Touchdown ang flight ko from Dammam to Jeddah ng 6:35PM and we were inside the boarding are at 6:55PM frantically looking for the gate where we will go to board the 7:15PM flight to Yanbu. Together with about 12 other passengers, we went to Gate 1, but was told that it was not the boarding gate for us. We tried the next gate, but then again we were told it was not gate for Yanbu flight. We were at the last gate when we were told by some airport officer there to wait for the announcement. I looked at the schedule on the screen, and it read Yanbu – 7:15 PM – On Time but no mention of Gate number.
Again, I went from gate 1 to 6, but the same response.. swey swey and wait for announcement. So, naupo na lang ako and the other passengers also just waited for the announcement. 8PM na wala pang announcement, so I decided to go to the control desk downstairs to ask. Sabi sa akin ay nakalipad na, even mentioning that how come I did not notice and I did not look for the gate when I knew that 7:15PM ang flight ko. Di na ako nakipagtalo. Nagtanong na lang ako ng next flight. Sagot ay 7:30 AM pa raw, that means mga 9:30AM ako makarating sa venue ng seminar namin. So out of my options na ang next flight.
I went out to rent a car. Out din ang paghire ng taxi. Una, doble ang gastos. Ikalawa, baka mamaya habang daan e makatulog ako at magising na nasa disyerto na ako at hinuhubuan na ng taragis na driver. I got a 2012 Hyundai Elantra Automatic and paid the deposit. After going out of the airport, I was thinking how incompetent people of other nationalities dito sa bansang ito when it comes to service. Talamak ang katamaran at walang pakialam kung ang kanilang mga pasahero o customer ay nahihirapan o naiinconvenient. I drove to a gas station, nagkataong salah, so mga 15 minutes pa ang aking ipaghihintay.
Sa paghihintay ko, naisip ko na sa pagmamadali ko na makakuha ng sasakyan at makaalis agad papuntang Yanbu, I forgot to pray na dati kong ginagawa bago umalis. So, while sitting inside the car, I prayed and somehow humupa ang medyo pagkainis ko. After makargahan ng gasolina, doon nagsimula kong maappreciate ang mga nangyayari, kahit na sabihin mong negative ito. Nagulat ako dahil full tank sabi ko, pero 5 riyals (P 55.00) lang ang binayaran ko. Iyon pala halos puno pa ang tangke ng sasakyan. E normally, ang mga rent a car ay almost empty pag naturn over sa iyo.Then, I drove to the nearby Boofia (Cafeteria), ordered Falafel sandwich, this is balled mongo or chick pea, deep fried at nakapalaman sa tinapay at umorder din ako ng chaii (milk tea). And this falafel sandwich is different from the other falafels i have taken. Ang dami niyang sahog.. green vege, pickles, olives, mashed talong, tomato, french fries, halwa, hummos, carrots and okra. The best so far.
After the check point, it is now dark highway. Kinapa ko sa bag ko ang aking USB Flash Drive. I have 3 for songs, for 70s-80s, classic FRC and instrumental. Since madilim, basta kumuha ako ng isa, isinaksak ko sa car stereo at whoaahhh! pampagising ang bumanat… Highway Star ng Deep Purple. Now, enjoy ko na ang driving at 10PM at I started naming the places na dinadaanan ko. Last na nagdrive ako from Jeddah was in Februay, 2008.. ang laki na nag pinagbago, kahit na madilim ang daan.
After Petro Rabigh, I changed the USB, and with the song “Tangled up in Blue” by Bob Dylan, I continued driving while humming the songs at it shuffled on the car stereo.
I arrived in Yanbu singing with David Gates.. my lifetime favorite.. “If”…
God is really good. He guided me. I felt so safe.
My seminar the following day started on time.
“I won’t say that I’ll be back again. ‘Cause time alone will tell. So no good-byes for one just passing through. But one who’ll always think of you.” – Art Garfunkel