A taxi ride from Ortigas to Makati, Metro Manila

It’s easy to forget, when you have started to become accustomed to a place, what makes it different from other places.  Everyday things like pavements, roads, the vehicles on the roads, the weather, the air conditions, the shops…  it was my intention when I started this blog, that I would highlight some of the things that are different in Manila compared to our lives in the UK.  I remember conversations with friends and colleagues before I left the UK, where I stated my intention of keeping a blog, in which I expressed my concerns that I’d probably be able to write interesting things for the first few weeks and then it would all just become normal.  What’s actually happened is that it has become a bit of a travelogue.

One of the reasons for this is that I often forget to take my camera out and about with me in my daily life.  I’ve had some interesting as well as weird and wonderful experiences whilst getting out and about… but I have rarely captured photos / videos of them.  And just writing about them wouldn’t give enough of a feel for the situation.  Another reason is that we have travelled to some fantastic places since we’ve been here, and it’s fun to write about them!

One of my blog readers, a big Arsenal fan (but we won’t hold that against him), sent me an email today with some kind words of encouragement, along with some suggestions for things he’d like to read about on our blog.  Spurred on by this, I took a video of part of my cab journey on my way back from a meeting in Ortigas to Makati.

Short video looking out towards the front of the taxi (EDSA)

Short video looking out from the side window of the taxi (EDSA)

These are 2 short videos, taken in fairly light Friday mid-afternoon traffic.  The bounciness is only in part a result of my shaky camera hands; it’s more to do with the conditions of the road and maybe the driving (although the taxi driver I had today was a very good one).

The second video might appear a bit boring – mostly just a wall – but this is just what it’s like.  Further up, the wall is painted with a special paint which is able to filter out nitrogen oxides from the air to try to limit the pollution in the city.  But also in this second video you see a great shot of a Jeepney – these are vehicles left over from the American time here, and they have been converted into sort of buses.  There was a program on recently in the UK – Toughest Place to be a bus driver – where a London bus driver came to Manila to see what it’s like driving a jeepney.

In both you may be able to hear some music.  This was one of the few taxis where they don’t have the radio stuck on a soft rock station!

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