The Travelogue: Pissing, Bigotry, and again on the MRT

Apart from meeting K, I will remember Bonifacio High Street for one other, very specific reason.

As I sat in the back of a taxi on 5th Avenue, along from BGC High Street, my eyes drooping from jet lag and a pleasant day of wandering, I saw something that immediately woke me up. A boy in his mid-teens, with slicked-back hair and expensive looking shoes told his four companions to go on ahead of him. He then approached a bush in the pavement and stood with his legs apart, and I thought ‘No, he isn’t…’ He did. He proceeded to whip out his dick and piss in full view of the gridlock traffic and any pedestrians who were unlucky enough to be walking his way. I was flabbergasted, and turned away in case we made eye contact. People who pee in public are usually more subtle, or drunk, not some trendy teen who looked like he was on his way to the movies with his friends. Yet here he was, proudly peeing in one of the most intentionally ‘posh’ areas of the entire country. I really hoped the irony wasn’t lost on him.

The rest of the car now noticed. The girls couldn’t help exclaiming ‘oh, my god!’ through surprised laughter. “He’s very bold”, said the taxi driver with a chuckle. “I couldn’t do that, could you do that?” I couldn’t help but smile.
___

The rest of the taxi ride wasn’t as fun. K once again engaged the taxi driver in conversation, during which the topic became me being half-white, Jen and I being from England, and then somehow devolved into the driver’s opinions on black people in America and the UK, which didn’t sound pleasant. I don’t have a great understanding of Tagalog, but I can generally get the gist of a conversation, and the racism seemed to seep through the language barrier. ‘Kuya, you’re racist!’, K would interject at points, confirming my suspicions, which he would just shrug off with a laugh and a ‘hindi po!’, dismissing her rebuttals as well. He didn’t seem to get that saying racist things and having racist views made him a racist, though racists are often like that. It’s not the first time I’d heard anti-black sentiment in the Philippines, I doubt it’ll be the last either. It’s a problem in the Philippines, in Asia, and in the world as a whole, sadly.

After his rant the driver glanced at me in the rear-view. “Hindi naiintindihan ng mga Briton” (the Briton doesn’t understand), he said to K. I understood enough.
___

We alighted the taxi at Makati station. I was glad to be out of it and on the last leg home, even if it meant braving the MRT. Jen was curious as to why K is so chatty with taxi drivers.

“I try to psyche them out. I need to feel the driver is an okay person; also to keep from doing anything stupid”, she said, and showed us the pepper spray in her bag. She does have to travel around a lot for work, often alone. Better safe than sorry, I guess. “I also did that so they know that you have a local friend with you”, she continued, “and wont charge you way over the meter; they always do that to people from out-of-town unless you’re using Uber or Grab”. This was also something I was aware of, and over the course of the trip we did get caught out twice, but in general the taxi drivers were honest in their pricing.

Sadly, it was time to part with K. We had had a lovely day with her, especially Jen, who was well rested after the flight and able to have lively conversations in Tagalog with K throughout the day. We all hugged, vowed to see each other again, then Jen and I climbed to the platform.

It was rush hour on the MRT; exactly what I’d been warned about. My fellow commuters and I piled into the carriage, all of our personal bubbles obliterated as we politely forced our way far enough inside that we wouldn’t get caught in the closing doors, each of us trying to ignore just how many elbows were inadvertently digging into us and whose breath we were smelling. I held on to Jen’s hand. A balding businessman joined me in being squashed up against the doors. To my right, a seated woman caught some shut-eye, her head leant against the metal railing. I was jet lagged, but even I wouldn’t have managed to find sleep in there. I tried my best to ignore those whose bodily warmth I was forced to share, but I was awakened from my daydreams by a loud cough the businessman’s spittle. If you have a fetish for trapped with people coughing in your face, then the MRT may just be for you.
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