Did you know that in Metro Manila, in an effort to reduce traffic congestion, you are restricted from driving your car into certain areas on specific days? They keep track of this through license plate numbers — if your license plate ends in a certain number, there is a specific day on which you are not allowed to drive your car into the city. We couldn’t drive our car in Makati City on Fridays. If we did, the police wold pull us over and give us a hefty fine (unless we gave them an even heftier pay-off, but that’s another story.) So what did we do? We took a different car!
I’m not sure how much congestion this effort has reduced, but we found ourselves in traffic, at a standstill, for the umpteenth time in an hour. Cars’ bumpers were practically touching. Passengers in different jeepneys were close enough to shake hands through their open windows. A convoy of small armored trucks were clumped together. Vans were so close to one another that you could almost make out passengers’ outlines through the heavily tinted windows. Motorcyclists were weaving in and out trying to get into the best position for when traffic finally started moving. Not much to do while sitting in traffic, so why not shop?
Like ants invading a picnic, the street vendors emerged from both sides of the 4-lane-street-turned 10-lane-parking-lot and descended upon the stopped vehicles.
Did you forget to pick up that plastic trashcan while you were at Mall of Asia? Here you go — 100 pesos. Will it fit through your car window?
A man walked by carrying 3 plastic folding tables for sale. Maybe you’re heading over to a friend’s house for some lechon and San Miguel beer. Need an extra table? 200 pesos. Just strap it onto the back of your motorcyle or hang it out the jeepney window since you’re packed like sardines in that thing.
Do you need a fishing pole? Buy this one here. Then you can hop out of your car, jump the divider and spend a few minutes fishing in the murky bay. Or take it home to your kids. 100 pesos.
“Look, you can get steering wheel pads,” pointed out my dad. Maybe your hands are getting sore from pounding on your steering wheel? Pick up a steering wheel pad for 75 pesos!
“Ooh, a rainbow thingy!” said Ayay. Now look at that – a rainbow feather duster. I actually do need one of those back at home. Too bad we’re not in Santa Barbara because I’d buy one of those right now. It would save me from stopping at the store on the way home. And it’s super cheap! Hey, this traffic-stopped shopping is a great idea!