Thursday, November 20, 2008

Re-acquainting with the MRT

I haven't taken the MRT (Metro Railway Transit) since I left my previous job in Makati almost 2 years ago.

Up to that point, riding the MRT has been an integral part of my work week. Morning and night, for 4 years, I have taken the MRT, Line 3 (the one that traverses EDSA). And if you live in Manila, you know what that means.

Long lines... an endless sea of humanity... and then me in high heels, all packed inside a train compartment where you almost can not feel the air conditioning anymore. But you endure. Because the MRT is still the quickest way to get to where you want to go within the vicinity of EDSA.

Until 2 years ago.

Nowadays, my work area is outside the route of any line of the MRT. I now take a cab to work, and then an airconditioned "FX" (a van that has been converted into a form of public transportation that travels on a fixed route, usually without a permit to operate from the local government) to go home. More convenient, more comfortable... less stressful. I have grown complacent.

Last Monday, I found myself needing to take the MRT again. I attended a 3-day training in Makati which started last Monday. That morning, on the way to the venue, I took a cab. I was also planning to take a cab on my way home, but by that time, it was 6 PM... in Makati. Think RUSH HOUR, in capital letters. Therefore TAXI = IMPOSSIBLE. It's off the MRT station for me.

And then suddenly, everything I managed to forget in 2 years came rushing back to me:

I have forgotten that it was a long walk from where I got off in Glorietta, to the MRT station... when you are wearing high heels.

I have forgotten that the escalator from the ground level to the station does not work most of the time so it's like taking 2 flights of stairs up... on high heels.

I have forgotten that only the trains are air conditioned... the station is not. I must have lost a quart of water from my body through sweating the 30 minutes I was in the station.

I have forgotten how tightly packed a train compartment can get during rush hour.

I have forgotten that it's actually a long walk from the MRT station in Ortigas to Megamall... when you are still wearing your stupid heels. I lost about another 5 ounces of water again walking.

I have forgotten that I used to wear flat sandals on my way to and from work. I leave my high heels at the office so I won't actually have to walk in them for long distances. That's how I survived.

And then I remembered... this experience was one of the reasons why I left Makati 2 years ago.

PS: Brends, thanks for deciding to take your car on the second and third day of our training!

NOTE: And yes, after all these years of having a license, I still can't drive. Scares the hell out of me. But that's another story for another day.

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