The Shopping Trip From Hell

…Otherwise known as ‘routine’, in the ‘Pines!
Let me tell you, fellow Fail-O-Philes, in this my inaugural post, about the routine errand that became a nightmare, in a way that could only happen here in the Failippines.
My Pinay girlfriend and I were at a ‘Gaisano’ mall today… Actually, let me back up and first tell you about the adventure we had in getting to said mall, with some tangential digressions of sociological commentary along the way.
We went with a neighbor, the wife of a fellow expat and good friend. We use public transportation because I do not own a car or even a motorbike, because I will never drive here in the Failippines.
This is for two reasons. First, I would not be able to contain my road-rage and would leave a trail of mangled corpses and twisted metal from our home to our destination.
Secondly, being a Kano, if I were merely to make accidental, gentle contact with someone’s vehicle in traffic–a likely occurrence given the drivers here–I’d be royally screwed; held hostage for enormous ‘medical bills’ and ‘property damage’. Additionally, if they did the same to me–perhaps on purpose, once they saw it was a ‘rich foreigner’ at the wheel or handlebars–I’d still be automatically ‘at fault’ for hitting them, liable for the expected extort… erhm, I mean financial penalty.
Those of us expats who’ve been here long enough–and it doesn’t take all that long to come to the realization–know that the policy in the Failippines is “Fuck the Foreigner”, in any and every way possible. I, for one, work very hard to avoid giving them any opportunity or excuse to apply this policy at my expense… though as you will see, in this environment steeped in stupidity, sometimes my ‘maldito’ (bad attitude) tendencies nevertheless get the better of me.
Of this, my gf says, “You’re too advanced in your thinking”, meaning, I actually think more than thirty seconds into the future, plan and prepare, apply a healthy dose of logic, reason, realism and wisdom gained from experience–both personal and anecdotal–and can foresee the consequences of actions. What a concept! I told her “Yeah, and you Filipinos should try it sometime- a hell of a lot of your problems could be eliminated if you did!”
Of course, I am far from perfect–admittedly I have a low bullshit-tolerance threshold (some might call it ‘anger management issues’; though I must emphasize, never directed at my gf), which seems to be breached on almost a daily basis here, and has long had me wondering if I really made the right choice in coming to this country; seeing as my personality and this society–if it could be called that–are not the best fit.
As my gf says, I need to calm down and “go with the flow”, and I do make a concerted effort to follow her advice. Kinda like my mother always told me, “Don’t sweat the things you can’t control”. Even so, this country has a way of breaking down even the most determined resolve to tolerance (excepting Filipinos, who seem to have an unlimited endurance for aggravation), as if conspiring in some sort of cruel, collective joke to make the Kano blow his stack no matter how hard he tries to ‘grin and bear it’.
Hence my reason for coming to this blog, which I’ve found even as a mere lurker, to be most therapeutic!
So anyway, back on topic. We shoehorned into trisikads (pedicabs), obviously built for midgets, to ride to a street corner where motor tricycles gather to pick up passengers going to this mall and other area destinations.
Here, our friend was asked by the drunk ‘barker’ (the guys who fetch trikes and jeepneys, or tell passengers which ones are heading where) where we wanted to go. He fetched a tricycle, but when our friend offered 60 pesos, the driver sped off, and the barker started spewing some inchoherent babble at her, the gist of which I gathered was we were being kuripot (stingy). She said to him, “Fuck off, you drunken idiot!” (I know enough Bisaya to understand hubog…kayat…etc.) She said she always gets the ride for 60. I told her it was likely my presence, as a Kano, that screwed everything up.
I could write volumes about the sheer, unfathomable idiocy of Filipinos who would rather lose out on a transaction altogether, and make ZERO, than to ‘insult’ their ‘pride’ by accepting anything less than asking price (which automatically increases when a ‘rich foreigner’ is involved). Filipino business ‘acumen’ at its finest!
By the way, regarding the barkers, these guys are all members of gangs and very protective of their respective ‘territories’. We’ve witnessed would-be rivals being killed (well the aftermath, anyway) in our own neighborhood. They demand payments from all the trikes and jeepneys who stop at their ‘posts’ and will cause untold trouble for said drivers if refused.
This is a nation of parasites- people leech off each other at all echelons of society from the grassroots to the very top like bloodsucking ticks, and this is but one example of the myriad ways in which they do.
But again, I digress. We finally found a tricycle willing to take us for the princely sum of 80 pesos. It was either that or wait for an eternity on a street corner so chokingly dusty, I would soon have been able to shit enough clay to make a complete porcelain dinner set from it, a street teeming with the dregs of Filipino society (is that redundant?), next to one of the innumerable carenderias (eateries) spewing gouts of acrid smoke that could double as tear-gas, while being eyed by every mange-ridden azkal (mongrel) in the neighborhood. Yes, I mean the dogs, too.
The fucking genius trike driver decides that due to heavy traffic on the main road, he’s going to take the alternate route (“shortcut, lang”).
This route is the one less-traveled for a reason. It’s about twice the total distance of the former. So much for ‘shortcut’! Hey it’s your gas, dumbass, and you aren’t getting one extra peso from me!
Another reason for the sparse traffic on this route is the fact that a goodly part of it is under a state of permanent reconstruction, because doubtless there was a recent election of some sort; now that whatever fuckwit used the project to his advantage during his campaign has been elected, it has been abandoned in a state of partial (dis)repair, per usual. [Update]: This article was written January 21, 2014. I just had opportunity to travel this route last week (late May). There has been not one iota of progress, since. Absolutely nothing. Guess the Brgy. Idiot, who ran out of ‘budget’ due to using it to remodel his home, is saving the remainder for his next campaign: “Folks, if you re-elect me, I will see to it that this road-work is finished!” I suppose that’s one way to guarantee a successful election outcome: annoy and inconvenience the people into voting for you!
One side of the road is in a condition of complete ruin; mudpuddles big enough to stock with tilapia, potholes the size of some small open-pit mines, and large, jagged blocks and chunks of broken-up tarmac strewn everywhere like ice floes off Antarctica. The other side is partially re-paved. Guess which side we had to drive on.
So after an agonizingly-slow, painfully-bumpy ride, my legs slathered in mud (being the gentleman, I let the ladies sit in the tricycle’s cab while I sat side-saddle on the back of the driver’s seat), my ass in desperate need of some Preparation H and my left knee feeling like it had dislocated due to the pendulum effect of it swinging freely over every bump, lump and hole in the sorry excuse for a road (of course there was only one foot-peg, and it was occupied by my other foot), we finally… mercifully!… arrived at the mall.
It had been nearly one hour for a ride, that had it been on the main thorofare, usually takes 15 minutes… even in traffic, not more than 25-30 at worst. Hobbled (now I know why passenger motorbikes are called ‘habal-habal’!), I dismounted the trike–but not before some Filidiot on another passing trike sideswiped us, clipping my dangling foot. Sonofabitch!
Now in the grocery, the misery of getting there fading in anticipation of accomplishing our mission, we found that most of the items we came to buy were,
wait for it…
wait for it…
Out of stock!
Now these are not gourmet rarities, specialty items- but pretty basic stuff that is more-or-less standard in a grocery store- nowhere to be found. It’s not as if I was setting the bar higher than ‘mediocre’, but even at this level, the Failippines comes up woefully short.
We’re talking about items like pure coffee (the most popular fucking brand, no less!), not that 3-in-1 garbage with artificial sweeteners in it. Decent sausages- which in the past they’ve had- nary a one, but as always, a bountiful supply of those garishly bright-red hotdogs made from what in a civilized nation would be regarded as unfit for human consumption.
And snack food (love tortilla chips and salsa)–plenty of salsa, but only one bag of chips, that looked as if it had been run-over by a jeepney, as could be felt through the limp, mangled bag, the contents pulverized to the consistency of talcum powder; and whole wheat bread. The good, Phils-made brand (they can do a few–precious few–things right), that every store carries.
No ginger. In fucking Asia!! No canned tuna in water (not the flavored ones drowning in fucking 10W-40 or with half the Periodic Table in their ingredient list), nor ‘Ganador’ rice, my fave and widely regarded the best, or UHT whole milk- not that insipid chalk-water known as ‘skim’ (‘scum’ would be more appropriate) nor that canned, viscous mixture of sugar, oil and water, with other ingredients I can’t fucking pronounce, that Pinoys consider as ‘milk’. (They distinguish between the former and the real deal by referring to the latter as ‘fresh milk’. Often spoken of with an undertone of hushed reverence, as if to suggest that it is some rare, ‘mahal’ commodity, outside the scope of their everyday experience).
And no fucking butter!! You know, the honest-to-gosh made from actual milkfat stuff, as opposed to that vile pseudo-‘butter’ rubbish that tastes like (and is probably made from) industrial waste, from Magnolia, et al.
Of-fucking-course! We had been to this mall two weeks prior and those same items were sold out then. Long, stark rows of half-empty shelves… it’s as if… as if, THEY NEVER BOTHERED TO FUCKING RESTOCK after the holidays!! HOW long has it been now? (I’ll tell you- it’s January 21).
Indeed, having lived here for over two years, I should not be in the least surprised by this. But in my apparently still-remanent naiveté I thought by now, surely, even here in the armpit of S.E. Asia, the stock of these items would have been replenished. They are, after all, mostly ‘bread-and-butter’ (no pun) staples and the most popular brands thereof. But no.
Sadly, it appears once again that I have sorely underestimated the level of incompetence of the mind-bogglingly dysfunctional management of Failippines companies. I must always remember: set the bar not even at mediocre, but rock-bottom, to (mostly) avoid disappointment!
How the fuck does one run a business like this? I actually think I have a handle on the so-called ‘logic’ at work here, and it’s sad that my mind is capable of stooping to this level. Maybe I’ve been here too long and the stupid has rubbed-off on me?
Anyway, I think it goes something like this: Wait until the store is half-empty before reordering. Because we don’t want to have a steady supply of stock coming in. It’s SO much easier if we only have to do this once every month or two. Because otherwise, it means we have to do… work!
Likewise, too much effort keeping records of what sells-out quickly and what doesn’t move, so that we could order more of the movers and less, or none, of the ‘dogs’. (That’s how they do it in Smartypants Countries like Australia and America. But we do things our way here! Besides we’d need to hire someone who can read and write. That costs money! College grads won’t work for peanuts. Oh wait, they will- this is the Philippines. Well anyway we save by hiring someone even less-demanding.) So, this way we’ll also save some more pesos by not risking ‘over-ordering’ anything!
When we do reorder, we’ll buy the same amount of everything without any regard whatsoever whether they are fast-turnover items, or crap that nobody buys, and sits on the shelf collecting dust. Because to do otherwise, requires… Thought! Hai, nako… so kapoy!
Whew. I’m truly exhausted as well, from trying to contort my brain around Filogic.
Godforsaken brain-dead vegetables are running this fuckfest! My blood already at a simmer, I wanted SO badly to find the manager and tell him what I thought of his (nonexistent) intellect and business sense to his face! Seriously, did Gaisano Corporate hire the first dirty illiterate vagabond they found pissing on the wall of the building to be Store Manager? “Sir, shake that dick and zip up, ‘cuz today is your lucky day! We find that you’re eminently qualified to manage this establishment, and you’re hired!”
But as they say on TV infomercials… but wait, there’s more!
My gf spotted a loaf of Farmer’s Bread, which I’ve had before and actually like a little better than the usual brand of whole wheat- it’s a tasty, dense, whole-grain and wholesome loaf. It’s not often in stock, however. (The latter can be forgiven, since it is somewhat of a specialty). Woohoo! At least there’s this… I was feeling a little better now, having scored a great substitute for one of the more-important items on our list that we couldn’t find.
Little did I know that minor triumph was to be short-lived…
Once we got to the checkout with the paltry number of items on our list that we could actually find, and a few marginally-passable substitutes therefor, we saw that the lines of waiting customers were so long they were reaching back to the ends of the aisles, completely blocking traffic. That is, on the registers that were actually open! Fully one-third of them were not- graced with a sign reading, “Sorry, Register Closed”.
Many of those on the lines, obese wizened warthogs, had two or even three large shopping carts filled to the brim with miscellaneous packets of worthless, carbohydrate-and-chemical laden junk, in bulk quantities. Yes, it’s the ‘sorry-sorry’ store owners, stocking-up!
The cashiers, in typical Failipino fashion, were moving soooooo fuuuuucking slooooowly, as if in their own bubble universes where time moves at a rate different to that of the outside world (naturally, that would be Filipino Time). Well, at least it proves Relativity correct…
Attempting to navigate this insanity, I pushed aside a cart that seemed abandoned; there was only one item in it and nobody standing nearby. A fat, homely woman who had been browsing several yards away (thoughtlessly leaving her cart blocking traffic) ran over and quickly grabbed it, shouting, “MINE!” What the fuck? What did you think, I was maneuvering to steal your precious cart with one item in it, you rude imbecile?
We picked a line about 7 people deep- the shortest we could find, and without any sari-sari customers on it- and I waited for about 20 minutes, keeping my thumb warm in my rectum, until my gf- who had been scouting for a shorter one- beckoned me to a line miraculously much shorter than the rest. There was only one customer on it! So I gave up my spot, with by this time five customers still ahead of me, to go to this line, where we would be next! Awesome… see ya, suckas!
Just when the cashier finished with the customer ahead of us (which, despite him not having many items, took her about 10 minutes), she… pulled out that…  sign… That fucking SIGN!! “Sorry, Register Closed”. In disbelief, I thought, surely that means, after us, right? WRONG! So we relinquished a spot on another line, after what seemed an interminable wait, and stood on this one making a total of 30 minutes of wasted time, my lower back and feet aching excruciatingly, for naught?? The fucking vacuous dullard couldn’t have warned my gf that she was going to close, BEFORE I gave up my previous spot–slow as fucking molasses in January in Siberia though it was, it was making some semblance of progress–and BEFORE letting us wait on hers??
My blood boiled over… I just simply lost it! Exploding in rage, I screamed at the cashier who cowered like a helpless child as I let loose all of my pent-up frustrations with her stupidity, and that of the management, and of the whole country! I grabbed the sign and threw it halfway across the store, shouting “HERE’S WHAT I THINK OF YOUR FUCKING SIGN YOU STUPID PIECE OF SHIT!!” The entire store had fallen silent. You could hear a pin drop, and all eyes were on me. My gf was mortified and slunk away outside the store. I was shaking with rage, muttering epithets comparing Filipinos to the acts of fornication; defecation; and the less intellectually-endowed members of the animal kingdom.
I PRAYED someone would call security, just so I’d have an excuse to turn into a real-life version of the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character in a tornadic show of swirling violence never before witnessed by humanity (or Pinoys)! I’d grab his gun and shove it up his ass–sideways–before pulling the trigger! I’d… I’d fucking go Medieval on his ass! But alas, no one did…
Shortly, my gf meekly reappeared to try to calm me down. Seeing her ‘handle’ me (bless her for being the calming influence she is!) thus I suppose showing that I was no longer a potential ‘threat’, most of the madding crowd in the store went back about their business. Aside from a few glares from some of the fat old babae (I’ve always wondered if that word shares its origin with ‘baboy’; pig), and a knowing look from a foreigner who quickly hustled out the door–apparently afraid he might by proxy be, as a fellow Kano, somehow entangled in whatever consequences might accrue from this spectacle–it was as if nothing had happened.
The catharsis my outburst provided calmed me down enough to make another attempt to brave a checkout line. Of course, by this time I had no choice but to wait on one about 8 or 9 deep; the best that could be found. After about 40 minutes of waiting–my body in agony and blood pressure so high that had a mosquito bitten me it would have rapidly expanded to golf-ball size before exploding–watching the cashier move in slow-motion as if a hapless creature trapped in a tar pit, our turn finally came. No dreaded sign this time. The girl had witnessed my prior outburst and quietly scanned our items, avoiding eye contact.
Then she came to the Farmer’s Bread. It had no price or sku sticker on it. FUCK. So the bag-boy dutifully ran back to find another loaf with a tag. He soon came back, with a sort of “oh, no” look on his face… and said to the cashier that there were only two other loaves, and no stickers on either of them. The girl said,  “Sorry siiiir, we can’t sell you this bread, it has no price.” FUCK!!!
Only In The Failippines!
Published in Uncategorized


  1. Profile gravatar of Marius O.
    Marius O.

    Seriously, did Gaisano Corporate hire the first dirty illiterate vagabond they found pissing on the wall of the building to be Store Manager? “Sir, shake that dick and zip up, ‘cuz today is your lucky day! We find that you’re eminently qualified to manage this establishment, and you’re hired!”
    I LOLed. And the worst part is, that is almost certainly what happened, except that you’ve missed a small detail: said wall-pisser was the second cousin once removed of the Big Boss, and therefore more qualified than anybody else.

    More please 🙂

  2. Profile gravatar of Spartacus_killingus

    As someone with an anger management problem I can relate to your stress. I have been here for a long time and still have not actually adapted to the stupid shit.

    I do feel your outburst may have been out of line only in hat yelling at these people will no more change them than anything else we can do. Dont misunderstand, I fully understand your rage, 100%.

    The fact you said Giasano mall tells me you need to get out of the province and maybe take up residence in the city.

    I came here when I was 20 years old like a dumb fuck and got married within a few months. I was in a provincial town in southern luzon. I maybe had an easier time adapting to things as I was still a kid then. but there is a hge since of alienation that comes with living in those out lying provinces that make staying there feel even more uncomfortable. I had the advantage of living in a small town like that off and on for 6 years until I finally moved away here to Metro Manila area. While Im going to say I absolutely HATE WITH ALL MY FUCKING HEART living in metro manila area. I still have things that are easier to get and in far more abundance.

    Moreover, things still dont work here, but coming from the provincial areas you may feel like things work a little bit better. (maybe).

    This place is a black hole man, it will suck your soul dry and leave you flopping boneless on the ground waiting for death. I hate the philippines and Im only waiting for the day I can finally leave this shit hole and go back to the States.

    Try to control your anger buddy, I know its hard. I have broken my knuckles punching these walls, I have destroyed computers, broken windows, doors, yelled at the top of my lungs and plotted fuckign murder against stupid people here. It wont solve anything except make things ore difficult for you should things choose to escalate. As others have mentioned, we are out numbered here, and we will ALWAYS be wrong.. FILIPINO FIRST as they say.

    This place inst for everyone, ME INCLUDED, its just that my reservoir of patience is now officially over flowing after nearly 14 years of being here and or dealing with this place in some way.

    Everywhere you look stupid will overflow into the streets, whether you are in the province or on the city. When I first came here, within the first 2 years I had to find some kind of hobby to keep me mentally busy, so I wouldnt murder the lazy fucks I was supporting and burn their god damned house down. My blood pressure is rising even now thinking about it.

    By the way, you write in very funny and amusing way, I hope to see more material from you soon. I love the shake the dick comment, I laughed my ass off.

  3. Profile gravatar of Spartacus_killingus

    Sigh, Where is the Edit post button so I can fix all the crap I say that is wrong? Since, instead of sense, among one of quite a few.

    I know better, but I suck at writing. Sorry to all the grammar nazis out there who may be anal about this kind of stuff. I see the errors, just cant edit them. Should have been more careful before posting.

    1. Profile gravatar of CantFixStupid

      The filipinos who understand and got educated left this country a long time ago. They knew what the future entailed, they were smart enough to get out when opportunity presented itself.

  4. Profile gravatar of mumu

    Sorry to have a good laugh at your expense but as I intend to be a regular visiter to the land of fun I am sure I will be able to repay you in spades with stories like yours!

    Watch that blood presssure. Oh and an hour in a trike?? The horror… The horror…

  5. Profile gravatar of James Dinwoody
    James Dinwoody

    As my Mother so lovingly pointed out to me … okay … she was laughing at me because she knew I would have to accept the truth of her statement … and she knew it would irk me … “you cannot presume to believe that someone so dumb that they need to have their butt kicked to get the point is actually smart enough to learn anything from the butt-whooping!”

  6. Profile gravatar of MalditoKano
    MalditoKano Post author

    Thanks for the warm reception, fellas. Apologies for my tardy reply–been busy lately. I’m glad I could give back to this community with some therapeutic entertainment. I hope that my postings will be as cathartic for you to read as they are for me to write! I’m so very thankful to FiloFail and all contributors for this outlet–I can’t tell you how many quality hours I’ve spent reading this blog, which has on numerous occasions kept me from instead doing something that would put my name and mugshot in the nightly news!

    I’m also thankful for the opportunity to share with those of like mind, who can appreciate my style of prose–Lord knows I can’t find that among Filipinos (excepting those on this site). That would first require them to have a mind.

    Spartacus, you’re absolutely right about my outbursts being in vain, as far as effectuating change. I already came to the realization that trying to do so here is about as efficacious as trying to yell at a lump of charcoal in an effort to convince it to transform itself into a diamond. No, they serve only as catharsis, to keep me from committing even more-severe transgressions.

    Actually, regarding my living situation, it is the reverse; I live in the urban sprawl of a big city. It is a place that wants to be a province, but offers none of the advantages thereof; only the problems of a dirt-poor overcrowded suburb in the shadow of urban filth.

    I long to move to the (real) province for the laid-back lifestyle it affords–a big part of why I came to this country in the first place. Perhaps then I wouldn’t be such a malcontent. My basis for comparison is having spent appreciable time in various provincial areas of Visayas and Mindanao; I’ve always had to be dragged back here kicking and screaming. The peaceful environment and relative cleanliness–where I live now is a cesspool–makes for comparatively a near-paradise in my book; what I originally sought in coming here. In such a setting I can deal with the lack of conveniences, being a ‘country boy’ at heart.

    I know how to exercise ingenuity in the procurement of necessities, or find suitable alternatives. To me, it’s a worthy trade-off for the quieter, cleaner, more-spacious surroundings. I don’t need to always go to a mall, or bars, or clubs, to be content and entertained. Much of the time I’d rather be working on a project, indulging a hobby.

    If anything, provincial living would give me an opportunity to exercise my self-sufficiency ideas; the parts, tools and engineering plans for which have been accumulated to date simply gathering dust–solar, wind and hydropower, organic agriculture, aquaculture and animal husbandry, etc.– rarely or never having to endure the aggravation of setting foot in a Gaisano!

    Manila is out of the question. Besides being out of my element in the city, I’ve heard enough bad things about it–the crime, pollution, traffic, scams and corruption–from friends, acquaintances, and stories posted on various fora and blogs–including this one–to have come to the conclusion that it really is “The Gateway to Hell”, and I’ll be happy if I never have to set foot there. It’s bad enough here already…

    Provincial Luzon (Baguio, Vigan, etc.) on the other hand, seems eminently worthy of investigation. Expat friends who have been there tell me it’s like a whole other country–beautiful, functional, clean, orderly, and affluent being some adjectives they’ve used–the people intelligent and competent. Indeed, it doesn’t sound like the Philippines we all know and ‘love’. I have a post addressing this topic in the works…

    By the way, I should add another classic point of Filipino business management fail to the above story; that being the reason why so many registers are unstaffed on certain days. It is because many cashiers are given their day off on the same day. Now, logic would dictate that one stagger schedules to avoid this situation and the resulting inconvenience for the customer; however, in Filogic, this is perfectly acceptable practice because (a) staggering schedules requires thought, which in turn requires a brain, something in short supply here; (b) “That’s how we do things here” and (c) Fuck the customer–they exist solely to give us their money, shut the fuck up and go away, not to bother us with such silly things as ‘service’ and ‘convenience’.

    Mumu; an hour on a Filipino trike is a fucking horror. These collections of rusty metal–(barely) rolling scrap haphazardly booger-welded together into what could only in the loosest of terms be referred to as ‘vehicles’, being asked to perform a task for which they were never intended, are some of the most poorly-maintained pieces of shit ever to grace a roadway (the others being jeepneys, which are built and maintained to similar standards).

    I have no problem with motorcycles, per se; quite the opposite, I love them, having been a rider in another life, both on- and off-road. Yeah, I got dirty and bruised, and that was half the fun; it was the appropriate thing at the appropriate time–for recreation, not going on routine grocery-shopping errands or to meet up with friends at a restaurant. Horses for courses.

    I still yearn to own one here, to the point where I often dream about it–but discretion being the better part of valor, it won’t happen, for the reasons stated prior (and that new R.A. 10586, which is the final nail in the coffin for my ever mounting a ride of my own here). I can get my riding and driving jollies in the States.

    No, the problem is (my admittedly, self-imposed) dependency on public transportation for going places and doing things, where getting dirty and injured along the way is decidedly NOT the point. Filipino tricycles (indeed, most vehicles, regardless of wheel-count) are in such a state of disrepair, it’s no small miracle these mobile junkyards are actually able to get from point (A) to point (B), or indeed, even move at all, let alone do so without (too often) causing hospitalization-warranting injury to the occupants!

    The shocks are always gone (why even bother?), allowing every jolt caused by the minutest of roadway flaws to be transmitted in all of its punishing glory directly to one’s ass and spine in an experience that would be a fine addition to the portfolio of Medieval torture practices (and you can’t very well stand on the pegs!)

    The tires are invariably smoother than a virgin Pinay’s bum, thin-walled as a cheap condom, and on more than one occasion I’ve been treated to a blowout, causing undue delay and hassle (in one instance, the driver having the unmitigated gall to ask me to treat HIM for the expense of repairing said blowout! Naturally, I told him where he could shove his request.)

    Chains commonly jump or break, the cabin dimensions are suited only for dwarves, and sharp pieces of metal often cut, snag clothing, and leave rust-stains. One expat acquaintance told of experiencing a thrown rod–the resulting ‘oil’ spray, which he had the dubious pleasure of being bathed in (but better that than shrapnel!), being so black and watery, like a ‘charcoal slurry’ as he described it, it’s apparent it was no longer a lubricant and had probably never been changed!

    The mufflers are often rusted-out or missing altogether, assaulting the ears with the staccato hammering of machine-gun fire. (I, like most any rider, appreciate the bodily-felt throaty rumble of a big-bore or the wasp-like ascending buzz of a nice two-stroke when you twist the throttle, but there’s a world of difference between those sounds and the unremitting cacophony of an unmuffled engine!) In fact the general noise here has resulted in significant hearing loss, as well as the development of tinnitus, when originally I practically had bat-ears. Now I have the hearing acuity of an 80-year-old–in middle age. I often have to cup an ear and go “Huh? What?” when someone speaks to me. Fucking bullshit!!

    But not to ramble on too much about vehicles here, as that would be better served by another full post…

    Spartacus, you also raise a good point about hobbies; as I alluded to earlier, I’m fortunate to have several, considerably more mentally-stimulating than the usual expat pastimes of rooting and drinking, mind you–though not to say I don’t also enjoy those on occasion–which are my other sources of succor and escapism.

    Who knows, perhaps one or more of these hobbies could be parlayed into a business, though one thing is certain, and that is there won’t be any Filipino involvement in any way that could adversely affect the success of such venture (maybe I should just shorten that statement to: “There won’t be any Filipino involvement.”) In my present situation, I’m highly limited in how involved I can be in some of my avocations, but in any case, if it wasn’t for them, I’d be certifiably insane by now (or maybe have drunk myself to death).

    As it is, I am planning to shortly return to the US for awhile (though with a bountiful crop of stories and experiences to share, I will of course continue to contribute). Yes, returning to the Homeland carries with it an altogether different set of issues to make my blood boil, but I desperately need a change of venue!

  7. Profile gravatar of TheD

    Absolutely no patience. Instead of being in traffic and taking a max of 30 minutes, he takes you on a tour of hell for an hour just because there is no traffic there. I bet he then wonders why his bike breaks.

    “half the Periodic Table in their ingredient list’
    I laughed so hard at that. So so so fucking true.

    “that vile pseudo-’butter’ rubbish that tastes like (and is probably made from) industrial waste”
    Hit the nail right on the head. Bought that shit once when it was all they had and threw it out as all I could taste was chemicals.

    The reason they never have the right things in stock is because when item A doesnt scan, they scan item B if it is the same price. Having worked in a store, I almost had a heart attack when I saw this for the first time as I know seeing that would require a full audit to ensure our stock levels were accurate.

    Best example I saw was at Puregold where their main computer system displayed a prominent warning that they were using a pirated version of windows 7!

    I have not once seen all registers at a supermarket open, no matter what time of year it is. So the question is why do they have so many if they never, ever use them all? It is simply quantity over quality. More is better right? More staff so you have 10 of them to stand around staring at you when it really should only take one.

    I have worked as a manager of a supermarket and I was god. I set the rules. They were no queue more than 3 customers deep, no customer waits more than 5 minutes. We have done the hardest part of getting the customer into the store, let them pick products and now they are waiting to give us their hard earned cash. The least we can do is take it off them before they change their mind and walk out the door to a competitor.

    But not here. Drives me fucking insane.