Monday, May 17, 2010

Back from San Francisco

Every year we take a trip to San Francisco in April/May. The trip has three purposes: 1) file US taxes & check on properties, 2) my grandma's birthday, and 3) GET OUT OF THE HEAT OF MANILA. April and May are the hottest months here and although we just got back a few days ago, I am already dying. It is a hot summer. Right now at 6:30 am, I can already feel a little trickle of sweat behind my knees.

San Francisco is always fantastic for me. I love, love, love seeing my family and friends yet somehow we always fall way short of doing even half of what we want to. We also spend two weeks in a tiny Texas town where Ado impulse bought a property about five years ago. I realized on this trip there, I have more culture shock in small town Texas then I did when moving to Manila. Despite Manila being in a foreign country, it is way more similar to SF than small town Texas. I guess I will always feel more comfortable in a major metropolitan than I will in a country town.

My best friend from college who is in SF has still not been out here to see me yet. I finally pinned him down and determined that his coworkers have told him such horrific stories about the Philippines that he is hesitant to come. Although I have heard the theory that people do not come to the Philippines because of the news stories (it is true, most of the news that makes it worldwide makes it sound like one will get killed walking out of their home), I think it could have more to do with Pinoys in the US that left here 20+ years ago. Even some of my dad's neighbors who left the Philippines a billion years ago were questioning me about my safety here. Was the Philippines a really scary place 20 years ago? I doubt that it is random luck that after close to four years here, I have yet to be robbed, kidnapped, murdered, burglarized, or involved in a jeepney holdup.


jonnifer said...

Holy shit, you posted! And three posts no less! It's like Christmas. I was going to write on my blog that I was on strike until you updated yours but I guess that excuse won't fly now.

Once a city/country has a reputation as a dangerous place it is really hard to shake. New York comes to mind. Philippe tells people in France that we lived "between Harlem and the Bronx." Never fails to get a reaction.

I know all the really crazy stuff happens in the south but I still imagined Manila to be somewhat dangerous. So I was surprised at how friendly and totally un-sketchy everyone was. On the other hand everyone in your neighborhood has those big walls... And it seems a lot of people carry guns. So although it doesn't feel dangerous, there are signs that people are afraid. I couldn't get a grip on how dangerous it truly was, frankly. Could we have gone out on our own?

kikas_head said...

Yup. The danger is overblown. Well, unless it happens to you. Look at dad. He went everywhere by himself and besides being annoyed by randoms trying to sell him Viagra/girls he never had a single problem.

Even the huge walls are kinda a joke. We were having our garage doors replaced at one point so there was a huge opening for almost three weeks and nothing happened.

Yeah, a lot of people carry guns. I have been to a lot of drinking sessions where halfway through the night someone will remove a holster and put it on the ground or whatnot (better to let the beer belly expand). But I never see anyone using them so they just might be penis extensions.

Anonymous said...

in five years I have been shot, beat robbed numerous times, lied to daily, pickpocketed, ripped off in stores for the crime of being white (which is called racisim everywhere else), shook down by traffic police in a car i wasnt even driving, and extorted by immigration or face deportation when i was completely legal. Oh and watched non-police , private security guards have open gunbattles in tourist crowded areas, once on the grounds of a school over property issues that a political family decided they wanted right then.

You must be lucky, most of my friends have seen lots of dangerous stuff too.Theres a whole standard chart for underwriting ransom insurance in Mindanao, meaning that far more forigners get kidnapped than is ever reported.

dado2511 said...

Hey, I never felt threatened in Manila. I just followed the rules: come home with all yopur money, my cell phone, and no new holes.


Anonymous said...

I don't believe anything said by anonymous, to wit:

" five years I have been shot, beat. robbed numerous times, lied to daily, pick pocketed, ripped off in stores for the crime of being white ..",etc.

A great white skill is to speak with the greatest exaggeration.

Anonymous said...

When my husband and I traveled to the Philippines to adopt our little one I felt pretty safe because of my Filipino ancestry. I blended right in. However, my husband, who is of Japanese ancestry, stood out and I was very afraid something would happen to him. But it did turn out okay and someday we would like to go back to bring our daughter to her orphanage to visit. I didn't like vendors refusing to bargain with my husband or saying they didn't have change after he paid and taxi drivers overcharging us but that was just me. My husband was good-natured about it. We got our daughter; everything else was minor compared to that joy. By the way, the Philippines does a great job with their adoptions. ICAB rocks!

kikas_head said...

Hi Miss C! The overcharging is a little inevitable. When shopping at places with no fixed price, you HAVE to know your prices. I have found that people are often charging me a higher price than normal, but as long as you know what the item should go for, the will give it to you. I am actually a bit of a bitch when it comes to this--if someone is trying to drastically overcharge me I will not buy from them, even if they lower it. The easiest way you can tell you are being overcharged is when after you decline their offer, they ask you what you want to pay.

Taxi's are notorious for never having change.

Congratulations on your new daughter!!!