"Forget Prince Charming. I'll take the wolf." - Emily the Strange

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Visitor from London

For some strange reason, I was antsy about opening the Trillian program in my computer Tuesday two weeks ago. I soon found out why because as soon as I logged in, Ian’s messages when I was offline popped out one after another in rapid succession. I was able to read immediately the last message and this is what it said:

“I’ll be in Manila on Thursday.”

I couldn’t think straight for a couple of minutes and all I managed to conjure up in my head was…

“Holy cow!”

My mind started to wander aimlessly at what that 6-word sentence implied. It was jumping from one idea to another at the speed of light that I couldn’t keep track of all the crazy imprints that were in my head at that time. Ian. Manila. Here? Can’t be. Bollocks.

I didn’t know what else to say because I was caught off guard. I knew that he has plans to be in Manila but I certainly didn’t expect it to be so soon. I really didn’t see that coming. Ian knows a lot about Filipinos but I wasn’t sure if he knew anything about the country and getting around the metro so I gave him my office landline and my mobile number. I also gave him the additional instruction to contact me if he needs anything.

The next day, I got a text message from Ian. There was a mix up with the dates he provided me but that he would be in the county by Sunday. I was a bit concerned about him since this is the first time he’ll go outside of the United Kingdom and I certainly hope that nothing untoward or unpleasant would happen to him while in Manila. It’s not a good impression to make for a self-confessed Filipino-phile Ian.

Saturday morning came and I found myself in the office waiting for my meeting with my boss and a couple of colleagues to start. I passed the time by calling up different hotels and travelers inns to check their rates. I’m happy to have found a couple of places that would fit Ian’s budget.

Around 4 pm, I got a text message from Ian telling me that he’s already in the airport. I noticed on my laptop that my e-mail regarding the places I got quotations from bounced back. It looks like there’s a problem with his e-mail address. I immediately replied by saying “Gute Reise,” the name of the hotel and instructions on how to get there. I followed it up with a warning to always make sure that cab drivers turn on the meter every time he would get into a cab.

The whole day Sunday, I constantly browsed my phone just to check if he sent me a text message from Ian but none came. Monday morning, I finally got word from Ian. He’s staying over at Citadel Inn and that the flight was okay. I was still on my way to the office when I got his message so I told him that I would just call him when I got to where I was going.

When I finally got to talk to him on the phone, my fears were allayed when I found out that he has friends who picked him up from the airport. It feels weird to be talking to him. The fact that this guy is really in Manila still hasn’t sunk to my head still. It might take a couple of days or probably when I finally get to see him face-to-face.

Ian and I had plans to meet Monday night but my schedule didn’t permit it. I took a leave from work Wednesday and we rendezvoused at Glorietta. He was accompanied by his friend Diane and I’m happy that somebody’s taking care of him and his needs. Diane still had a meeting to go to so she left Ian in my care. Being the geek that I am, the first thing we did was to go to a museum – the Ayala museum to be exact then went around the entire Greenbelt area.

We stopped by Starbucks to recharge our batteries and a chat. I was happy to be there with him but it was utterly embarrassing when he was able to pick up on my uneasiness. It’s not him – Ian’s barely legal and he looks young with his light brown hair and his hazel eyes. It was the people the people surrounding us.

I can tell by the way they look at us what they were thinking. I guess it can’t be helped since this is, after all, a third world country. My defense mechanism kicked in and I talk louder than usual, letting people hear my thick American accent. As if that’ll do anything to change people’s perception. Ian and I did poke fun at the situation and took it one step further by playing an informal game of ‘Spot the Thaifrau*.’ He finds it incredibly ridiculous to find a silver-haired Caucasian male to be around Pinays who seem to still be in their training bras.

After some time, we got up, left the mall area and became urban adventurers by going around the CBD’s (Central Business District) general vicinity by foot. It was still pretty early (around 5) so I suggested to him that we could go to Baywalk since it’s not really far from where we were. He agreed and off we went to Roxas Boulevard. We were lucky that the traffic wasn’t really heavy and we were able to get to Baywalk in time for the sunset. I’ve seen this view thousands of times already and yet I am still amazed at how breath taking it could be. I could just imagine how intense it must’ve been for the neophyte Manila visitor who was standing beside me.

We stayed in that area until shortly past 6 before we proceeded to go back to Ian’s hotel to pick up his laundry. After Ian took a quick shower, we went to the bar over at Burgundy Corporate Center to meet his friends for a drink. They’re a really lively bunch – Diane, the multitasker; Nains, the perpetually preoccupied one and Ian (pronounced as schwa-y-schwa-) the working student with the seemingly boundless energy. I really clicked with them that as a result, even after we’ve all gone home we still communicate with each other. The main topic of conversation for the time being though was where to take Ian the Brit :)


Anonymous Miguk said...

I go out sometimes with my 20 something daughter and I get the same looks - pinoys are irritating sometimes.

7:45 PM

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