The 15 – Minute Prince

Nagkaroon ng problema sa status ng Iqama ang kasama ko at ayaw isyuhan ng Visa sa immigration ng Abu Dhabi Airport. Hinintay ko siya at tinulungan na magexplain sa immigration officer. After 30 minutes of waiting, I left my colleague sa immigration area leaving him the copy of the hotel booking and praying that he makes it. Medyo sinisita na kasi ako ng Airport Police sa pagstay ko sa may immigration to support him. Before I got to the elevator to go down the Taxi Stand, a guy who looks like a Pakistani in casual clothes, approached me and asked me if I want a taxi. Careful not show any hint that I am not yet familiar with the place, at baka masalbahe pa ako, I told him that I will take the taxi from the stand.

He was so persistent, even offered to carry my bag, and told me he drives a taxi and that he can take me wherever I want to go. I told him I will take the taxi from the stand but I have to wait for about 15 minutes because my friend was still inside the airport. He seemed somewhat irritated and even remarked that he can wait for me and my friend. I answered that my friend has to finish his shift. He is an airport policeman and my friend will bring me to his house. The guy left me in a hurry.

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When he was nowhere in sight, lumapit na ako sa dispatcher sa taxi stand. He asked me whether I like the regular metered taxi or the limousine. I asked him what is difference between the two in driving me to Crowne Plaza Yas Island. He replied that only a little difference, the limousine is 60 dirhams, but for “kabayan” I can have it for 50 dirhams. ( I found out later that for the metered taxi, the fare from the airport to the hotel is 45 dirhams. Wagi.)

Wanting to experience how it feels to be a Prince for 15 minutes, I chose the limousine. It was a BMW M5 Limousine, so roomy, cool, comfortable and with a small refrigerator in the middle. The LCD monitor showed a Jackie Chan movie, and the driver was in a clean uniform with a matching cap at that.

He drove smoothly, I can barely feel the turns and humps and the road seemed to be lined with marble tiles, it was really a like a soft breeze in a summer afternoon. At mind you, mabango ang loob ng sasakyan. Walang amoy putok. We got to the hotel when I was starting to really enjoy the ride.

Yes, I felt like a Prince for 15 minutes and appreciated the comfort and luxury of riding in a limousine. Pero ang pakiramdam ko ay parang de numero ang kilos ko. Parang pag me hinawakan ako na anuman sa sasakyan ay magagasgasan ito o masisira. Hindi ako makagalaw ng normal… ng kung ano ako. Naging de susi ako.

Naisip ko rin na ang lakas sa gasolina ng sasakyang iyon. Naisip ko rin ang gastos sa maintenance, ang pasahod sa driver, at iba pang gastos kakambal ng pagkakaroon ng isang limousine, tulad siyempre ng kailangan mamahalin suot mo, kakain ka sa mamahaling restaurant, mamimili sa mamahaling stores, bibili ng mamahaling damit, alahas, atbpa. Subukan mo kayang iparada ang ganitong sasakyan sa Aling Conching Carenderia sa Vito Cruz, sa Bulaluhan sa Dian St, Sinigang Plaza sa Veterans, sa tapat ng Ukay-ukay sa Tagaytay, Lomi King sa Lipa City, o sa Divisoria, sa Central Market, Palengke ng Libertad.

Pinisil ko ang ilong ko.

Back to reality.

I love being myself. I love acting myself. I love the natural me. Simple.

Sayad ang paa sa lupa. Yapak pa.

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“A cottage small is all I’m after, Not one that’s spacious and wide. A house that rings with joy and laughter with the ones you love inside. Some like the high road, I like the low road, Free from the care and strife. Sounds corny and seedy, but yes, indeed, I like the simple life.” – Ella Fitzgerald

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