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Wednesday, August 27, 2003



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Pawaa resident
resorts to 2-hour
walk to workplace

He says it's nothing compared
to WWII's Bataan death march


It took two hours, but Roberto Lira got to work by his 7:30 a.m. starting time yesterday at the Pacific Wireless plant in Mapunapuna despite the bus strike.

The pager technician planned to repeat the trip today, on foot from his Sheridan Street apartment in Pawaa. His path took him along King Street and Dillingham Boulevard, then under freeway viaducts to Nimitz Highway and his destination at 710 Kakoi St.

"I survived," said Lira, 55, who has taken the bus to work for three years. "I'm not really a walker. This is my first time, so I didn't gauge how long it would take. I have tennis shoes and I'm not walking really fast." He estimated it was an eight- to 10-mile hike.

With a 5 a.m. start, he saw only a few other pedestrians and bike riders and got no ride offers from passing cars.

"The only thing I worried about was walking underneath the bridge," he said. "There were a lot of people sleeping there."

Lira said he passed the time singing -- "mostly Christian songs" -- and made a breakfast stop at the McDonald's restaurant at King and Dillingham.

A co-worker gave him a ride home last night, but he said most people in the office drive from the Ewa area. If the strike continues, "I'll probably get a bike," he said.

"It was not much of a hardship. I am from the Philippines. I just think of the World War II vets who did the death march," said Lira, recalling the Filipino and American prisoners of war who were forced to walk 60 miles through the Bataan peninsula to a Japanese POW camp.



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