Saturday, March 26, 2022

Cycling In Iloilo City: An Amusing Anecdote

Here's a rather amusing anecdote -- and if you're unfamiliar with Filipino culture, this might enlighten you on the dark side of the "ordinary hardworking Pinoy."

So, against my mother's precautions, I took my Mamachari bicycle to SM Delgado after lunch this Saturday because it was a cloudy day with little chance of rain and also because I had a few personal errands in that area.

I kinda understood why she didn't want me to take my bike there. It's not the safest area -- in fact, pickpocketers are on the prowl there all the time.

I parked my bike right in front of Watson's near the Fruit Stand in that area by the overpass. If you're familiar with the place I'm describing, you'd know there's a place there where you can chain up your bike. 

Anyway, after securing my bike, a vendor there was selling some pieces of cleaning cloth for 100 php at 6 pieces each. We could always use more of those and personally, if I can help out, I  help out. So I bought a set on the spot and he gave me 1 freebie, one for each day of the week according to him.

Seeing that I was buying stuff from random vendors, a  rather "enterprising" lady fruit vendor came up to me and practically begged me to buy some fruits from her. I looked hesitantly at the stuff she was selling. I knew my mother would probably like the grapes but at the same time, I had stuff to do so I couldn't be lugging around a pack of grapes all the time -- especially since it was getting a bit hot, so the fruits would probably spoil inside my backpack.

So I politely declined her but she kept begging me to at least buy something so she could buy some lunch. I knew that this was a fake sob story (this is why experience counts. I know these types of people because I've seen them in action before. They will rob you blind either by overpricing stuff or actually just robbing you if you're not careful) but I did want to help out somehow, so I offered her a compromise: I'd buy something if she was still here by the time I got back to go home... she wouldn't have it and kept begging me to buy something. At this point, I had to tell her "no" quite firmly.

Anyway, off I went with my personal errands -- delivering a painting, buying some tire caps, getting my PSP repaired, buying a 12x18" frame, buying two pieces of computer mouse from a local store that sold gaming quality computer peripherals at Aliexpress prices, and finally buying something for dinner for my mother and I.

I arrived at the area at about 2:30 PM and it was nearly 5 PM when I was done. So there I was, all ready to go home with my shopping haul in tow when I noticed a creaking sound while I was cycling. Sure enough, when I looked back, my rear tire was completely deflated -- but not only that, it was hanging out of the wheel. Also, the cover of my newly installed shifter had somehow fallen off (fortunately, I found it on the ground nearby.)

Naturally, I brought a pump along so I tried to pump it back up to no avail. Also, I'd noticed this earlier but the tire cap was missing (this is why I bought some extra ones) from the rear tire tube. 

Fortunately, there are always lots of taxis in the area, so I just hailed a big one and had him take me and the bike home. I sent a message to my mother that I was coming home in a taxi. I smirked a bit because it appears she was right all along. People really can't be trusted sometimes.

I dunno if it was that fruit vendor lady acting out of spite or someone else just vandalizing my bike, but I do know that my rear tube was beyond repair at that point and somebody had definitely tried something funny with my shifter. In any case... not really a big loss for me. Aside from having the bike repaired, all it cost me was a 155 php taxi fare back home. (I gave the taxi driver 220 overall for helping me lug the bike in and out of his car.)

The experience though -- priceless. Also, I'll never park my bike in that area ever again.

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