Tuesday, March 01, 2011

MRT tayo

If I remember correctly my first tram ride was in Brussels, Belgium, the place we called home in the early 1980s. It was way shorter than a MRT and it normally passes through the middle of the streets. My sister and I were very young then so we were always accompanied by our parents. Then whenever we traveled, we would more often than not use the Mass Rapid Transport (the name varies in different cities) to get around. It was cheaper, more convenient and it was a good way to explore a new destination.

During our many travels as 'adults', my sister and I have had many interesting anecdotes about our MRT rides. The most complicated to figure out was the Tube in central London. The many connecting colored lines, the several stops were like a maze. We did get lost on many occasions. In Rome naman, we were packed like sardines in one coach that we couldn't get out and missed our stop. In Paris, France I've even had scary encounters with drunk men who start shouting at you while you are waiting at the train station for the Metro to arrive.

In Berlin, I clearly noticed the contrast between the East and West part of that historical city while traveling on their MRT. In Bangkok, the MRT station nearest our hotel didn't have escalators so my poor mother (who was already in her 70s) had a difficult time going up and down the steep stairs. But they are always game and are very enthusiastic in using the MRT. In fact, one of my parents favorite past time was to ride the MRT trains from one terminal to the other terminal in Singapore. By the way, the above picture was taken in Singapore.

This brings me to the MRT here in Manila. I first rode the LRT when it newly opened and our destination was Baclaran. It wasn't a pleasant ride as the coaches were not properly air conditioned. And once you get down, you have to deal with the throngs of people, the heat and the lack of pavement to walk on with the gripping fear of getting sideswiped by buses, cars and the ubiquitous jeepneys. Eventually, we had two cars so there was no point of subjecting myself to the packed like sardines atmosphere of our Mass Rapid Transportation system.

But things do change. When we were still dating, I once suggested we just take the MRT to get to Gateway Complex in Cubao to watch a foreign language film. He was hesitant at first but eventually relented because we were running late. The fun(ny) thing is at the Boni station, there are separate coaches for men and women so we were separated. He knew I had not ridden the MRT in ages so he kept texting each of the stations before we reached Cubao. I found it funny because I felt like a child. But he has and always is protective of me, so there!

Nowadays, whenever I need to visit my parents in Mandaluyong the really convenient way is to take the MRT from the North Station and alight at the Boni Station. But with the increase in taxi fares, I noticed an equal increase in the number of commuters using the MRT. I figure it is still cheaper not to mention a really fast way to reach your destination. But I really wish they would increase the frequency of the trains so the amount of commuters don't build up at the stations.

Last month for my first Friday mass sojourn, the trains were really packed that I had a difficult time getting out of the MRT. I kept pushing people in front of me to move and get out of my way but to no avail. I managed to barely squeeze myself out by clutching dearly to my handbag. My knuckles were so red from the tight grip. D was horrified to see my sweaty, disheveled self panting once I was able to free myself. He insists that is the last time he would let me ride the MRT.

Hmmm well we will see about that! :D

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