Friday, September 19, 2008

Braving Pinas Again

I spent most of the day out. Looking around, Pinas doesn't look any different. Much.

Except that the minimum jeepney fare is Php8.50 and an FX ride from Pasig to Megamall or vice versa is Php 23.00. MRT rates, I believe, did not change. Text messages are still worth Php 1.oo for every message sent locally.

I was heading to Pasong Tamo extension. You cannot find it in the map these days because Pasong Tamo is presently called, "Chino Roces." I learned that the hard way years ago. I was standing somewhere along Chino Roces holding an old map which says I was in Pasong Tamo. The street sign beside me was screaming, "Chino Roces." Confusing. I thought I was lost when I really wasn't.

This time, I had a hunch where I was supposed to be. Where Pasong Tamo Extension is. But I had to ask manong guard, whose uniform I missed (Wala noon sa SG!) , where Pasong Tamo extension was.

He was so sure of the directions he gave me. As it turned out, he pointed me to the opposite way. Serves me right for not trusting my gut feel! With my shoes from hell, I retraced the path I took plus covered extra blocks to reach my destination. Although I am in no position to complain, can I just say I hate people who give the wrong directions. I'd accept, "I don't know" any time. Just don't lead me the wrong way.

I hit the 10 AM mark. Had a chitchat with a doctor. It was no consult. Some sort of official. Somehow I mentioned, I am maintaining a blog. He asked for the URL, typed it on his PC, and browsed on my site while I stared at him helplessly.

He clicked a rather personal entry. One of those rant pieces where I was speaking partly in gay language. "That article is really informal. I am embarrassed now." I said. The doctor said he'd check it out again when I'm gone. Then he closed his web browser window. Nyaha! The earth did not swallow me alive. Too bad.

First order of business after the previous episode is to get a cheese burger from Jollibee. Cheese burger meal was a bit anti-climactic. I missed the inviting aroma of a Jollibee TLC cheese burger, but not the taste. The anticipation was hardly rewarded.

But I did get and give hugs to my berks who went out of their way to welcome me back. Even before I bought my return ticket and boarded my plane, I was already asking for a group hug. Believe it or not, I need that from time to time. Actually, I thrive on hugs. I am a closet hugger. I may seem to repel human contact most of the time, but hugs work for me.

Later, Goy joined us. She, just like me, has just come back from her island. As we immersed ourselves in stories about our past adventures, a portion of the Glorietta Activity center morphed into LB's Hum steps. It was comforting. To be sitting on the steps and be devoid of poise. To be in the company of people who get my quirks, who bask in my high's and low's with a hearty ha-ha.

Got my first Starbucks grande choco chip frappe after more than 3 months. I am not necessarily a Starbucks fan. I just wanted to celebrate the power of my Peso. I couldn't very well afford a decent frappe in SG. In Pinas, I can, even without a job.

The day had to end. I jammed myself inside the MRT along with half of Metro Manila's female population. Good thing Pinoys don't stink as badly as others. Or am I just so used to the Pinoy stench?

The sun had already set when I got to the jeepney terminal. It was raining. The queue was a curse. The starters were barking at each other, as if a rumble will ensue any moment. The bleesed jeepney came. People fend for themselves, to take shelter in the dry jeeney seats. The man in charge collected our fare and made some funny remarks.

A few minutes later, I alighted my ride. Then I looked to my left before crossing the street. Walked a few meters before a kid-neighbor noticed me and asked where I had been. All the while, I thought I was invisible in this neighborhood.

Knocked at our door. "Wala kaming yelo," my brother said before letting me in.

I am definitely home.

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