Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Olgatraz, Pigsties and Lotto

Whoever said that strong fences make good neighbors forgot to add “noise-proof” and “smell-proof” fences.

When my husband and I planned building our home, we agreed not to build in subdivisions or in those so-called “gated/guarded communities”. I envisioned a place where the houses are far apart and where I didn’t have to see any neighbor if I didn’t want to. I didn’t want my world to be confined within a narrow two-lane street where the farthest point I could see is my next-door neighbor’s gate, or be close enough to hear my neighbor’s every snore, or know at every instance what their meal’s going to be from the odors permeating from their kitchen to mine.

Ever heard of the warning: be careful of what you wish for? Oh boy! Did I get exactly what I wanted – and more! We found the perfect place (?) where the lands were still owned by its original owners or their heirs, and where we could still see wide expanses of undeveloped land almost evocative of rural living. It didn’t occur to us that people in this setting still live the rural way … like raise pigs, for instance?

But that’s getting ahead with the story. Let me start with the terrific duo: our friendly neighborhood shabu dealer and his brother, our friendly neighborhood thief. Thanks to these two (and their similarly-feathered friends), the barbed wires around our home can humble the city jail set up anytime! These two have since then been shipped to Bilibid Prison but not before my home got nicknamed “Olgatraz”. I bet I could make “Olgatraz, Dumaguete City” my address and every mail will still find its way to me!

I barely got settled in to the peace and quiet before another family moved in. I now wake up to the off-key singing of a videoke performer-wannabe belting out ballads for my exclusive torture, or to a blaring morning radio program, or to hard pounding music, depending on their fancy. But sometimes, I get lucky and wake up only to the wondrous sound of their squealing pigs!

Then I retire in the evenings to the nauseating smell from their pigsty, delivered directly into our windows by even the gentlest of breeze! And in between those … heart pounding moments as FIRECRACKERS! - the kind people use in the New Year - startle everyone with sudden explosive bangs at any time day or night!

The firecrackers take only seconds to break the silence, but the raucous they create when our dogs start a barking frenzy takes a good ten to fifteen minutes to end! Sometimes, it happens while I’m in the middle of my nap! Wouldn’t this make you want to wring somebody’s neck?

I’ve tried to be nice and civil through all these. I’ve visited them twice: first, to politely request that they clean their sty regularly, and second, to inform them that we could barely hear each other talk from all the singing that’s coming from their side! It took me supreme effort not to say exactly what I had in mind!

Am I regretting our choice of neighborhood then? It is rather too late to dwell on that at this point. All I can do now is dream of buying that lot just to rid us of these annoyances. Of course, that could only happen if we’d win the lotto so I’d better start betting now.

So, if you should see me queuing up near Bian Yek, you’ll know why.


Pau said...

Oh my God Olga! i feel for you! I once lived in apartment where the neighborhood is a videoke freak!!! i would wake up to the tune of "delilah" or "ang halik mo". Isn't it a pest, ugh! it's nice to wake up NATURALLY. it's one of the reasons why i moved out.

Hang in there!!!!


Olga said...

Hi pau!

barely hanging on! know of any winning lotto combination?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Olga for your well written articles every week ,I really look forward to see what you will write about next, I sympathise about the noise and upset having bad neighbours as I moved from Daro even though we all loved our house there , we had neighbours drinking and playing music (if you can call it Music) up to 3 o'clock in the morning only ten feet away from my children's bed room I got up and spoke to them a number of times and explained that the children had to get up at 5-30 am, but all I would get is verbal abuse they even threw a large rock onto my roof after I spoke very nice to them, I called the police at 3-30 in the morning but the police just laughed and joked with them and the noise continued long after, we also had 9 dogs in the house across the road all walking the road all night fighting and barking at ever thing that moved, you know you cannot reason with these kind of people, they say they are Christians but the bible says love thy neighbour !! maybe they never read that I was also robbed 3 times, they would even take the clothes of the line another time they took my gas bottle and even the slippers by the door that cost a few peso;s only. ac cross the road we had a huge bodega with as many as ten trucks at 4 30 am reving their engines and sounding their horns, yes Olga I can understand how you must feel and i hope things will improve for you soon, in the meantime keep on writing you interesting items, I am british married to a filipina and adopted her five children after her husband died, 4 boys and a girl the Aged 22, 19,15, 12 and the only girl who is 8, ok bye bye bye, David