(In which I let you in a page in my diary.)
Three days ago, I and BF gave her student, Ricky, a “guided” tour around Manila. Little did he know that we’re actually aliens in our own capital – we don’t go out to travel! When in Intramuros, he kept on asking if we’ve been there, probably surprised to see us enjoying the place as if we’re no different from the American tourists around. We went from the Walled City to Rizal Park in search for The Orchidarium. We walked in the park (was it Orosa Street or Finance Drive? See? I’m an alien in my own country! How embarrassing!) and found out that we were walking the wrong direction (as if one embarrassment wasn’t enough).
Walking was made more terrible by the heat. It seems like summer is here to stay. So we decided to drop by the Chinese Garden for shade. Ricky thought that it was better than Intramuros. I did, too. But it’s not because the Chinese Garden is greener or shadier. It’s because the entrance fee is seventy-peso cheaper!
We continued our journey to The Orchidarium and passed by the Japanese Garden. No, we didn’t enter. Instead, he asked why there wasn’t any Korean Garden.
We finally reached The Orchidarium only to find out that it was under renovation. So we headed to the Mall of Asia on our empty stomachs regardless if we’re just twenty strides always from a Vegan restaurant. Anyway, I don’t entertain my vegetarian side when I’m starving.
After walking the incredibly spacious mall, we went to Star City to check out Snow World. Oh, isn’t it wonderful to be embraced by an icy air after the summer heat has tormented you? But when we arrived there, we’ve got the most surprising poster of the day saying that Snow World will be closed until August. But we chose to enter anyway. Besides, roaming around that theme park though missing the only attraction we looked forward to was more interesting than sulk on the way home and miss the chance of getting into the next best thing to Enchanted Kingdom.
The trip wasn’t very cool, literally and figuratively. We marched and were barbecued, were victimized by taxi meters which malfunctioned and were deprecated by a fellow Filipino (a taxi driver) by thinking that we were Ricky’s escort girls. (That’s long enough to deserve a separate post.) But the most memorable thing about this Manila tour took place at the Mall of Asia.
We were sitting in a coffee shop after we had lunch. Ricky asked me if I’d like something to drink. I declined the offer. So he and BF had hot chocolate and coffee, respectively. We talked about his business plans and his wife. Then out of the blue he asked a question totally irrelevant to his business plans and his wife.
“So, whose house is bigger?” he asked while doing eeny meeny mini mo.
“Her [BF’s] house is bigger.” I was quick with my reply.
“I’ve never been to her house,” BF responded.
“Oh, really?” he asked, his wide eyes on me.
“Well, yeah. I’m not really comfortable inviting people over.” Then I regretted not ordering anything. It would be great to have a cool drink while someone is scrutinizing you. (Don’t worry. I won’t waste the beverage on his pores.)
I understood his surprise after hearing that I’ve never invited my best friend to my house. However, whatever my reason/s is/are, that’s none of his business. What I didn’t understand was the need to ask the kind of question we normally ask students during a lesson on opposites, adjectives and pronouns. I’ve heard of ranking businessmen and/or politicians by their net worth. But measuring ordinary people in terms of lot and floor area? That’s downright impolite!
Okay. Perhaps he’s already classified me as a social climbing lower-middle class or an heiress trying to keep a low profile and he just needed a confirmation to be able to sleep that night. I wonder if it will satisfy him if I told him that I live in a provincial compound notorious for thieves and prostitutes. That my complicated family owns a renovated two-story wooden house which was originally inhabited by termites. That we just stuff the old couch with foam to prevent the wooden foundation from becoming palpable. That the wooden post in the toilet was too old it looks like a stalactite formation. That flying cockroaches (Students said Korean cockroaches were small and wingless) and rats as big as cats roam around the first floor at night. That the wooden floorboards in the second floor give out dusts that make the house dirty no matter how often we clean. That my wooden bed creaks and that I sleep without a mattress. That the mold-infested ceiling of my bedroom already has a creepy image on it. And that all those were reasons enough to scare visitors away and thus the same reasons why I don’t invite my best friend as well as other friends who live in subdivisions over. Oh, you wouldn’t want me to enumerate everything!
I was glad he stopped the impolite interrogation there. I was actually thinking that he would ask who has bigger money in the bank but I’ve already decided that I would tell him I don’t even have a bank account. Then I’d ask him who uses bigger condoms – he or his best friend.