Posted by: nastypen | October 14, 2006

Getting lost is ok, but…

Look, when I’m in a strange place, I usually get lost.  But that’s ok.  It’s my way of exploring the place.

But try getting lost in a city with an almost a zero-degree temperature at past midnight.  At first, I was familiar with the streets.  I maade a turn here and made a turn there.  the thing with Washington DC streets is that they go curvilinear.  Then everything seemed unfamiliar.  I tried to retrace my steps but i got lost.

I relied on good old street numbers.  I was looking for the part between these two numbered streets.  But somehow, the numbers stopped and got replaced by letters. It is not a nice feeling to be walking in streets with bildings and houses that seem to go endlessly then you are greeted by a vast darkness.  It was a foliage of trees that I did not really dare walk through.  Washington DC is not really one of the safest cities on earth.

There a scruffy white man in black knitted cap and sweaters staring at me as he walked behind me.

There was a holler from a car that almost made me jump.

I keep telling myself I can do this.

I was supposed to go to this posh bar with my sister’s friend.  She was invited for a party and her firends told her i could tag along.  But I asked before we went there if there was a dress code.  We called the place and there was.  No sneakers allowed.  i was wearing my precious scruffed pair of red converse.

I wouldn’t want to be in a place that does not respect my Chucks. 

I told them I’d rather go to a bookstore and take a raincheck.

i went to this 24-hour bookstore.  24 hours!  This is a bookstore i want to work in!  I went to a pharmacy to buy chocolates and prepaid load for the T-mobile.  The chocolates were soft and squishy.  the heat in the store melted them.  i still bought it.

So, it was time for me to go home.  So, i walked and got lost.

At one point, my side began to hurt.  This only happens when I am stressed out.  I gave up and took a cab.  In Washington DC, the cabs don’t have taxi meters.  They are paid by “zoning” fees.  Like if you’re in just one zone, you pay this fixed amount.  the fee gos higher as you enter in more zones.  What is more crazy is that in the taxi cabs, there are flyers plastered saying that the passengers have rights and if they wish to complain they can do such and such.

Then on the next column, it says there that the taxi drivers have rights, too. they enumerated stipulations there that i consider insane.  Like they can charge you, apart from the zone rate, extra for EVERY passenger with you.  Here’s what made me want to fly back to Manila: if you ask the taxi driver to make a quick stop, he can charge you an equivalent of two trips.  If you’re the only passenger, the taxi driver HAS THE RIGHT to pick up another passenger to ride with you along the way.  My goodness, and i thought the Manila taxi drivers were spawns of Satan.  Apparently, they have a sibling here.

So, I paid a small fortune just to get home. 

Looks like Friday the 13th had its last hurrah.

I am TRYING not to dwell on it.  I watched a movie today and Americans are as noisy as Filipinos watching in a cinema I deem so 1980s in structure.  You are f*cked if the guy sits right in front of you is tall and you will see nothing.  i watched another Truman Capote biopic.  i thought it was fine.  I liked the portraiture of Capote and the acting is better.  But i have to admit, the first Capote film is better in terms of the whole package.  i wish they were showing Little Miss sunshine, instead. 

I bought a graphic novel.  It is a collection of Japanese short stories collected in one volume.  The title is Abandon the Old in Tokyo

tonight, my life’s episode was Scare the Lost in washington DC.

The soft chocolates i bought were hardened by the really cold weather as i was walking for clarity.  It was an experience.  My feet are sore and I am seeking comfort in Duke Ellington‘s melancholic wailing trumpet.



  1. Sorry to hear about the fact that you got lost. I’d like to get lost in a big city like that. Although I wouldn’t like having another passenger that I do not know of in a taxi; especially since it might be a set-up. What kind of a law is that? Well, that’s a common feature of taxis in Afghanistan. I met this Filipina doctor who, becauase it was a custom there in that country, had to move over to the trunk to sit down and give way to male passengers. Talk about repression of womens’ rights. I’m thankful that you are beginning to experience that not everything is bright and cheery in the United States. They do have the scars, that are far more deeper than we would have anticipated or expected.

  2. “I’m thankful that you are beginning to experience that not everything is bright and cheery in the United States. ”

    Hello….I’ve known this forever.

    Besides at the start of my trip it has not been bright nor cheery. Check out the past blog entries. hahahah

  3. So, now new updates on your trip?

  4. My god, let me rest naman!

  5. i thought something bad will happen to you when you mentioned the man with the black knitted cap…i was really holding my breath! i’m glad you went home safe. tired but safe…and that’s good, right?

    the part with the taxi drivers was hilarious. ironically hilarious.

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