Friday, 19 October 2007

My Mustang Tryke

Isn't she a beauty?

I've always wanted a purple and yellow, monogrammed, three-wheeled Mustang!

Regrettably (or thankfully) it isn't mine.

Of course I realize some of you are wondering just what the heck it is, aren't you?

Well, tricycles are really nothing more than motorcycles with sidecars. Semi-enclosed sidecars. Often the motorcycle will also have a windscreen and roof as well to protect the driver.

These are cheap modes of transportation all throughout the Philippines that traverse the lesser roads. You won't find them anywhere in the central business district of Makati, but just a block away they'll be shuttling passengers to homes, restaurants, cemeteries, and small businesses.

The tricycles are used for short-distance trips. Trips that would be too expensive by cab if a cab driver would even accept the fare. (Yes, it is quite commonplace for cab drivers to refuse passengers because they don't like going to a certain place, or they don't feel they'll make enough money off the fare because the destination is too far or not far enough. And on Fridays a passenger can expect to pay an extra 50% or more here in Makati...especially if you are, or are with, a foreigner.)

You wouldn't want to be in a tricycle for too long a trip, anyway. There are no shock absorbers. They shake, rattle and roll you all about. If there are two of you in the sidecar (and I've seen more) it is awfully cramped. There isn't a lot of headroom, either (so the top of my head knows). As there are no sides, they are well ventilated. That also means you have the buzz of the motor on your left side and the plumes of exhausts of traffic on your right. Emerging from one is something of a birth experience. I've watched as tall people have extracted themselves from the sidecars in a way that is reminiscent of watching one of the Transformers go from a truck to a robot.

It is a sensory experience!

Of course, outside Makati and metro Manila one can see tricycles carry much more and much farther. I've seen as many as five passengers clinging to one. They are often seen transporting (not transforming) loads of mattresses, lumber, or rice; the sound of the motor straining I think I can, I think I can, I think I can... even on flat land.

Maybe I should buy this one and bring it back to the US and start a business?

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