Now I’ve always thought the health and safety system in the UK is a little excessive…OK I admit I think some of it is outright ludicrous and actually had negative effect prohibiting the use of common sense both in the workplace and in every day life.
I mean if you trip over your own shoelace you can probably blame and sue the shoelace company for making laces which haven’t stayed tied, I expect the poor shoelace companies are having all sorts of issues trying to find fabrics they can use to adhere to regulations making sure people don’t trip over…OK I made this up and its a little OTT but you get the idea and I’m sure a lot of you feel the same,
So, upon coming to the Philippines I was expecting a nice break from all the rules and regulations and a little bit of common sense usage and for the most part this is as expected. Some cars just don’t have seatbelts (our jeep for instance, but it comes with a handlebar to hold on to), people ride motorbikes in sandals and shorts, the pavements are uneven, have many items which could be tripped up and down, have buses and cars parked sometimes 2/3 wide into the road and on the pavement forcing you to walk on the busy road and the amount of debris left lying around makes for an obstacle course wherever you go. This is the adventure we were expecting, the different life.
I must admit though I was not expecting the holes in the pavement, 2 by about 3 feet wide and down into the sewer below, at some parts the whole strip of pavement looks to be falling inwards. Some areas have been covered. When I say covered I mean a few bits of 2 x 4 which are rotted and breaking or some metal sheets which have bent in due to cars driving over them. Some are completely uncovered and this, my friends, is the type of hole of which I had an…um…’experience’.
So its dark, street lights?? don’t be silly! There are rubbish carts parked along the side of the curb and the road is busy. I pass between two rubbish carts to get to a bit of pavement…which incidentally is exactly where the hole is. You would have thought it was done on purpose, why in the world would you leave a walkway between carts to a hole in the pavement on a dark street where the carts are blocking out the light coming from car headlights???
So anyhow I am incredibly lucky. Being of scatty mind I often walk around in my own world hopping and skipping down the road and in this instance it saved me serious injury….possibly even my life!
As I hopped up onto the non existent bit of curb, I managed to jump into a 4 foot deep hole. I wont pretend I had any idea what was going on. In the brief moment of wonderment, you know where 2 seconds feels like 2 minutes, I had the strangest feeling, I remember thinking: am I falling? I feel like I’m falling, I can see the pavement coming towards my face…but…I’m upright…I’m upright, that’s not right, what is this magic??….I then heard my partner shouting if I was OK, looked around and realized, Ahhh I’m in a hole I know now and also FUCKING OUCH!
I apparently sprung right out and then stood doubled over y the hole…i wont lie it was the worst pain I’ve had for a long time. I had managed to smash my thigh on a big piece of jutted out concrete on the way down, jarring my hip and knee and causing both bruising and scratches…I had no idea how seriously I was hurt, if id actually damaged my knee or hip or both all I knew was I needed to catch my breath and also how glad I was it was night and there are few people there to see…Oh the embarrassment!
It sounds awful and it was, I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t walk properly for days but it was clear by the next morning that my hip and knee were sore but not damaged and the area of impact would indeed heal.
In retrospect I was very lucky for several reasons…
If I had stepped in just one foot, you can only imagine the damage, serious rib or even face planting damage, pulled or even dislocated hip joints, neck, broken arms etc…
If I had fallen a few days sooner after the monsoon the water would have been much higher, there would have been a very real risk of being washed away under the pavement and droning.
The particular hole had little debris in the bottom, upon inspection some of the others have metal spikes, juts of concrete and other ankle breaking or skin penetrating obstacles.
It was only a few days after this I developed my allergy from the previous post, I still don’t know what caused it, if it was indeed an allergy or something caught from the dirty water and grime in the bottom of the hole, my trainers stunk of faeces the next day! Urgh, whatever it was its taken quite some time to feel clean again and I can assure you I have well and truly learned my lesson!
Now I have my wits about me at all times out there in that there danger zone I now call home, although I’m sure Mrs Philippines still has a few painful surprises lined up for me.
Everywhere I go I see hazards, Live wires hanging down, so many stray animals, possible rabies carriers, mosquitoes galore, possibly malaria or dengue carriers and then just the general roads/driving style….watch this space!