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100 Days Overseas With Coach Ivany: Day 6

08/23/2015, 10:30am CDT
By Max Ivany
Manila is really something.  I've been all over the world and if there's anything that remotely resembles the gridlock of traffic here, I sure don't want to see or experience it.  Even with a 1 day a week ban on driving your vehicle there is no movement during rush hour.  As my driver Pancho Fernansez informed me for example:  If your tag ends in 0 or 1, then you can't drive your vehicle on Monday, 2 or 3 you can't drive on Tuesday...etc)
Here's the kicker.  Rush hour seems to from 5 am to 10 pm at night with no break.  I'm not talking stop and go either.  I'm talking stop nudge stop. Seems like all the taxis are standard shift vehicles where the driver shift into first, then stops, puts it in neutral, pulls on his hand brake (in order to save his clutch) and then repeats the maddening procedure again in another minute.
Today was a return trip the doctor as my mucus filled eyeball had worsened as had the swelling.  This time I was given an antibiotic eye drop that worked like a charm.  Once again the bill was a staggering 440 pesos for the doctor visit and then 460 pesos for the prescription.  It may take a day of your life to get to the doc and back in this insane traffic but the good news is it cost me a total of $20 US for the entire medical issue.
I'm noticing a distinct difference here in the foods.  Not only the obvious difference in choices and some of the local Filipino fare but in food in general.  Everything is fresh, there is little in the way of preservatives and processed foods.  Stuff just tastes better and no doubt is healthier for us than our nonstop ingestion of chemicals in our meats and pre-packaged goods.  Even the fast food (which I've had very little of, is yummy). In the grocery store the meats are a dark blood red, not the color we are accustomed to seeing.  Not sure if that's good or bad to be honest as I've been eating almost exclusively seafood.
Today I experienced my first "boodle" meal.  This is a Filipino tradition for as few as two people, up to 20 where the food comes served to you in quantity on a common platter on top of banana leaves.  Many people choose to scoop the food with their fingers (including the rice) and just dig right in, or in my case I was  a little reserved the first time and used my fork, putting the meal on my own plate.  I'm sure I'll adjust to this shortly. The cool thing about all this is you really have to work at it to spend more than $25 US on meals including different fish, squid, shrimp and oysters.  Delicious and easy on the pocket book!
No shortage of American culture here as you can see from my pose in front of the Blues Brothers. :-)