Stranded!

Last  Saturday evening, my husband received an SMS message from her niece telling him that it was her son’s baptism-con-birthday the following day. She only learned of our new number that day so she was unable to inform us ahead of time.

The next morning, we went to MOA to buy some books and school supplies and, of course, gift for the birthday boy. I already have in mind what things I am going to buy and where to get them so I know shopping will not take us more than an hour. However, the clerk at the gift-wrapping service at Toy Kingdom was sooooo slow it took him half an hour to wrap one simple box. Yes, it may be large but it should not take him that long! I should know because I have wrapped a gift that big before and it only took me 10 minutes!

It was already 12PM when we went out of MOA. It was raining when we hit the road. But it got harder when reached Manila area. We even need to make a U-turn when we got to A. Bonifacio Avenue just near the North Cemetery gate. Water is all over the road and it is flowing like river. Retreat! We looked for another route going to North Luzon Expressway (NLEx). We took Espana Blvd., then straight to Quezon Avenue. Though there was water along Araneta Ave., cars can pass through it. From Quezon Ave. we made a turn going to West Ave. hitting EDSA then NLEX. Reaching the Valenzuela area, rain almost stopped, and not even a drop when we reached Bulacan. That was 2:30PM. A should-be hour drive took us 2.5 hours due to the rain!

Though there was drizzle in Bulacan, it was not even enough to get you wet so we forgot all about the rain in Manila as we enjoy the chats with relatives we have not seen for quite some time now. We saw the kids were also enjoying the party so we have to wait for them to tell us when to go home; otherwise, they will be cranky inside the car.

We left Bulacan before 5PM. Before reaching Tabang exit, I asked my husband to stop at one of the plant and garden shops. I want to see if they have the herbs I am planning to buy in Tagaytay. Unfortunately, they don’t have herbs. They only sell ornamental plants which I am not really interested with. I just purchased 2 small trees of calamansi for 50 pesos each, and a pot where I will plant the calamansi.

By 5:30PM, we are almost at the Malinta exit when we observed the temperature gauge going up. Car overheated just in time we reached the emergency bay. We wondered why because we added water when we gassed up, and it was also raining so who would expect the car to heat up? Just the same, we waited for the engine to cool down while waiting for the traffic to go lighter and the rain to stop. But as we waited, rain became harder and traffic became heavier. It took half an hour for the truck beside us to move forward for only a few meters! Whoa! I couldn’ t believe it. After adding water on radiator and seeing that cars are moving slowly, we decided to go on with the trip home as it was getting late as well. Unfortunately, we were only able to move about a hundred meters because we see that car temperature is going up again. So we have to stop by the shoulder on the road. We saw a wide shoulder area where other cars are parked. This is where we got stuck for almost the entire evening. The advantageous part was the other drivers and travelers who also parked beside us were friendly and helpful. It was through one of the drivers who checked the fan belt making us realize that it was broken. I felt the Filipino “Bayanihan” spirit alive once again. We had a temporary fix hoping that we could go out of the expressway, at the least.

Around 11:30PM, traffic started to lighten up. We started to drive home again. As soon as we passed by Balintawak tollgate, the car heated up again. This time, battery also got discharged. The tollgate personnel were courteous at first. They pushed the car to the side of the road, asked us what the problem was but they NEVER offered help aside from calling the towing service. We knew it! One of them even had the nerve to turn his back on us while we were still talking to him! Bitch! We told them we will try to fix it first but they were insistent and arrogant! I felt my blood rushed through my head. I tried to keep my cool though.

At exactly 1AM, the towing service arrived and pulled the car to the nearest-and-only-opened repair shop at that time. The towing service personnel were truly helpful and courteous. They referred us a repair shop so we do not have to wait until the morning to get the car running. They even pushed the car inside the repair shop so that it will be parked properly. Applause to them! The mechanic and his wife were also friendly. They even offered their place for the kids to have a comfortable sleep.Good thing he has a replacement part available, the car was fixed in two hours. We arrived home at exactly 5AM. Whew! What an exhausting evening!

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