Monday, June 20, 2011

On the Rails

I arrived in Riyadh in the full eye of a sandstorm. I traveled on Saturday afternoon from Dammam and was due in Riyadh in the early evening.

It was my first real ride on an independently-powered train (as opposed to the light rail systems used in mass transportation) and I would say IT WAS A BLAST.

Not an earthshaking thing by any means of course, but it satisfied my initial curiosity about trains. It also helps that some of my most enjoyable moments in movies are about trains or had trains as settings: Silver Streak, Murder on the Orient Express, Narrow Margin, Manchurian Horror Express (outside the Philippines, it was known simply as "Horror Express"), Before Sunrise, and Unstoppable, among others.

Of course it isn't as cool as the movies make them out to be, but Saudi trains are fine by me. Even better than cramped airplane seats. One can complain about the speed but trains are really safe and the best mode of transport overland. I can only deplore why trains are not better utilized in the Philippines but that is a story for another day.

My recent posting is more operational and conceptual - a fact that dawned upon me the first day I came to work. After several years of being in this line of work, deciding what to do becomes less of a chore than proceeding on how to do it, and how soon. Which is the fun part - my brain will take a little backseat while I stick my nose into all the goings-on.

Yes, things could go so wrong. Life has a way of righting the ship, or to use my railway metaphor, derailing is a normal part of life. Getting on the skids may be really tough, but it is important to stay on track and keep on chugging.

If you ask me the homesick question, I have found a wonderful answer: I always yearn to be beside the people I love most. For now I am taking a break from them. They are not encompassed in my immediate space, but they are still there, just the same. The countdown has started.

As for the Philippines? Never mind.

Postscript: I am aiming for a sort of travelogue but then I realize I'm not yet sufficiently mobile to comment. They say Riyadh has its own unique wonders. Let's see.

No comments: