“We’re definitely on Roxas Boulevard,” Anoushka confirmed, her nose communing with my Metro Manila atlas.
“We need to turn right somewhere to get to Makati,” I told her distractedly, still trying to orient myself. “Can you find Buendia?”
“Buendia . . . Buendia . . .” Anoushka muttered. “There’s ‘Jill Puyat . . .'”
“Gil Puyat,” I corrected her absentmindedly. “The soft ‘g’ in Spanish is pronounced like the English ‘h’.”
“Gil,” Anoushka repeated correctly. And then she added a beat later: “We’ve already passed it.”
(I heard another chuckle-like sound from Lydia.)
I thought fast. “Maybe we can take a right somewhere and double back?”
Anoushka conferred quickly with the atlas. “You can take a right on Pablo Ocampo, Sr., then turn right again on F.B. Harrison, then turn left into Gil Puyat.”
Ten minutes later, I realized that I couldn’t make a left onto Gil Puyat from F.B. Harrison. The good thing was the U turn was close enough to prevent me from ramming my head on the steering wheel in frustration.
“Can you find your way from here?” Anoushka asked me.
“Yes,” I replied firmly. “This is familiar ground.”
“Right,” Anoushka nodded—and promptly opened the atlas again.
Fifteen minutes later, I finally deposited a grinning Lydia at her hotel doorstep (with profuse apologies that she waved away by saying in her gracious German accent: “I got to see much more of the countryside!”) and then an equally mirthful Anoushka at a friend’s house in San Lorenzo Village.
“Do come in for a bit!” Our friend Zemfira protested when I turned away at the gate. “Some other time,” I smile. “It’s been a long drive and I have a few other things to do.”
And just when I thought I could finally get home without further incident: I lost my way trying to get out of San Lorenzo Village.