It may be good to follow "rules" but what is the harm done in these situations? How about driving over 135 km/hr? That can be very dangerous you know and it is also breaking the rules. So what happened to those "rules" of his then, ha?

You know I think he was not being very considerate. He knew I had to use the CR. Maybe if he also had to use the CR he would have crossed the red light but I don't think that will ever happen. I don't know where he stores all his fluids but he almost never has to use the CR. He is like a camel.

Anyway, siempre it is generally good to follow rules but sometimes you should think for your self, de ba.

Before the toll gate going on to the Bay Bridge.


Blogger item1702 said...

What? Are you actually trying to make some kind of point with this?

People don't like traffic here in America either but you just can't drive out here as if you were in the Philippines.

Just to clear some things up for the people who have never had the pleasure of driving in a place like the Philippines. In the Philippines, yes they also have traffic laws but no one follows them. You have people driving on the shoulder when then are signs that clearly state that they shouldn't be. You have people making left turns from the farthest right hand lane. You have all these jeepni's stopping right there in the middle of the road trying to pick up and drop off riders while hold up traffic behind them. You complain about that guy talking on his self phone while he is driving? How about that guy texting on cell phone while driving. And these are just some of the things they do on the road.

It's basically like the government laid down a concrete path and said there you go. Your objective is to get to point A from B and you can do it anyway you like. Anything goes. I don't even know why they paint lines on the road because hardly anyone ever stays in between them. I've been on streets which were meant to only have one lane going in both directions that have suddenly turn in to a one way street with four lanes going the same direction. On the National Highway in front of my school sometimes you even have dozens of tricycles and scooters driving along the side walk because when there is traffic on the road it's just a mad house.

People don't do those kinds of things here. Well not most of the time anyway. Plus if you were to get caught doing one of those things you would get a fat fine. One which you couldn't simply pass the officer 200 pesos (that's equivalent to about $4 US) to make it all disappear. That's not going to work.

As for driving 135 km, that's only around 80 mph. (I've actually hit 160 km in that van a few times, but let's not talk about that now.) Yes, the speed limit is supposed to be 65 but there is also a rule that states that you should follow the flow of traffic and just about no one here in the bay drives under 65. Anyway it's not as dangerous as you may think. The roads are not a messed up here as they are in the Philippines. And it's not like you will come up on some construction zone without any warning. They actually warn you about those things like a mile down the road before you get to there so you won't find yourself all of a sudden in a 2 foot ditch like you would in the Philippines if you were driving very fast and not paying close attention.

Ok so I'll admit that you are still technically breaking the "rule" by going 80 mph. And I guess you have actually made some kind of point after all in a round about way. Just because everyone else is going that fast doesn't make it right, or any safer. The same thing goes for crossing red lights and driving on the shoulder in the Philippines. However, people tend to follow along with whatever another person is doing. It's only natural that if one person sees another person doing something and getting away with it that they are going to try it themselves. Further proving that wise old saying monkey see monkey do.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Kuya Boy said...

So you are meaning to say you are a monkey?

4:55 PM  
Blogger item1702 said...

No. Never mind.
And another thing I'm not a camel either. I have to take pee just like everyone else. Sheesh.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

owww.... slowdown. traffic? it's good. ^_^

10:29 PM  

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