A couple nights ago, I caught a random episode of a TV show called Don’t Drive Here.
Basically, the host of the show travels to places all around the world to learn about and experience the driving culture. He goes through the process of getting a license, and then tries different types of driving in whichever city the particular episode is about. The one I caught was in Manila, which is chaotic and scary, to say the least. Facts I pulled from the TV show’s  website:

  • Deadly Roads: In 2011, more than 1800 people were killed in Manila road accidents. That’s 35 people killed every week – or five a day.
  • Top Killer: Road accidents are ranked as the fourth top cause of death in the country by the Health Department.
  • Slow traffic: Manila traffic has an average speed of just eight to 12 km/h during peak times – making it one of the slowest-moving cities in the world.
  • Pollution: 80% of the very bad air pollution here is due to vehicle exhaust.
  • Traffic police: Being a traffic officer here isn’t easy. The transit authority recently starting training officers in martial arts like: stick fighting, knife defense, and hand-to-hand combat.
  • Dangerous buses: Riding the bus is the most dangerous mode of public transportation when you’re in Metro Manila.

One moment really struck me, though. The host was travelling with a young woman while she took her two children and four nieces and nephews – that’s six kids – to the grocery store.

Sounds challenging, right? Can you imagine packing six kids into a car and taking them grocery shopping? I wouldn’t want to do it.

Only she didn’t get to pack them into a car. She needed to take three – yes, three – different types of transportation just to get to the store, one of which involved being separated from half the kids while they took bike taxi things between the bus and a weird jeep bus stop.

Gridlock-Manila1

Oh, and when they had to cross the street to get to the first bus stop, the woman was almost in tears because cars don’t stop and her children were nearly hit like, four separate times crossing one street.

Lesson learned: It’s a good thing to get that five-minute wake-up call as to how easy life is. Especially when we spend the day stressing about little dumb things that don’t actually matter. (And by “we” I mean me, but also probably you, right?)

xA

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