By the end of the day I had taken 6 jeepneys. (Click here to take you to a previous post on Filipino public transportation.) I live sort of on the outskirts of town, depending on traffic the ride (to the closest mall) can be as short as 15 minutes to (longest that I have noticed) 30 minutes.
With everything there is sort of a norm. You flag a jeepney down depending on the route you want.
(Or if you are like me, sometimes the conductor remembers you, knows where you are likely going, and flags you down. - it is amazing to me how some moments require so much effort and how some so little.)
You climb on, but usually there is not much chika-chika (small talk) except with your mga kauban (companions).
That is the norm. Of course, I am the exception.
Sometimes, I get on and feel attacked in an eagerly-sweet sort of I-am-talking-to-a-WHITE PERSON! way. And then there are times when I get on, and people go out of there way NOT to talk to me.
The common method of payment is, asking your jeepney-mate to pass it up. "Bayad daw." or "Bayad palihog." It gets passed up until it gets to the drayber. (That is Fil-English for driver.) He sends back the change- sometimes it is hot from sitting in the sun on his dashboard.
This morning I crossed the street Fil style. (Easily likened to a game of Frogger, remember that game?)
Climbed onto a jeepney. And we were off.
Jeepney number ONE went by pretty much normal.
Jeepney number TWO, did not stop fast enough and I jumped off it before it came to a complete stop. (Why? I have no idea. Was I being impatient? Maybe. Was I in a hurry? No.)
Jeepney number THREE had a bungee cord holding the door (on the inside) helping me make even more of a spectacle of myself. (I could hear them all thinking, "Man, white people can't even up doors without making a scene.")
And then, there was jeepney number FOUR which must have happened without too much of a scene- oh wait no, that was when I had the tube of bubble wrap that was as long as I am tall. Pretty sure I hit some poor Fils on the way in- and out too.
Jeepney number FIVE was by far my favorite. Front seat, talking to the driver- he thinks I am a genius cause I am bisaya-ing it up. (He asks if I speak Tagalog [the national language] I say, "Only Bisaya, it's much better." and make a friend. It's all about common bonds folks!) It is a long drive. (45 minutes.) So we chika-chika awhile longer. Than another man gets in, and I am wedged awkwardly between the driver and the new passenger for about ten minutes. Then it happened.
The driver looked at me and asked, (In case you are overly impressed we are now speaking English, so don't be.)
"Where do all the religions come from?"
Ironic, because I was just looking at his crucifix and Bhudda statue. (But he had already told me he was Catholic so the bhuddist statue must have just been for good luck.)
I look at him. Smile. And pretty much go into a Lizzie-fied version of Creation to Christ.
I wish I could fully explain the craziness of this situation. We have two languages going. Yelling over the rumble of the engines about the deity of Christ. Lucifer being the originator of all lies. Christ being the way, the truth, and the life that no one can go to the Father except through HIM.
Jeepney number SIX was normal enough. Except for the elderly man who sitting next to me was craning his neck so that he could stare at me. I tried smiling at him. His stare only intensified. Thankfully it was a short ride, near the end, he glaringly finally said, "Where have you been?" Umm..how would you have answered? I chose to say, "Suroy-suroy lang." -Basically meaning...well just I don't know the literal translation but I say it when people ask me where I have been or where I am going and I want to give an evasive answer.
And that, sweet friends, was my jeepney sort of day. What kind of day did you have?
P.S. I spent about a dollar and a half on transportation today.