July 12

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Sunday stroll

The loudest clap of thunder and lightning flash jolted me into action this morning. It caused a power outage so I decided I would get out of the apartment…but not to the Mall, I’d seen enough already.

I had a look at the map and thought it would be nice to take a stroll to the sea front, the sun was coming out, there was a lovely breeze and a few places to stop for lunch along the promenade. The directions looked straightforward and would take just over an hour.

It was a nice stroll to begin with, then about 15 minutes in, I hit downtown Makati – the ‘further in’ part that I couldn’t see from my taxi when I arrived. I wasn’t sure what to do, or even if I was on the right track. The directions were all ‘boulevards’ and ‘avenues’, so I thought I must have gone wrong.  I was about to turn back as I felt this might be a stretch objective too far for Day 3, but I carried on walking. Instinct’s a funny thing – it felt ok and my legs took over.  I was beginning to see, feel and smell what life was like on the other side of the city. I was getting stared at by everyone as you can imagine, I clearly looked out of place. I was uncomfortable at first and really wanted to turn back, but I kept walking.  I’m glad I did.

It was noisy, dirty, crazily busy – jeepney’s, cars, tut tut’s, pedestrians all competing for road space, people shouting, bustling, selling their wares and competing for business, beggars and homeless of all ages trying to survive daily. It wasn’t threatening, it was just sad to see. One man was trying to fish stuff out of a drain…anything goes. I took a wrong turn down one street and realised it fairly quickly. Instinct again, so I did a quick about turn. I’m aware there is quite a drug problem here and I passed a few addicts pounding drugs from blister packs in a pestle and mortar, totally focussed on the job at hand.

I eventually made it to the sea front and had some lunch. I couldn’t stop thinking about my journey down – it was fascinating, uncomfortable and exhilarating at the same time…an assault on the senses.  I really wanted to take some pictures, but I didn’t dare get my camera out and draw attention. So I got a couple of the promenade:

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After lunch, I briefly contemplated getting a taxi back, but I’m glad I didn’t. I knew the route without looking at my directions and felt more relaxed (but keeping my wits about me…). I was gaining confidence and absorbed much more on the way back – the locals were keen to say ‘hello maam’ as I walked past (I can’t get used to being called ‘maam’!), a young girl shouted “how do you do!” and laughed when I replied “how do YOU do!”

It felt ok to get my camera out this time – but low key. Here are some shots:

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Crossing the road is like playing Frogger, but in some places there are safe places to cross, with the green man we are familiar with – although the one here reminds me of the incredible hulk – it actually sprints with more urgency as your time runs out:

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So that was my Sunday afternoon stroll. I’m glad I didn’t turn back – it gave me a great feel for the assignment ahead of me… the perfect Gemba!

Speak soon, Alli 🙂