I decided to go to my old university in the morning, so I took the bus to get there. It never fails to amaze me how I did it for 3 and a half years: it takes 4 rides to get from the house to campus, and that was just one way. First, I take a tricycle: this is a small motorcycle that has a passenger seat, and functions as a cab within the neighborhood. It currently costs 7.00 PHP. Then I take a long-distance bus from the neighborhood terminal up to Metro Manila: this costs 55.00 PHP. Then I transfer to a light-rail transit and travel for 8 stations: this costs 14.00 PHP. Finally, I get in a jeepney, and it takes me all the way into the campus, which costs 10.00 PHP. All in all, this one-way trip, which takes about 2 hours (if the traffic jam is bad), costs 86.00 PHP, or a little less than 2.00 USD. Not bad.
While traveling, I realized that I missed some of these things. I missed the stench of the diesel fuel that public buses use, I miss the crazy chaotic driving that everyone seems to be doing, and I missed the heat. Yes, it is convenient living in Buffalo, but doing this whole routine again makes one realize how sterilized and convenient things are in the USA. It makes you realize that you shouldn't take it for granted, because there are plenty of people here who don't have the privilege of experiencing that. It sounds funny when I encounter people complaining about the traffic in the I-90 thruway during rush hour in Buffalo. Boy, that is not traffic at all. That's a breeze.
I suppose the most important thing one needs here in the Philippines is a dose of Filipino-style fatalism and a pinch of patience. And lots of water to shower.