As the title says, this will just be some random vignettes of my life here in Iloilo City.
Inday and I went to SM Supermarket, which is in SM City, the large mall. We came out with a cart full of shopping bags, ordered a Grab car to bring us home, and when the car arrived the driver jumped out and opened the back of his car to load our bundles. One of the mall security guards, with his long gun strapped across his chest, came up and started helping the driver load everything in the back of the car. It was all done so fast, we didn’t even have a chance to help. Then the guard smiled, waved, and walked off.
Once the Grab driver dropped us off at home, as we approached the lobby door one of the building staff opened the door and greeted us as we entered, then he pushed the elevator call button for us, and when the door opened and we got in, he reached in to push Floor 3 for us so we wouldn’t need to do that with our hands full. I have no idea how they manage to remember that we live on the 3rd floor. There are 7 floors of condos in this building.
Does anybody remember the arcade game Frogger, from back in the 80’s? Crossing the road here is like a game of live-action Frogger. If the road has two lanes in each direction, then there could be three lanes of traffic in each direction, plus motorbikes filtering by on either side and in between. There are signs directing drivers to Yield To Pedestrians In Crosswalk. They are a total waste of time and materials. Nobody stops. When I first got here my strategy was simple: I’d stand on the curb and wait until some locals ventured forth to cross the road, and I’d shadow them. I’ve become marginally competent at crossing the road now, although Inday still thinks I’m not to be trusted on my own and always takes my hand so she can steer me across the road. To be fair, I did nearly get run down by a motorbike right in front of her once. But only once!
Filipinos typically eat using a fork and a spoon. I’ve actually adopted this method at home, although I use the spoon to help load food onto my fork, while Inday uses her fork to push food onto her spoon. In restaurants the staff will sometimes give Inday a fork and spoon, and will give me a fork and a knife. I get a chuckle from that every time!
Back in the States people lament the rise of cellphone addiction. It is nothing like what it is here. Nothing! People seem to be glued to their phones every waking moment. More than once I’ve had Filipinos walk right into me while staring at their phone screen.
When we moved to this condo, there was no toaster. I need to have my toast in the morning, so we headed off to the SM Store to buy a toaster. When you buy something in the Philippines, the store staff will unpack whatever it is and make sure it works before you pay for it and leave. So the sales clerk took the toaster out of the box, plugged it in, made sure it heated up, then packed it back into the box and sent us on our way to the checkout.
Similarly, Inday bought a toy train for her son Edrian, and the store staff unpacked the little train, put the batteries in it, and made sure it ran on the track. Then they packed it all back up, checked us out, and sent us on our way.
Okay, that’s it. Nothing important and profound. Just a few snippets about adjusting to life here. I hope it was worth the few minutes to read.