Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Coming home soon

More pics and some sweet videos of my wonderful daughter will follow once I get back.

Finally heading home to Korea. I'm, as usual, unimpressed with the Philippines except when I'm on the white sandy beaches of Boracay. Things that aren't high on my list such as getting ripped off and dealing with Filipino bureaucracy will soon be just a memory.

We came to Manila a day before my flight so that we could take care of some paperwork for Rosi's Korean Visa. We had to bring several of her pieces of ID to the Shepherds of Hope to get her "overseas counseling" paperwork. Turns out that when she gets her Visa she needs to go back there again to get a sticker put onto her Visa. That will make three trips to the horrible, nasty Cubao area of Manila.

Luckily the office is served fairly well by the MRT, but it still seems ridiculous that she has to go there again. Her "counseling" involved watching a 1 hour video about the things that can go wrong when you have a relationship with a foreigner and then travel with them.

"social abuse (meaning isolation), physical abuse, financial abuse [sic](withholding money), sexual abuse".

We had another fight as we often do, just before I leave for a few months. This time it was about the taxi. I'm always giving the drivers here a hard time because . . ., well to be frank, it's because they are always trying to screw me. Because I am a foreigner and compared to them I am rich. I think Rosi isn't too proud about the fact that so many of her fellow Pinoys are so unethical, but deep down there is an ethic amongst the tourism workers that taking advantage of foreigners is okay because they have so much money, I guess.

I suppose I will just have to flop this off as a cultural difference. I don't come from a country where it's okay to take advantage of people just because they are new to the area and "after all they are so rich it won't matter to them one bit."

I just have to stop coming here, I hate being surrounded by tricksters and scammers. The more often I come here the more aware I am of just how many ways it can be done. Just today a taxi driver didn't turn on his meter (purposefully) and when we arrived at the destination he just named a figure. "Pay me 100 pesos". I quite naturally asked what his meter said, knowing full well that the meter had never been turned on.

He said "the meter is off now, but it read 78 pesos just before I turned it off".

A bald-faced lie if I ever heard one. And so I paid him a little more than the amount that I thought was fair. I gave him 60 pesos. He called me a f**cking a**hole as so many taxi drivers have done before, but I'm sure that deep down he realized that he was not being fair. That didn't matter to Rosi. She doesn't like the fact that I'm not all fluffy and lovable to the local taxi drivers.

Too bad, looks like this is one of those fights that has to proceed. I don't care what the culture is like over here, nobody can ask me to smile and take a rimming whenever money changes hands.

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