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Park it somewhere

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Is an old Navy expression (At least that was the first place I heard it) as you file into a space, some Chief will be shouting; “Tighten it up shipmates, park it somewhere!” and somehow we all fit.

The Jeepney did try

The Jeepney did try

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We were all sitting at Texas Joe’s on Valentine’s Day and it was crowded. The lot was full and the young security guard was running ragged trying to fit everyone in. Then a huge fire engine red Toyota pickup truck, tried to park between two cars on the street. I knew it was going to be a major-major fur ball, I mean a jacked up four wheel drive, large tires (Wait they will be tyres in a minute) sitting so high he can look down on Victory Liners.

His first mistake was pulling his front end into the space first, vice the reverse end in, or parallel parking… and that was on my driver’s license exam in 1963. The harried security guard ran over to assist him, but it was a lost cause. Jerk forward, cut the wheel jerk backward. This went on for so long I ordered another drink while waiting. Then he had the front end sticking into the street, but with another set of adjustments he now had the read end sticking out. Now in typical ugly foreigner form he starts belittling the guard which is when I heard his Australian accent (Or maybe it’s me who has the accent and not him?)

With some more adjustments the monster truck was as parked as it would ever be. Then he and his lady climbed down to street level, and proceeded to the front door. A few seconds later he came storming back loudly complaining that the damn place was full. They reloaded themselves back into the truck and left. (His Valentine lady looked none too pleased)

The table that was also watching beside me started laughing and then I heard another Australian accent say out loud; “Damn fool shouldn’t buy a truck he can’t park.”

Since I’m on the subject of parking here in the Philippines this is something that if you think about it you will know I speak the truth. No matter where you are, even down the most lonesome empty road in any Province on this Archipelago, if you move your gear lever into reverse something or someone will magically appear behind you! For those that don’t believe me go to your car in your driveway and try it. Then come back and tell us what was there.

My wife wanted a back up camera installed in our Mitsubishi, and remembering all the times I watched her attempt to back up I saw the merit in her request and had it installed. But if the truth be told, I like it more as she has found every way conceivable to drive without ever having to back up. That in itself is amazing to me.

Olongapo City is an innovative place, we were the first to have color coded Jeepney’s, and by color coding I actually mean the color of the Jeepney tell you where it’s going and within a week, you can get anywhere without having to ask another soul. Whereas in Manila color coding means the first number on your tag odd or even. Whatever that has to do with color I’m at a loss.

My friend Don and I were driving through The Big “PO” when we noticed that city workers were painting Jeepney loading and offloading spaces along every road. He smiled at me and pointed out the waste of time and money that is and I returned the smile to him as I commented those will be wonderful places for “High Persons” to park their SUV’s.

Then we started joking and pointing out that alongside the road people will stand in small groups, 10 to 15 feet apart and the Jeepney, without fail will stop and accommodate each group. And the same rule applies to people debarking wherever they tap that Peso on the roof is where the driver will stop. And some genius at City Hall thinks that some painted lines will change how people will travel. Two weeks later I’ve yet to see a Jeepney driver stop in the designated zones, albeit they make wonderful places for businesses to display their products along with the sidewalks and for High Persons to park their SUV’s.

Now please do not think I’m bemoaning the situation, as it is one of the personal freedoms I love about living here. Plus the fact that I’ve yet to see a damnable parking meter on any street yet. We do have some old lady’s that charge you ten pesos to park (No time limit) downtown, but they must find you before you leave or you get to park for free! It’s a contest I love to play in. We don’t know who she works for but she will put a receipt on your car to mark that you paid.

So there is truly one place you can park it somewhere or anywhere, that is still here on Earth.

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Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

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Brian
Brian
4 years ago

I see why Bob takes public transportation now. Loved his driving video on Youtube.

AJ UK
AJ UK
4 years ago

Hi Paul It sounds like you brought yourself back from the edge of oblivion to entertain us once again. May we all thanks the hot lemon or hot toddy drinks that you took after all the advice given to you. I have to say that no matter what I experience parking wise in the Philippines it will never compare to the selfish parking that I have seen in South Korea. One Sunday morning I parked near an area containing chevrons thinking to myself that no-one would park there because it is illegal………..WRONG! We came out of the supermarket 30 minutes… Read more »

AJ UK
AJ UK
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

To add to the problem, 8.5% of Koreans are called Park!

Cordillera Cowboy
4 years ago

Hello Paul. Glad you’re back up to speed!

The security guard/parking guy at the grocery store in our town is an artist. He can stack ’em 3 deep, and remember who drove what. If the driver closest to the building needs to get out, the guard can find both drivers behind him and orchestrate the extrication.

I’ve gotten used to the tap, tap, tapping on the fender for guiding you while backing, but I still depend on my mirrors,

Malcolm
Malcolm
4 years ago

We bought a new SUV a while back and my wife insisted on having a reverse-view camera installed in addition to the beep-beep-beep proximity indicators. No a bad idea thought I having nudged the occasional motorbike or “no-parking” sign when reversing into a tight space. Less than a week later she crunched the driver-side wing mirror on the gate post while reversing into our drive way. Yes she was busy watching the camera view and not checking with the faithful old low-tech wing mirrors.

Bob New York
Bob New York
4 years ago

On my first couple of visits there I would sometimes cringe at the tight spots jeepny and taxi drivers would seem to make their way through. Since then when these situations happen I just think to myself, ” they do this every day so they most likely must know what they are doing ” . Always look first before backing up. Learned that from a Drivers Ed class ” a few ” decades ago when I was in High School. Recently while attempting to back into a parking space at a nearby restaurant another car zoomed right into it, senior… Read more »

Derek
4 years ago

Hi Paul, good post I’ve got no sympathy for the Australian guy there’s plenty of parking
Places just down the road, you’re right about reversing something or someone will stand
Behind your car happens all the time especially here in Manila,
I like olongapo easy to park there when we go to the market on the way home there’s always a guy who will get you a parking spot in front of the market i think they charge 10 or 20 pesos but it’s a great help to do your shopping at the market, Derek in pasig.

Derek
4 years ago

Hi Paul, one thing I’ve learnt in Manila always reverse in to a parking spot and never
Totally trust the guy tapping on your car especially in Manilas busy traffic ,
Use your eyes you don’t want a bender fender lol that Puerto Rico story was good
Made me smile, Derek in pasig.

Douglas R. Kelley
Douglas R. Kelley
4 years ago

Hi Paul, it brought back memories of times past. It was 1977, I was a newly married sailor to a spanish speaking wife. She being a new member of our society needed to learn how to drive. I of course was penny pinching, and decided what could be so difficult. I of course aced the exam when I received my license, and being an old farmboy with common sense, it would be easy. After about the 3rd day of teaching how to parallel park, and being called names I never heard before. It was much simpler, and good for our… Read more »

Jay
Jay
4 years ago

Hi Paul, Brilliant article and story! I am a lot like your wife in that I try to avoid parallel parking. I sometimes drop my wife and kids at the door and drive to a space. I figure I can use the exercise. I think a lot of times Pride is a bad thing. I did actually parallel park at church yesterday. I was picking up our younger son from First Communion Class. I pulled past and backed in. I even used my four way flashers. “How did I do?”, you might ask. “Not too good.” would be my honest… Read more »

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