Monday, August 14, 2017

Sans Antonio, not sans love

San Antonio, Texas.

shut the alarm at 5:30 am and went back to sleep again, getting late for day one of the conference. When I finally left the hotel at 7:30 am, I looked like a mess, feeling as if a train rode over me. I had to attend an award ceremony and looked like I was going to be late for my own ceremony. It was a bad start to an important day.

However, my 64-year-old Uber driver showed up looking like a total diva. She wore a cute flower hat and had other floral hats and decorative paraphernalia in the car. There was a carnival going on and she was returning to work after a night of revelry. When I complimented her about how cute she looked, she even got off the car and posed for me before writing me her number, in case I needed a cab again. A true diva she is. I named my Uber driver the flower lady. She had brightened my morning on my first day in San Antonio.

Some of you also know about my love for biryani. Whenever I visit a new city, the first thing I Google is [name of the city + good biryani]. I did find one restaurant with good reviews, but the trip involved three bus changes and an hour and half of a ride one-way. It was 15 miles away. So I let go. Looks like I was not going to have my biryani in San Antonio.

But then, I was texting the flower lady's pictures to her, since she had scribbled her number, in case I needed a ride again. That is when I had an impulsive idea. I did not want to eat my biryani alone. I asked if she likes Indian food and she said she had never eaten Indian food before. So I asked if she would like to join me for a meal, and she readily agreed, much to my surprise (we are complete strangers, we only know each other's names). She even asked me if I would wear a dress or trousers. When I said that I did not bring a dress since this is a conference, she said that she will also wear trousers, like me.

"Why?" I asked.

"It's a girls' outing. I love to wear dresses for an outing, but I want to wear what you will wear."

I found her adorable.

So we met up on one of my freer afternoons. She picked me from my Airbnb and gave me a flowery headband that she had handmade for me. We went to the restaurant, I had my biryani (it was quite good) and packed some back, she had her first Indian food, we chatted for many hours, and she dropped me back home. We even wore our flowery headbands at the restaurant. I did not know that I had so much to talk to a 64 year old Spanish-speaking lady I have nothing in common with. By the way, she wears an Apple watch, and was getting her phone calls on her wrist. I've never seen a more fashionable and tech-savvy dida/diva. Dida is grandma in Bangla.

It feels good, having that human connection in a stranger city, someone to share your meals with. She offered to drop me at the airport when I was leaving town. While leaving, she said, "Take care. Maybe we will meet in Vegas again."

I wanted to wear the flowery headband for my conference talks.  

I got a ride, I got great company, I got my biryani, and I got a headband too. It's a win-win-win-win situation. 

A few days later, she took off from work to drop me to the airport. She refused to activate the Uber meter and did not take any money. At the airport, she took my address so that she can write me hand-written letters. And she got on her tip toes and planted two kisses on my cheek before driving away.

There is something about sunny places. I think it makes people way more nice, warm and friendly.

On that note, if you could live anywhere in the US, where would you live? Other than Seattle, I would live in Puerto Rico. It is truly my kind of place.



Argentyne said...

Awwwwwwwww :)

sunshine said...

@Argentyne, :)

Reflections said...

Such a heart warming experience :)