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He drove extraordinarily slow by Manila taxi standards and this should have been cause for concern: either that his mental capacities were beyond their expiration date or that he was unsure where he was going.
Or perhaps we gave him more English than he could handle. He was doing okay going north on Roxas and then east on Pablo Ocampo, but when he started turning left on Taft I knew he was getting it wrong.
We told him to drop the associate at a named hotel at the corner of Estrada and Arellano a few blocks east of Taft in Malate and then drop me at Birch Towers on Bocobo in the block closest to Robinson's Place Mall.
I then repeated "Birch Towers on Bocobo, do you know where that is"? (The next day another driver took me directly from my associate's hotel via Estrada, Taft, San Andres, and Bocobo as though the route were on the back of his hand.).
Once we were on Mabini we moved forward at about the pace of a walk.
But that still won't solve the million other screw ups and scams a manila driver might pull.
Most complaints about taxis have involved scamming attempts.
This still puts him three blocks too far west, and Estrada, when he crossed it, runs the wrong way. " But instead of turning right from Estrada onto Taft, he turned left, south, then west on Ocampo. This does eventually get close to Remedios Circle, so I suspect his only orientation to Remedios Circle was from the airport, and that his roundabout route back by Ocampo simply got him back to what he was familiar with.
I took over giving directions at that point-kaliwa (left) on Pablo Ocampo," "derecho, derecho" (to keep him from turning off prematurely), then "kaliwa on Arellano" when he started to turn right, and finally "para dito" (stop here, roughly, I think) when we got to the hotel on Arellano. So his internal GPS just couldn't get him to Bocobo by the more direct route via Taft.
On my first trip to the Philippines a talkative cabbie asked me if I understood Tagalog. He suggested that some cab drivers don't understand much English, and a few words of instruction could get me by: derecho for straight ahead, kanan for right, kaliwa for left, para for stop, and dito for here.
Some of our expats will have much more extensive Filipino lexicon, but these instructions have served me well on many occasions. For all I know she had no place to go and was trying to find a place to crash (or worse came back with a cop) I was pretty happy to get rid of her drama.
But another problem is the incompetent or ignorant driver who pretends to know the destination but really doesn't.
Last Friday night an associate and I left Terminal 2 in a regular taxi driven by a doddering old geezer.
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