“Ako ang bahala saimo.” (I’ll take care of you.)
This was Ruthie’s dialog to me when we had a get-together-cum-despidida for her on July 28, 2018.
That time, she was of course referring to the possibility of my finally going to the USA and staying with her in New Jersey to run NYCM 2018. As God willed it, the impossible became possible, and it made me prove that her “I’ll take care of you” assurance was an understatement. Ruthie went beyond friendship when she welcomed me in her home.
03 November, Saturday
Today, Ruthie and Jeff woke up as early as I was. Jeff would bring Ruthie and me to Manhattan for my ABBOT 5k Dash Run at 8:30 am. It was drizzling when we left their house before 6:00 am.
Jeff dropped us off near this bridge which Ruthie was very familiar of. When we followed a couple of runners who obviously were looking for the start area, we realized that it would be right in front of the UN Building.
It was here where Ruthie performed her multiple roles until I crossed the finish line.
Handing me my backpack, Ruthie did not show any impatience after I failed to locate our rendezvous. Me and my poor sense of direction again! Then, we tarried at Central Park as she informed me that the spot where John Lennon was gunned down is within the vicinity. Using a Google Map, we succeeded in locating Strawberry Fields after of course enjoying the beauty of the fall season.
My personal human Waze, Ruthie led me to an Italian diner for my post-run meal.
It was my first time to order a laaaaarge coffee. Good thing I did not drown! Hahahahaha. We took our time enjoying our breakfast and this made Ruthie plan our course of action for the next day which is D-Day. Having discovered that the public wi-fi connection is strong in our spot, she finally decided that they would pick me up from that resto after my run. The connection would enable me to update them (I found out that they uploaded the NYCM apps in her mobile phone, thus they could track my progress). Ruthie has been consistently reliable when it comes to strategies.
This day truly became F-U-L-L for the both of us.
From my first Italian food experience in Manhattan, Ruth took me to AMC Theater. What was planned as a simple tour turned into a movie date when I saw that “Bohemian Rhapsody” had just opened a day before. Viewing time was perfect before the Marathon Eve Dinner (MED) at the Marathon Pavilion in Central Park West at 3:00 pm. I was grinning ear to ear when we finally entered the cinema. And my smile got fixed there even after watching the movie which Ruthie immensely enjoyed too.
Checking on our watch, we trekked to the venue of the MED. A queue was already progressing. We took our spot in the line after of course having this shot. Hahaha…
It didn’t take long for the gate to open for the attendees, but we waited for a bit before the pavilion was ready for us.
MED over, we left Central Park West to head for my night’s accommodation in Holiday Inn Financial District. Ruthie would leave me in the hotel and she’d go back to NJ with Jeff who was waiting for her in a certain station. With the day’s schedule, we were both in agreement to call it a day.
But lo and behold! Ruthie discovered that the hotel where I’d be billeted was just a few-minute walk to 9/11 Memorial. She was very delighted since she’d really wanted to take me to the landmarks in New York City. So after resting our feet for a while, we decided to visit Ground Zero passed 6:00 pm.
Setting foot on the spot where thousands of lives were lost was a moving and thought-provoking experience for me. I offered prayers and paid tributes to all the innocent victims on that dreadful September 11, 2001 terrorist attack of the World Trade Center.
This humbling visit to this memorial capped my November 3 itinerary and this made my US tour worth sharing even if it’ll take me months (or even a year!) before completing all my narratives.