Cantankerous, tuba-shaped exhaust pipes, hacking harder than Keith Richards on a Sunday morning.

Shiny ghosts made from American metal. Sputtering veterans of a war long gone. Under the hood it’s a thousand nations.

Loud. Tricked out. Painted brighter than a nursery rhyme.

Pumping music from forward-facing bullhorns, strapped on the front like antlers.

There’s a get-out-the-way ambiance … shaped like an ambulance.

I love Jeepneys. On a good day.

On a frustrating, hot, smog-filled Tuesday … when the mercury’s climbed high enough to peak under God’s own skirt … they always seem to aim straight for me.

I’m just trying to cross the road, Jeepneys. I’m the chicken. You’re an endless stream of bad puns.

I love them.

I hate them.

I stood against a dirty, concrete freeway balustrade and photographed them … these vehicular souvenirs of someone else’s revolution. Paint covers the dirt and rust. Graffiti fonts tell you where they’ve been and where they are going.

They are delightful, metallic reminders that you’re inside the beating heart of the tropics. Here, the rules are melting … even though steel and concrete loom, ever unyielding, in every damn direction.

You can’t trust a government that would consider Jeepneys safe. But you sure can smile at the colorful absurdity. Even while it’s blinding you in Tuesday’s nuclear sunlight.

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Jenny Adams is a freelance travel writer, author and photographer. She currently contributes to a number of publications, including National Geographic Traveler, Hemispheres, American Way and Imbibe. She's the former Bar Columnist for the Miami Herald, the current Copy Editor at Robb Vices and is also wrestling a half-written novel, set in New Orleans. Jenny's got an knack for getting lost, an addiction to full-fat cream cheese, and a deep and abiding love for every Water Buffalo she's ever seen. Her bookshelf is mainly Tom Robbins, her favorite word is 'visceral,' and you can find out more about her at

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