"Once she got inside the airport she was surprised with the grandeur and luxury of it. It was perhaps one of the most beautiful she had been in. Marble, multicolored tiles and columns, many columns like an immense mosque surrounded her. She looked for a washroom to freshen up before standing in line at the immigration booth. Another surprise! The bathrooms had a very pleasant smell. The cleanliness was excellent thanks to Filipino immigrant who was on services and cleaned each and every time someone used the facilities
“Oh, Laura apparently you never left the country and went for airports! Damn girl, this trip is messing with your neurons.”
She left the washroom more composed than she had been going in. She felt fresh and completely surprised by the opulence and the exaggeration: even the toilet water was hot.
At this early morning hour the airport has little movement. Laura went to the queue of immigration with her passport in hand. The immigration service staff did not have friendly faces, she noted. A man and a woman dressed in contrasting colors – she in black and he in white - with very serious faces called the passengers one by one. Laura stepped up to the counter, showed her passport and after a brief look to verify that he photo of the identification document corresponded, the man gave it back without even a word.
“Oh God, where did I come to? This world is crazy! I'm going to the baggage claim to collect my Samsonite.”
Laura had instructions to look for a driver with her name written on a piece of cardboard so she headed for the exit. As soon as she crossed the huge glass door she felt the heat and it was only four thirty in the morning.
She looked at each and every card held by a man leaning against a car to see if any one of them had her name written on it and found him. There he was. Her driver. She felt safer.
Ms. Laura Mateus – Portugal.
She headed towards the man, who looked like he was perhaps in his thirties, who held it and was surprised when she looked at him. Strong, square face, with deep brown eyes, a lovely smile. He dressed like a businessman. “Are all drivers like this, or is this one especially handsome? What a curious country!”
Laura stretched out her hand and he squeezed it firmly saying in perfect English, while looking at her intensely.
“Welcome Miss Laura.”
With much professionalism and he courtesy gestured for her to give him the bag.
Laura did not hesitate and immediately handed him the huge Samsonite, which carried – literally – all her personal effects and clothing.
“But why have did I greet the driver with a handshake? He didn’t refused it...No one greets taxi drivers with a handshake. I'm such a dope.”
But, what she didn't let slip of her mind was the sensation the man had given her as soon as she had seen him. Charming and well-dressed, tall - but not overly - slightly brunet, dark brown eyes and a serious professional air. He looked more like a CEO than a taxi driver. He was certainly a driver with a lot of class. Blessed country! This way it was better. She was almost certainly going to travel by cab a lot – she thought while smiling slightly to herself."