My first trip to Davao to get married was my first trip out of Australia. That was probably why it was all so new and fasinating. It was my first trip to the tropics too of course and experience of the mid day siesta time although it seems for some of the locals any time is a good time for a little snooze.
While exploring the city it seems we always came across some one sleeping and it seemed to be more men than ladies although not always. Walking down some of the city foot paths was a real challenge. The side walk vendors would line the front of the stores and take up more than half of the foot path. While you were trying to take in all the interesting sights you had to keep one eye on the foot path where you were walking as it was full of holes and steps and uneven bits. You could easily do your self some damage steping in a hole unexpectantly.
Of all those side walk vendors you would often see a chap under the table or on some sacks having a siesta while his wife tended shop. Speaking of holes I did step in one in the dark one night. We were leaving families house after a party and there was a deep hole in the nature strip and I stepped straight in it in the dark. Luckily my daughter in law had my arm and I survived unscathed.
Even in the shopping malls you come across people having a siesta. Some of those malls are quite large with several stories of shopping and can get quite busy. When you are following behind a throng of people all heading the same way and the lady in front of you suddenly stops you bump into her because you were looking around at the sights. She stopped because she had a text on her phone.
There are lots of those little food carts in the malls and we noticed one that had a youngster working behind it. He was selling ice creams or something similar except he wasn’t doing any business. He was sitting on a stool behind his cart with his head inside a cupboard resting on his arms and sound asleep. If the cart owner happened by he would not be very impressed.
I should imagine that there is quite a few little carts and stalls in malls owned by entrepreneurs who pay staff to man them. This came to light recently when the night market was suspended and restarted with 50% less stalls with one of the rules being one family one stall and no third party owners. The whole of Davao seems to be a huge comsumer market and while profits may be low they are magnified with multiple units and huge turn over. There was something like 150 ukay ukay, second hand clothing stalls at the night market. It would be a big temptation for some one with the means to bring in container loads of the clothing and set up multiple stalls and employ staff.
Back to the siesta. There was an other occasion when we were looking around a souvenir shop filled with the local hand crafts, It was very interesting but were surprised to be browsing for so long with no attendant in sight. When I ventured near to the counter I discovered why. There she was, sound asleep curled up on the floor behind the counter. She must have been staff as you would not expect one to neglect one’s own business like that. We crept out side quietly so as to let her sleep.
Maybe some people work all night at two jobs or just party hard but it did seem a lot of locals like a little snooze during the day. Maybe it is in the Philippine DNA. One of my wife’s daughters had the same problem when she was a teenager. She would just drop off to sleep at the drop of a hat even when she was serving customers behind a counter she would find herself asleep on her feet. It would be lovely to have that ability, to just have a quick nap when you need it and it seems in the tropics of Davao there are a lot of people that need it.