True story: I did not mean to fall asleep that day. Really.
I was just clueless, you see, since the jeepney had gone past Espana and I couldn’t see the University of Santo Tomas anywhere. Then the barker started calling out for Pier 15, which I should have taken as a sign that Something Was Wrong.
So of course I had to ask where I was, and the person next to me said that I was, indeed, in Quiapo.
Cue the alarms and claxons in my head: Oh, no! I just missed my stop, and now I’m carrying a laptop bag in Quiapo! Whatsoever must I do now?
So I did what anyone in my position would do: Get off the jeepney, put on the Intense Face, and hold on to my laptop bag for dear life so I won’t turn into another casualty at the hands of pickpockets.
The rest just kicked in:
- Walk as fast as possible. You are not taking a leisurely seaside stroll on Waikiki, and neither is everyone else. Do not smile. Do not make eye contact. Do not even let anyone touch you.
- You can, of course, ask for directions, but do not blame yourself for getting confused if where you need to go is right in front of you.
- If the person you’re talking to asks you if you’re blind – because the jeepney stop is right in front of you, and you have no idea – do not answer politely. Just be frank: “No, I’m just new to this neighborhood. Now will you tell me how exactly I’m supposed to chase down that jeepney?”
- It’s OK to chase after a jeepney here. It’s also OK to ask the driver if he’s going where you need to go, and get off ASAP if he’s not. That’s called “logic.”
- Nobody cares if the jeepney that you need to take is at the very entrance of the underpass. And neither should you.
Lesson learned: Don’t fall asleep on a jeepney ever again. Ever.