It was raining. We went to Trinoma to grab some coffee and ended up in good ol’ Starbucks in SM North Edsa’s sky garden, but since I am not a coffee person, I had my usual order of soy green tea latte. I’m a forever fan of green tea, and even though Starbucks tea lattes don’t offer the best tasting drink, I settled for that.
My friend and I chatted for an hour or so, mostly about London 2012 Olympics. Then it started to rain. We were seated under the shade of one of the shop’s parasols outside, and the big umbrella didn’t protect us much from the onslaught caused by the weather.
It was raining. We finished our drink then raced to the nearest mall entrance. Oops, it’s already dinner time! Upon entering SM, we found ourselves in our forever dilemma of choosing what restaurants to dine in. “Shall we try Persian, Portuguese, or Greek cuisine today?” I helpfully inquired. We ended up in Burgoo, and had our orders of ultimate fajitas – trio of char-grilled chicken, steak, prawns, with buttered potato wedges, mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers; with tortilla wrappers and sour cream, grated cheese, and salsa. Then I wasn’t sure if we made the right choice, but we had complemented our meal with tequila sunrise and Hawaiian punch.
The meal was bland. I don’t know if it’s only me, but I think it should taste a little hot. I’m no expert in Tex-Mex food, but I feel a bit bored with fajitas swimming in oil. The tortilla wrappers were also a bit difficult to chew, and the dressings were unflavored for me. I got really disappointed when I tried the sour cream – it tasted like yogurt. Ugh. After paying the bill, my friend and I went out of the restaurant and strolled in the mall.
It was raining. We came across Nature Republic – one of Korea’s cosmetic brands that have been widely accepted in the international market. For those who love Korean dramas, movies, and kpop, Nature Republic is one sweet haven.
Modeled by popular actor/model Jang Geun Suk (장근석), the beauty brand gained instant customers from those who are in the I-love-everything-Korean wave. The marketing helped the company, which prides itself with its tagline “From Earth” and uses only the most natural ingredients; boost its recognition in the Philippine marketplace.
I saw a life-size board Jang Geun Suk at the entrance of the shop. Oh my. Scenes from 사랑비 (Love Rain) flooded my brain. Oh. We went inside and after a few minutes, I found myself in possession with new facial creams and lip products. Haha! The goods were not that big, but the cashier put them in a medium-sized shopping bag.
Then it was time to go home. Time check: 9:01 PM. We bid our goodbyes and I went to the direction of the train station.
It was raining. Hugging my backpack and paper bag, I raced to the ticket booth. There were few people in the platform so I didn’t have to fight for my seat when the train arrived. Soon it was EDSA Station and I have to go out. At first, I thought t’was brownout because it was pitch-dark. But that couldn’t be possible; how can the train function? I walked carefully towards the train ticket verification machines, but there was a commotion. The machines didn’t work! After a few minutes (and curses from others), lights flooded the area and the equipment started working. “Yey! Finally,” I rejoiced. Little did I know that my joy would be short-lived.
It was raining. Descending the stairs, I already saw what made the people in the station stopped in their tracks. Flood occupied both lanes of EDSA, around mid-calf deep. Hell. There were jeepneys available, but one must cross the street and expose himself with all sorts of bacteria found in those waters. Argh. Tricycles were also being offered, but drivers advise passengers to raise their legs throughout the drive so the water won’t reach them. What the hell. Luckily (or unluckily?), a taxi passed in front of where I stood, and I was about to open the passenger door when two foreign-looking individuals stole my chance and talked with the driver. Seeing that I looked like a wet chick fresh from my shell, the driver asked them to ride together with me if my destination will be on the same way. I was glad with the proposition; they were not. However, when they tried to haggle for the fare, (yes, in times like this, metered taxi just won’t work here in Philippines) they found it expensive so they decided to include me in the ride to cut the cost.
My first plan was to get off in front of Heritage Hotel where the terminal for Sucat-bound jeepneys was located. However, it was also flooded. Drat. Assessing the situation, and found the odds against me, I asked the driver to drop me off in Mall of Asia FX terminal.
It was raining. I thanked the driver for his kindness then ran to search for the AUVs bound to my place. One of the barkers helped me with the location (I am directionally challenged, he he), and I found a long line of people waiting. But where are the vehicles? It dawned on me that we have to wait for FXs which might be already stranded on their way to us. Oh dear, how unlucky! Thankfully, I recovered quickly with my sudden depression for lack of public transpo; I know it wouldn’t help change the situation.
There I stood in line – me with my blue backpack, absurdly big shopping bag, cropped pants wet in the knees, and disheveled hair. Yeah, neat. I sat in a stone bench, brought out my phone, and sent text messages to people concerned for my current dilemma. Tink, Tink. My phone vibrated, along with a low-battery notification. Great! My other battery was already dead, and so would this one. “Ah jinjja! (Oh, really!)”, I muttered to myself.
It was raining. I thought it couldn’t be possible, but the rain became stronger. Talk about an inclement weather, tsk tsk. Thinking that I must save my battery, I found another way to entertain myself in the unentertaining situation I was in. Grabbing the green grape foam cleanser from the paper bag, I started reading the product information in Korean. I swear I didn’t read it aloud, but I felt someone looking over my shoulder. Yeah, yeah, perhaps I looked crazy at that time.
Beside me, a man in a black shirt with yellow blizzard (yes, seriously that’s the design) logo, dark skinny pants, and black bag was looking as bored as his seatmate. Well, at this moment I’d like to contradict what I just wrote, but I felt far from bored at that time. Bordering crazy, perhaps. Haha! Anyway, please don’t get me wrong, my readers. I wasn’t checking him out. Really, not at all! I was, still am, only a keen observer with poor eyesight.
And so this man. Until now, I couldn’t fathom his reason why he always glanced my way whenever I used my phone. Either he liked my pink rilakkuma case, or he judged me insane as I usually muttered unintelligible words. I tried to ignore him, but he was so near me. He grabbed a book from his bag and started to read. I tried to read the book title using my peripheral vision, but I couldn’t. It was a black, hardbound book. Hmm, this man is dark.
After 45 minutes, one FX arrived (yeah, rejoice!), but since there were many people ahead of me in line, I wasn’t accommodated. Then a barker appeared and announced that there will be no more vehicles to come as that was the last trip. No! I screamed inside my head (yeah, dramatic I know). I remained seated for two to three minutes, planning. What will I ride? Are there any alternative routes to take? As I was contemplating my problem, Mr. MIB (man in black) was voicing my thoughts and asking the barker about it.
“Try nyo dun sa kabilang terminal. (You can try in the other terminal)”, the barker answered him.
Filled with hope, I stood up and gathered my things. To go to the other terminal, I had to walk to the other side of the mall. Leaving the comfort of the shady terminal, I started my way to the other side.
It was raining. I knew that I would get wet because I didn’t have an umbrella, but I didn’t run. I walked slowly. There’s something comforting with the sound of rain hitting the ground continuously. I hugged my backpack tighter and continued walking.
Suddenly, the rain stopped. I didn’t feel the rain dropping to my body. “Oh, does rain also have mood swings?” I funnily thought.
That’s when I looked up.
It was still raining. But I wasn’t wet. Because someone was holding out an umbrella for me.
*to be continued…