25 June, and I’m starting the day answering comments here on LiP when around 0530 Mayang brings me a bagel with cream chasse and a cup of coffee. I smile and think to myself, this is just going to be another great day to be living in the Philippines. But one of the comments I received was from a guy who wanted pictures of the New Ole Honda as he was suspect as to if it was a real car or not (I have the same problem on Face Book where people wonder if my Brother Dan is also real, oh believe me he is!) . Now I’m absolutely positive that he was joking with me, but it did strike me as really funny. What if I was sitting at a bar in say Florida, and I’d never been out of the country, and some guy was telling me stories about living in the Philippines Would I really believe him?
I had planned on skipping any stories about the New Ole Honda this week, as far as I know it’s was not going to be done. Then my wife Mayang who has lived here her entire life shocked me when she came in with a second cup of coffee and preceded the conversation with; “Honey Honey, in this culture two words repeated in a row denotes importance. Something like when the Miss Universes contestant from the Philippines a year or two ago said “Major-major” during her interview and the English speaking world went ballistic. Which I thought was stupid as most people that were upset only spoke one language, and she was bi or tri lingual where the average North American’s are not even fluent in their own language. I’m sorry, but it’s true.
So Honey-honey was what I heard and knew to stop what I was doing and afford to her my full attention. Paul, our tag on the broke car (Like I we have another) ended in the number six. Well I grant her that as it does, but here’s where the Honey-honey comes into play, in the Philippines the last number corresponds to the month the tag expires. So 6 = June and 7 = July and 0= October but damn if I know about November or December and how that works, in over twenty years it never came up for me.
But I’m wondering what the deal is and why is it a Honey-honey moment. She explained that our tag will expire and trouble with the LTO will befall us. I smiled and said I’ll just go down to the LTO office and explain the reason as to why I can’t bring the New Ole Honda and renew the tags at this point in time. Sometimes I can be such a simple minded idiot, where in hell do you live Paul, and in what way could it ever be simple?
Mayang quickly pointed the flaw in my logic; there was no way I can pass the smoke belcher test, with no engine in the car, and how will the man rub the engine numbers off the block if the engine block is at the repair shop? She presented a strong argument.
Mayang called her friend at the LTO, and there is a plan for when this type of situation rears its ugly head. You remove both tags and bring that to the Local LTO Office and for the small sum of PHP 400.00 they will store them for you until you can illegally drive there to renew and get your tags back. I think something similar to a “LOST TAG” sign I see all the time but mine would say something like “Ransomed Tag” I also was informed by Boboy at the LTO (I do not make up these names!) that the penalty if I didn’t turn in my tags was 50%. No I never found out 50% of what? It’s just 50% of something, and damned if I’ll take that chance on a Pig in a Polk, my friends, don’t risk it.
We called Lolet at the shop the same day, to explain about the tags, and was informed that the car MIGHT-MIGHT be ready by Friday, Nah their funning me, this is a big joke on the Kano, and I’ll show up on Friday, and they all jump up from behind the New Ole Honda and shout; Surprise, Please Wait”. Well it could happen! And Saturday morning I’ll send this in to Fearless Leader Mindanao Bob, with one or two outcomes, I’m driving the car, or I turned in my tags. PLEASE WAIT! Or something completely different!
Wednesday 26 June at 0925.the “cella” phone rings or chirps and Mayang received a call from Elmer (A Kuya Greg Trained Man). He had heard of our plight and will accompany the car to the LTO and the Smoke Belcher Joint where they insert a rod up your exhaust pipe and read the pollution level of your car. Read this twice before you comment, yes I got away with saying that. So my registration will be renewed TODAY! Oh by the way the car is re-assembled and running. But not ready to be released, as there is a sensor that is missing and “PLEASE WAIT” will be in from Mega Manila soonest. Well that’s progress isn’t it? As far as I can tell or hope, the saga is on the verge of ending, the fat lady has sung, and the last note will be played when the sensor is installed and I pay the bill.
It didn’t happen! Friday morning I received the call from Elmer MIC (Mechanic in Charge) Sir Paul, the sensor has not arrived from Mega Manila, so you may not avail yourself of the car today. But I sensed that. But Saturday for sure you may. I’m thinking does Elmer’s Chrystal Ball; somehow predict the coming of the magic sensor? I think not.
What do you do when faced with a situation like this? Get angry, throw something, and think hateful thoughts about people and things you have no control over? No; you call the shop, and tell the folks that all is fine and we’ll call Monday to check on the car. Then jump on the Mini Bus and go to Pogue Mountain atop the Loren Arms apartment building in Olongapo. Loren had invited me to come and have jumbo polish chili dogs and cocktails to celebrate the return of the Ole New Honda, Well no car, but why would that stop me from good company and a free chili dog? Lorne and Mercer are in the process of building their house on the roof of their building, which had a great view and cool breezes so it’s nice to sit with a cocktail and contemplate ones navel. Well no car, but a pleasant day with good people, what more could I ask for. BTW that chili dog was great!
Saturday morning, I finishing up the sage and I’m preparing to zoom it through the interweb thingy to Fearless Leader Mindanao Bob. I’ve never been in this situation before, but here is my plan: Sunday night/Monday morning as you read this and are still lacking the answer to the burning question; where in the world is the NSA Leaker and Paul’s Honda? I will submit to Bob a short blurb that will finally bring this to a close on Tuesday. If Bob publishes it or not, is wholly up to him, but I’ll be done with this and the Honda will be home, plus I‘ll reveal the total cost in both parts and labor.
I might add that during the writing of this saga, no mechanics were hurt by me, and my voice was never raised nor did one cuss pass my lips. Stay tuned!