Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blogging His Visit to Pinas 3rd Day

3rd Day Friday morning
Nice morning, it rained last night. I finally found out what that yelling in the street is. At all hours there is a water seller who walks up and down the streets yelling “water, water” over and over. When does this guy sleep? It is absolutely incredible what people sell. There are more entrepreneurs here than in the US . Cell phones, playing cards, water, T shirts, all kinds of construction supplies, every kind of supplies for anything, girlie bars, juice bars, fresh fruit, magazines, cigarettes, gum, anything and everything.
The streets are surprisingly clean; street sweepers come by at night and clean. These are not machines but men who work for the sanitation department and they sweep the streets by hand with a broom. My dentist has a cook and two dental assistants that live with her and her husband.
The girls that work for the dentist are in their early twenties except for the maid/cook who is 17 years old. The employees live there as well. They only get one day off every two weeks but do get the run of the house. They are not allowed in the office area and cannot watch TV in the waiting room after they are finished for the night. The waiting room has HBO.  They work from 6:00am to 9:00pm and get their room and board. They are only allowed to leave in pairs; never by themselves. None of the girls are allowed to have boyfriends. The reason is for security purposes. Men target maids to gain access to the house. They can’t be charged with burglary if they didn’t break in but were invited in. The law is very flexible in Manila . When a motorist is stopped on the street for a traffic violation, the individual pays the cop. The traffic police get to keep a third of what they bring in. I have seen two Makati police checkpoints set up on the route I was walking on. They decide, and who knows what the criteria is, to set up and then they start asking for ID and fines. The Makati police get to keep some of the fine also but they make most of their money by setting up foreigners. In an open air restaurant a police informer will give an unsuspecting foreigner a small packet of drugs, and then the police will arrest him. It costs between 20,000 and 80,000php to get free. That’s about $400 to $1600 USD. 

Almost everyone sells something, and so polite and cheerful. Yesterday as I was walking back to the hotel I saw a taxi driver pull over and give a poor beggar some food. This is compassion from people who are only just a little bit richer. Taxi drivers don’t make much; I went across town in a taxi for 60php about $1.10 USD. Some little kids begging on the corner were the worst. Their parents were across the street, watching to see how much money they brought in. I guess under these circumstances they have to do what they have to do.
There was some kind of a political demonstration yesterday in Makati . Traffic is horrific anyway but this was 10 times worse. The last thing I want to do is become involved in internal political issues. There was also a local demonstration by the fire department in favor of the opposing side, where they drove through the town with Philippine flags attached to the fire engines. Economic conditions are pretty bad, social conditions are bad, not very bad but bad enough. The men treat the women like trash; more on this later. Lots of gays and lesbians..
Today is Independence Day in Makati . I haven’t been out there yet but I am sure that it will be a nightmare as usual. I can’t wait to leave and go to Mindanao , to Cagayan de Oro. St. Illian’s Inn is the hotel I am staying. It’s located in the slums but, everything else looks the same. What do slums look like? It is a nice hotel, old but well maintained. The cook is excellent, the food is great! I had calderata last night that was outstanding. Perfect marriage of flavors and spicy too! The room is clean and comfortable, has a TV which I don’t watch, newspapers every morning, breakfast at 6:00am. It is cheap too, only 1750php a night($37.00USD a night).
Today the dentist told me he couldn’t get the anesthetic that I need. Yesterday the dentist gave me the standard anesthetic and I passed out, my blood pressure dropped to 60 over 40 from 140 over 80 in one minute. Very scary indeed! So since I couldn’t get the work done there I left her office, went back to my hotel, checked out, went to the airport and flew to Cagayan de Oro. I stepped from the hell of Manila into the heaven of being with Nona. She is even more wonderful in person than online. She and her family picked me up at the airport and took me to their home. I am staying in the church, in the guest bedroom.  

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