Thursday, June 6, 2013

Opposite Day

Here's the thing. Do NOT ask yes or no questions in the Philippines. It will get you nowhere. In fact, if you could channel your inner child and just pretend to be playing "opposite day" every day, that would be for the best. "Egg white omelet with no cheese and very little oil" OBVIOUSLY means "Gimme the whole egg and nothing but the egg, extra cheese and lay that grease on super thick!" In case you didn't know, now ya know.

I guess that's not the best yes/no example but surely you get my drift. If given the opportunity, and sometimes when it is DIRE that someone be honest as opposed to just aiming to please, the Filipino folks will almost always default to "yes" (or whatever it is that they think you want to hear). For instance, never say, "Is this water filtered?" Silly human! Silly silly American fool. You must state explicitly and perhaps in a written format, "I would like filtered water only." In fact, you're better off just asking for a bottle of water and calling it a day. Chances are, if you ask for filtered water, you may very well get a tall glass of filtered water but those ice cubes floating harmlessly about in your pretty little glass? NOT FILTERED ICE CUBBIES (or is that CUBIES? if I'm going to make up a word, I should at least take an honest stab at the right way to spell it)! So just forget. Assume the worst, realize you're not being insulting by asking specifically and then reconfirming...again...and again.

The taxi drivers here are pretty nice but a head nod indicating they are familiar with the area or the address you've provided is NOT enough my fair complected friend. It's an interesting dilemma. Why bother even taking a cab if you're the one who has to figure out, turn by turn, how to get there? I have two damn cars but sometimes going 4 blocks in them and trying to find parking isn't worth the hassle so dammit, I am cabbin it. There's no doubt in my mind that $2 is a decent investment when it eliminates my having to deal with the ridiculous lack of traffic enforcement in this town. But anyway, what was my point? Oh - there is nothing more disconcerting then getting in a cab, explaining where you're going, having the cabbie nod in understanding, and then getting to the moment of truth, the big turn of all turns and the cabbie turns around and says, "Right or left ma'am?" Well how the bloody hell should I know? You stopped following my cute little googles maps direction 5 turns ago and now we're stuck between a shanty town and a hard place. Thanks. So, I just smile and say, "yes". Let him figure it out!

So I guess it's either this:

Or this:

(That's the "minute burger", by the way. I'm guessing there's nothing minute or very burger like about it at all.)

[Here's where I offer my apologies to our country hosts. I am sorry that I am a whiny little American and I hope that my posts do not offend anyone who hails from this wonderful country. I like it here...I really do. I much prefer it to SEVERAL alternatives and I am looking forward to getting to know the Philippines. I PROMISE I will write an equal number of rave reviews...just give me time. I am on my third sinus infection and my third week of living in a dungeon. It's not your fault. I'm not being a very good neighbor or guest. Can we blame my dog or husband somehow?? Sorry Cassie/'s a small price to pay for all the love I give right?? RIGHT?!?!]

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