I just spent an unsuccessful afternoon at the Indonesian Embassy trying to convince them to process my visa with the requirements for Canadian nationals, despite the fact that I am in Manila. I kept waving my Canadian passport around aimlessly; they kept saying "You are in Manila. You will be treated as a Filipino national." I gave up.

A typhoon is currently barreling toward Samar and Leyte, and the preliminary storms have already begun to drench Manila in terrifically strong rain. I waited at least 30 minutes for a cab, only to have it stolen by a wizened old lady who swept in out of nowhere and jumped in the front seat, flashing me a toothless grin as the cab sped off. I took the next cab and five minutes in the following dialogue occurred:

Cabbie: Ma'am. You will pay 50 pesos extra because we will be stuck in traffic.

Me: No, I will pay the metered fare. That's how it works.

Cabbie: No, you will pay 50 pesos extra because TRAFFIC.

Me: No, I will call the taxi commission and report that you are trying to scam a nice girl like me.

Cabbie: [Thinking]

Cabbie: Ok, no extra charge and then no calling taxi commission?

Me: Ok.

Cabbie: You look like a nice white girl but you are not nice.

Me: I've heard that before.

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  • Jodi Ettenberg

    Born in Montreal, Canada, Jodi Ettenberg is a former new media and technology lawyer who quit her job after 5+ years of working…

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