First thing to tell you is that the trikes in Janet’s hometown of Alcoy, Cebu are very small. They make the trikes in Dumaguete look like SUVs. The main passenger bench can fit two smallish Filipinos or 1 Kano plus his bag. Janet was sitting across from me on the mini seat, which on the Alcoy trikes barely accommodates a child.
We were on our way to the local fiesta; actually it was the band performances and competition part of the fiesta activities. Because of this the National Hwy. was blocked off and the trike driver, along with everyone else, was forced to take a dirt and stone road detour. He must have been annoyed because he was driving along the dirt road at the same speed he would have been driving along the highway. He hit every rock and bump and Janet and I were bouncing pretty good. But we were close to our destination and it is after all a trike – so I wasn’t complaining. Finally the driver hit one hard bump. I levitated a couple inches and landed on the bench pretty hard. Now these benches are sort of upholstered; there’s a little padding but not much. As we stuck the landing the bench seat sagged and I knew something had broken; I figured a spring. I told Janet that my seat was broken. She translated to the driver who tried to feel what was wrong with the bench, while still flying down the dirt road. Finally he pulled over just at the place we were going to get off. He pulled up the bench. All that was holding the thing in place was one rusted pipe welded at either end. The left weld had given up the ghost and the pipe has separated from its connecting piece. I was amazed that only one pipe held the trike seat in place. There was a conversation between the driver and Janet in Visayan. I just pulled out some change and gave the driver the normal fare.
Later Janet told me that the driver looked at us saying “My trike is broken. What am I going to do?” While he didn’t state it directly, Janet was under the impression that he was implying that the great big kano was responsible and we should share in the cost of the repair.
Now for those of you who don’t know me personally one of the advantages I have in the Philippines is that I am somewhat vertically challenged. I used to be 5’6″ tall. I say used to be because at my last physical exam, I stretched myself as tall as I could and managed to get measured at 5’5 1/2″. Apparently we do shrink with age. And while I am not as svelte as I was in my youth I am not one of those huge guys who break chairs and benches just by sitting on them. As I say one of my advantages in the Philippines is that I am small enough to be only a little bit taller than the average Filipino and thus can fit in most things here. This includes the faux leather chairs in our apartment, which wouldn’t handle many American butts (loboot in Visayan). My size also means I can fit into a trike without causing damage – that is up until now.
Since in the Philippines all information is passed though an extensive grapevine, I am worried that all the Alcoy drivers will soon know that I am the huge kano who broke the trike seat. I might have to take out insurance!