Our first day to relax a bit. Allow me to rewind to the night before.
After getting home from Tanza, we decided to take trikes a couple of miles down the street for dinner. And of course, for the cultural experience of putting 6 large Americans on a bicycle built for two.
The trike is simple. Take a small motorcycle, put a side car on it, wrap the side car in clear plastic and for a final touch add a long seat on the bike so there is room to sit behind the driver. The side car has the potential to sit 6 people. 2 sit on back of side car and face backward, 4 in the front of the car – 2 sitting on seats, the other two on a board that sits at feet of other 2 passengers. Plus two on behind the driver on his seat. It’s quite a sight. It’s also designed for the average Filipino. Not us.
The motorcycle has a small lawn mower engine, perhaps a weed-eater. 8 pesos will pretty much get you where you need to go as their range is normally limited to that particular village or neighborhood.
If this sounds impossible to you, just understand that Filipinos can work miracles with motorcycles. The trike is a modern miracle of automotive science.
Timm grabs the seat in the sidecar, waves me in. As I climb on top of Timm, we feel the bike tip.
“It’s no problem. We do this all time!”
That must be the Filipino equivalent to ‘Hey, watch this.’
It’s about a 3 mile ride to the business district. We have 5 plus the driver on this trike and the engine is giving it all she’s got.
Vendors selling mangos, fish, chicken, bananas, and drinks line the pavement as we scurry down the road. It’s around 7 pm on a Sunday night and the streets are packed with people. The trike is weaving in and out of cars and trucks. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of headlight as I can tell.
After 5 minutes of this trauma, we arrive at destination. We walk up and over the main road to eat at a place called Army-Navy. It’s designed like a quansa hut in honor of all the ones built in the Philippines by the US military during WW2. And they serve burritos.
Yeah. An American restaurant run by Filipinos serving Mexican food.
The food was good and on the way home, I took the seat behind the driver. These seats are designed for the passenger to sit side saddle. Sort of. I sit with my knees facing out. It’s comfortable but nerve-racking. I know how close these cars get to each other when they pass. Right before we pull off, another passenger jumps on beside me. I couldn’t take any video of that as I was hanging on for dear life.
Next day we drive out to beautiful park called Danak Falls. It’s a series of water falls with clear blue water. Absolutely stunning.
We head back for lunch then towards the financial district to experience the market. It is an experience. You can get anything you want and everything is negotiable. Everything.
It’s a bit overwhelming. There are over 200 vendors all promising you a ‘special deal, sir.’ The trick is understanding that this is a game. And don’t be afraid to walk away. General rule of thumb is ask for half of what they offer – and work from there.
That night, we sit around and eat some incredible pizza and talk about the trip.
We travel home tomorrow. We all miss our families. It’s been a crazy busy trip but a good one. We each have our unique burdens we will have to pick back up once we hit American soil.
But for this moment, we eat. And we enjoy God’s presence among us. There is nothing unique said at dinner. There isn’t a moment. There are no grand speeches. But it is nice to sit among brothers in Christ in unity.