It was in the...
Year 1988 of September 1: When I assigned at Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai.
Roger and I went together to the main office in Sharjah for my new assignment. It’s ten o’clock in the morning that we rode a taxi cab going to Deira terminal. A scheduled vehicle, the same as in Al Ain, where we settled for 30 minutes travel from terminal to Dubai-Sharjah road.
We entered the main office, sat down in the lounge and looked for the Personnel Department’s room. I knocked the door, open the door knob and went inside.
“Sir, can I talk to Mr. Gamal Abdulrahman, the area manager of Dubai territory?” I asked the information desk.
“How are you Mr. Fernando, how’s Al Ain?"
“He’s there at the end of this room. Okay go,” pointing his right hand. We went to his table and greeted him.
“Hello sir good morning!”
“Oh, it’s you Mr. Fernando...how’s your travel from Al Ain?” Even it’s bad, I lied and said, “Fine sir!” We seated in front of him and I introduced Roger Ferrer.
“Sir, this is Mr. Roger Ferrer, the one that I told you in the phone last week.”
“I thought...American...ha-ha-ha-ha..Okay, fill-up this form first, then, be ready for the personal interview,” he said to Roger.
Roger finished the usual way of applying for a job; been interviewed, approved, and to submit his original documents. The company wanted Roger to get a letter of transfer to his present employer, passport and other papers to finalize his new employment. He went back to Al Ain to process his transfer where he talked to Arnold privately and said goodbye.
As for me, I had the new assignment at Al Fahidi Street branch, Bur Dubai, the other side of the Dubai Creek in Deira where Ronnie Ramirez worked. I stayed in Ronnie’s room but worked in Al Fahidi branch while tending Arnold Castillano for his recovery.
After a month’s time, Ronnie Ramirez was transferred to Al Riqqa branch which he left his room to me. I helped Joel find a temporary job in Al Fahidi area that he began to work in a catering business of the Hotel Ambassador in which he stayed in the staff accommodation.
The Al Fahidi branch staff got a new apartment in a building next to the store where I transferred my personal belongings. Nevertheless, I was accustomed to the new flat and all the branch personnel. During my day off, I visited Mike Luna in his residence near the Bank Street, the first visit for him.
“Hello Pareng Mike, how are you and why you’re not visiting me, huh?” I slightly slapped his face and hugged him.
“I missed you...see, I’m here in Dubai now?” Mike said to me with a smile on his face.
“Yes...alive and kicking….and why you’re not visiting me?”
“You know quite busy for my job and lots of work to do everyday Pare..”
“How’s Ayah Isabel...the children...and your wife, Lina?”
“They’re fine...your eldest daughter Anne, grade 2, and Kent, grade 1, they’re schooling inside the subdivision which Lina helped them.”
“I’m happy to know that my friend!!”
“You know Pare, there’s a lot of beautiful ladies here in Dubai.”
“Owwww, there you are...Lina’s waiting for you my friend...”
“My duty’s from 5 pm to 12 pm, that’s why, very hard to roam around the city. But, I’m asking my manager to change my shift, so that I have time in the evening, you know..”
“Pare, next Thursday, my day off, try to be with me...we’ll going out...”
“Sure, I’ll try! You want to eat?”
“Yes, what you have there?”
“Kabsah with green salad and canned coca cola, your favorite friend.”
“Okay, but remember, next Thursday our night out, I’ll call you Wednesday afternoon, in your job?”
“Yes, just ask my name Mickey...not Mike.”
“Owwww, why did you changed your name…...are you a celebrity?”
“Yes my friend...I’m here in Dubai...and I’m a celebrity now!”
“Let’s eat now.”
I left Mike’s residence, went to St. Mary’s Church to attend Sunday’s Mass and visited Ronnie in the store at Al Riqqa Street. He offered free snack for me, but I preferred to drink brewed coffee and double cheeseburger. I ate hastily while observing him which I stayed for almost an hour.
I walked along Al Riqqa Street which I intended to visit Vivian Montoya’s flat. I telephoned her first if she’s inside the room.
“Hello, can I talk to Vivian?”
“Sorry, she’s working right now, who’s this please?”
“Marco, please tell her I called up and I’m here now in Dubai.”
“Okay Marco, I’ll tell her.”
“Thank you, bye.”
I walked along the Al Riqqa Street going to Al Guhrair Mall, I crossed the road towards the Public Plaza, then to Al Maktoum Street. I spotted the Aquarius International Manpower Agency office. I entered and asked about Ryan Mallari. The front office staff answered me that he’s not around. I thanked her, went outside and continue walking going to the Deira side near the creek. I waited for my turn to ride in a wooden-motored dhow going to Bur Dubai side. I went home feeling alone towards my room and switch-on my betamax player to watch the movie “Dr. Shivago.” After watching the old movie, I took a warm bath, washed my clothes, ate fresh fruits and listen to my favorite music collections.
I called up Vivian Montoya for a possible night out with her. She responded positively, suggested Riviera Hotel near the creek as our meeting place. I dressed up instantly, rode a taxi cab and went inside the hotel.
I looked around for signage of the Filipino bar in the second floor, that I went instantly upstairs. A Filipina server greeted me and finds a table for me.
“Hi, good evening, please find a table for two near the stage.”
“Okay sir, come, over there.”
“I’m waiting for someone, but for now just give me a mug of Heineken draught beer. By the way, what’s the occasion tonight?”
“Sir, its Filipino night, there’s a lot of Bayanihan show here tonight. You know sir, after an hour, more Filipinos are coming....that’s why you’ve free appetizers, you like it then?”
“I see, what’s your name please?”
“Maribel Tan sir from Ilocos, the hot and spicy people like me!”
“Nice to meet you Maribel.”
After half an hour of waiting, Vivian showed up on my table.
“Hi Marco, nice to see you again….how’s Al Ain?”
“How are you when I’m away….and where are you working?”
“I’m working in a hotel’s catering service, so every time there were celebrations, weddings, parties or meetings, we’re hired by the manager temporarily and we got our salary at once. It’s better that way, for my security, but I’m alert always with the authorities. Like this place, they’re everywhere but aware of it.”
“Alright…good, you have more knowledge about your situation. I went to your house in Libertad Street and I talked to your father. He said regards to you….and your children too.”
“Nice, I’m happy to hear that they’re all fine. Thank you Marco.”
“Okay, what’s your drink, I’ll call Maribel.” Maribel got Vivian’s order and served.
“You want something to eat….they’re serving Filipino foods tonight?”
“Yes, bulalo and beef afritada…and you?”
“Me? – no, I have to drink first.”
I ordered another mug of draught beer, and drank half way. The show on stage was full of colorful lights dancing to the tune of the music. The artistes wore Filipiniana costumes dancing like the Bayanihan Troupe of the Philippines. Truly Filipino!
After the show, some guests were dancing in the dance floor where I spotted Danielle Gustilo and Ryan Mallari. I controlled my anger that Vivian noticed it and asked. “What’s the matter Marco?”
“Those people….they’re bad…looks at them!”
“Ryan and the woman wearing apple green dress?”
“Ryan’s our friend, isn’t it?”
“Yes….before, but now, I have to do what I can do…”
“Glenda’s around here too?”
“No, he’s only using her…..I think.”
I saw Ryan went to the comfort room that I stood instantly, followed him while Vivian’s behind me. When he’s inside the comfort room, I entered, punched him continuously that he hit me back. We fought each other hand-to-hand when suddenly the two CID’s wearing casual clothing halted us. We were brought to the patrol car and detained in Murraqabat Police Station. We’re inside the prison cell with other four detainees without saying a word to each other.
TO BE CONTINUED####
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A freelance writer who meticulously structured and maintained blogs just for you:A LIFE SO FAR AWAYand my other business blog:SHOPPING eMALL Thank you for your valuable time. Follow my business & writings and you'll find what life's meant to be.