Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Days 82 to 84 of 90: Tales from the 408

Once upon a time in the Philippines, I used to tinker with sites like Google Maps and Mapquest. They were totally useless for me, of course. But since moving back to the US as an adult, they are indispensable if you do not have GPS in your car. Since I don't happen to have an extra $ 400 laying around to buy one, I use GPS ("Gamit Papel Sulat" or Use Pen and Paper).

All it takes is one click to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B.

But the one thing these sites don't take into account, is the road construction detours. (Newer model GPS devices do give up to date traffic and road information.) I've gotten more confident finding my way around Orlando, and driving on the highways at 60 mph, so today I had no doubts I would know how to get to a job interview after taking down the directions.

(The Toll Plazas are different from the Philippines because they allow you to throw coins into a basin that magically knows exactly how much you've paid! And then there's the E-Pass-like device. You simply stay on the expressway without having to slow down! Then there's the old-fashioned teller. They actually anticipate the amount you're going to pay and already have change in hand! Well, sort of. I handed over a dollar to cover the $ .75 fare and the attendant simultaneously handed me my change of $ .25 (or a quarter).

And motorists stay in their lanes! Even when turning, or merging, or veering, people stay in their lanes. The lines on the roads actually follow every curve, turn and bend in the road. Having driven in Manila for nineteen years, I'm un-learning bad driving habits.)

So there I was today on the 408 (kind of like the South Super Expressway in the Philippines), when my exit was hidden behind massive concrete construction material. I didn't even know it was my exit until two stops later when I saw I was approaching Exit 16. Exit 14 was where I was supposed to go!

I panicked and got off the highway immediately and found a gas station to ask how to find my way back. A nice Indian man gave me directions and off I went. I made it to my interview and screening with twenty minutes to spare.

It feels good figuring out how to get around my new city. I'll be ready for when people come to visit us. (Insert coughing sounds)

As for the interview, it was with a staffing agency. I'm hoping they find me work soon. After all, one needs money to drive and take said visitors around.

I'm hoping that by then I will know not just the 408, but the I-4, the 526, the 409...

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