… stuck in Metro Manila traffic, that is, on a Friday afternoon. It would probably be faster to walk to my next destination considering the amount of traffic and the almost standstill state along the main artery road that traverses through the city, Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue (EDSA). This artery is good enough to give the city a heart attack because all the veins are clogged, the cholesterol levels (aka cars) have skyrocketed out of control, and the stress levels are out of this world.

If I roll down the window of the car I don’t even have to stretch out my hand fully to touch the bus to my right or the taxi to my left. In fact, I could lean my head out and kiss any of the five motorcycle drivers in front or behind my car. It is all a very intimate affair in Manila traffic, one big unhappy family.

Like all unhappy families there is always a black sheep who refuses to follow any rules. These are the drivers who have no concept of road courtesy, are impatient, cut lines, and think they own the road. These obnoxious family members are usually buses who bully their way through, thinking size matters. They pick up and drop off passengers as they please, completely disregarding the designated stops (is there even such a thing in Manila?). I used to have a driver who would tailgate buses, a habit that I disliked and disagreed with, but I shut up if I was on my way to an appointment and was late.

Due the often disregarded road courtesy here, the worst place to be is inside an ambulance in Manila. Not everyone went to driving school and sat through a road courtesy lecture. Even fewer will move aside to let the ambulance through no matter how loud and insistent the siren is. I have had the misfortune of being inside an ambulance struck in Manila traffic… with an appendix that was about to rupture as well! It was bad enough to be the patient, and I couldn’t help but wonder whether I would still be an emergency appendix patient at the hospital or a cardiac patient head on!

I just looked out the window again…

A motorcycle delivery service just crossed four lanes perpendicularly…

None of the buses are driving within their designated lane, and there is no such thing as following the prescribed distance between cars. Metro Manila drivers operate on the principle “if there is a half meter gap, it’s enough to cut in!” …

Pedestrian alert! crossing the road in a no-crossing zone and climbing the fence to the other side of the road…

Idiot alert… oh, sorry, it’s one of the official government cars with a single number plate. The arrogance of these special plated cars is staggering… the nerve!

Awwwww… brand new silver Lexus got bashed in the back by a truck. Another snarl in the middle of the road.

So far I witnessed one out of every three drivers texting… they must have money because they don’t seem to care about the newly increased fines if you get caught driving and texting…

Ha! I thought it was a myth… female driver refreshing her make-up in the rearview mirror and then taking a selfie… to post in facebook, instagram or twitter perhaps?

Wheeeee! Overpass! Good-bye lower mortals of the underpass…

damn! Just descended  into a sea of red taillights … and they are not moving!

How much further? Oh no, it’s raining. Gee, I’m glad I went to the loo before this. Hmmm, adult diapers are not such a bad idea after all.

Yikes! That bus was a coat of paint away!!! Someone point me to the next hospital please!

 

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