Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mr. & Mrs. Smith


So, it was a relaxed Saturday. I had a super, dooper brunch with my friend; her treat for her birthday! It was a good treat and I will have to say good food also - we ate at Coco's. I've actually forgotten when was the last time I pigged out.

Anyway, going home was a little piss-off thing. I had to wait for the only bus route and since it was soooo hot, I had to divert and take an extra route and fare just to get myself out of the heat and sun. Only because that particular stop doesn't have those airconditioned icebergs (is what I call them... those waiting sheds) which is the main reason why I diverted. Second being the fact that the only route that passes by that place to mine sometimes takes a whole one hour wait. Yeah, wait only - travel time not included yet.

But all in all, it's the same shit, different route. Because all in all, the bus wait and the travel time was the same. Oh wait, I think it was even more by about 20-30 minutes. Ugh!

I dunno the temperature today. I couldn't monitor since I was out and constantly forgot to look at those places where billboards offer the date and the temp. But what happened was I was under the sun for about 30 mins before I got my first ride, and luckily about 30 minutes more inside that iceberg waiting for my second ride. So, by the time I got down, I went straight to the nearest store to buy water. I glugged [it's not a word? Well, then, that's how it sounded... indulge me here, please] half of the liter before I started walking, and the rest intermittently while at home. Only then did I realize when I had to pee that I suffered dysuria because I've sweated out all my water that I didn't have anything more left for pee-ing when it was time for me to go.

Remind me to bring water at all times from now on... at least until Aug. 21, which is the start of the Ramadan.


I said that I was moving, and started to sort things out. But, I will have to do one extra task which is the only thing I can think of so that I'd be able to bring everything in my new place clear of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

Oh, I'd like to introduce first this term because I think I might be using it at least for a while. Well, Mr. & Mrs. Smith are those illegall occupants on my bed [and clothes, too... embarrassing!] who becomes active every night when the lights are turned off. Don't ask me how I came up with this term. It's just that it's the first thing that came up when I was thinking of a 'pet name' for them.

Yeah, we have this shit here. But at least not on the place where I used to stay two months ago.

Anyway, I figured it would be best to wash my clothes again [even if they are clean] just to extinguish them. Hopefully to really take them off my things! I'll pack it outside in the morning [from hanging directly to the bag] before I get them to my new place so I'll be secured that it's free of Mr.&Mrs. Smith. I am not saying this will work out 100%, but this is the only thing I could think of right now. To drown them in a water from the faucet that's hot enough for coffee... well, it's summer here and that is that.

Oh well, let's see what happens...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Moves

I wouldn't say that it all came too sudden. But however I look at it, it still feels this way.

For the second time in the span of two months, I am again on the plans of moving to another place. But this isn't even my doing, not even my choice. But as they say, it seems that this is a part of life here.

I am lucky to find out that this place I am eyeing is still up for rent. I talked to the caretaker/manager of the building and I was able to come to terms with him and settle all my issues. It's just up to me when I can move. This all happened before twilight.

On my way home, on the bus, I had these thoughts about moving. There would be no more bus rides for me in the morning and on the way home; I am moving to a place near my work, which is even less than five hundres steps away. I wonder when the bus card system will finally be fixed and they will have one system going. I wonder how I will spend those times that I was supposed to still be travelling. I wonder about a lot of things I can associate with moving.

You might say I am excited. But I still hate the concept of moving; especially if I am not really up to it. It's just that it is now the only choice left.

On books...

Finally, I am done with "Twilight."

I do not have much to say about it, honestly. I was actually surprised that the few pages left when I checked was a preview of the sequel. I think when I cam to the prom night, I wasn't expecting it was the end. I was thinking about something else, something more. I thought there is still something bigger that's going to happen, bigger than what already did. It's not that it's a disappointment. It's something more of expectations.

But with regard to Meyer's writing, I can say that for me she's got that style. I admire it, really. There are a lot of the things she said that surprise me, that makes me realize those things are possibe, that she has this way of articulating my thoughts - those hard ones.

Tonight, I am off to a new adventure. I am a little excited because this is something new, something different for me. I am starting with the book "The Last of the Mohicans" by James Fenimore Cooper. Another classical novel. It's about the Indian tribe - the Mohican tribe - of the 1700s.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dead Tones

Part of my job is making cold calls to companies inquiring about the insurance requirements. This isn't easy as some of you might have thought. It's hard to get to the right person because sometimes, they are too busy. Other times, there are those who pretend they are the right person. But that's another story.

Some calls are funny. People tend to converse in their own little, weird ways... Most of the time, though these are not that frequent, these things are what me say, "I love my job!" because it works as a therapy whenever those times come that it looks like it's gotten a little too much. I sometimes write down these 'responses' and go back to them from time to time to remind me of the fun part of my job. They serve as perks.

What doesn't happen too often is getting that dead tone. Back then. The dead tone that I call is that steady, continous tone that means that the phone is no longer in service. It wasn't that much when I started. But it has been quite often these days. You might say "Recession," and I say, "Yes," to that without hesitation.

But even so, I couldn't help but feel this [little bit] of certain sadness that I couldn't comprehend and articulate whenever I hear this unfamiliar-that-is-becoming-familiar tone. It seems to me that this is another addition to the mortality of business which has never been a good thing. Because all things being equal, it is never easy to let go of what used-to-be a good thing... errr... even if it was never too good a thing.

Bus Card System Updates. I rode a different route on my way home having been from the abra (boat). Well, as I have thought so, the system is not yet in full operation. I rode a bus which do not have yet the machine for new bus cards, so I ended up paying cash again. I wonder when this system will be in full operation.

Well, being at the creek did me some good. It's always been my favorite place here. So, I still had a good time even though it's like 42c [that hot]. Although it is never my thing to ride the boat on business attire, I chose to for some reason. It's a good thing that it's not that humid, but the ride was a little bumpy and shaky since it's kinda windy and being on the tail of a big dhow even made it a little worse.


Today is the last day for the buses to accept payments in cash. That was what I heard about two days ago. The thing is I just couldn't confirm if this is true or not. Because as I said on my last post here, no one knows when it's really pushing through. Well, I'll wait for a few days then blog about it.

But anyway, here is what I have experience last week using the new bus card.

I rode the bus and guess what? The bus doesn't have the machine. Now I have to pay cash, which I didn't bring. I have like a whole bill and the driver reacted that my money was big. So, I politely smiled and screamed in my mind: That's because I have the damn bus card! He had to make me sit first so that he can prepare my change. It wasn't that bad on my way back, but still the bus didn't have the machine.

I was so pissed off because of the inconsistency. If they are trying to implement it, they should have both options for buses. The funny thing is, some buses do not accept cash, while other buses do not accept cards. I really think it should be either or, not neither nor. The whole point is if all buses are not ready for the cashless or card system, they should be accepting cash on any buses, too.

I realy wonder what's going to happen when they finally stop accepting cash. Just a few minutes before I started writing this blog, my room mate just came in telling me her story. She was waiting for the bus for like about 10 or 15 minutes, only to be asked to get down by two buses because they are not accepting cash. But again, lucky for her, because after about 30 minutes, there is another bus route that still accept cash. Another inconsistency! So, my question is, are they really ready for the cashless sytem tomorrow?

I just pity those people who are not really prepared for it, only because they were not informed about it.

On other things...

I'm just about half-way done with the book Twilight. Oh well, if you've been reading my posts, I have said several times that I've put off reading this for some reasons. That's why when I finished with "The Mill On The Floss," I decided not to double-read this time so my attention wouldn't be absorbed again by the other book. So, this is like a love story and a hero-story in one. Really, I can now say that I am not a fan of this hero-things. It's not that I have anything against it, I am just not into it. Edward and Bella's story is also really touching. But as I have said on my bookblog, it might probably be my romance-meter being calibrated often. One thing I can tell is that Stephanie Meyer is a good writer. Yes, she is. But then again, it might be the kind of story that I am looking for. I just want to know how this is to end, then I don't know what's going to make me read the sequels.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I want to mark this day since this is the last day of my bus card. For this would really affect me. Ever since I've been here, I've been using this to move myself around. It's like a monthly subscription and unlimited, too. The thing is, they are removing it and replacing with a new system; and it is not monthly anymore.

The card on top is the old one. It has been my 'constant companion ' since I arrived here in Dubai and I should say that it really helped me through. Since it is unlimited, I was able to explore and study the transportation system; the routes, the numbers. Sadly, timing is not something I was able to study since it is perfectly unpredictable. I was able to familiarize myself of the routes on areas that I don't really frequent and can more or less tell the route of the buses by their numbers. Not all, but quite a number of them.

The card at the bottom is the new card. Disposable! Which means that after 10 rides, you throw it and get a new one. I should say this is not really very environment-friendly. The old one is more practical. I've had it for a year and I didn't have to get a new one everytime.

Anyway, the new system requires every commuter to buy this card for AED 18, and it is good for 10 rides. Eventually, buses would not accept cash anymore. It is now being slowly implemented since some of the bus routes do not accept cash anymore. The consequence is, a lot of people couldn't ride if they cannot buy the card. Card access is not a problem since you can buy it from the driver. But the thing is not everyone couldn't afford to pay AED 18 upfront. I just hope that these people would realize that by next month, they should allot enough money to get them through the month - their transportation allowance. Otherwise, they might end up walking to or from work. Until when is the ticket system? Who knows? That's why commuters should be preparing as early as now.

One question that has been bugging me about this new system is that the inspection process. With the old system, inspectors just take a look at your ticket and they know, because you have the proof - the ticket serves as the receipt. However, in this card system, how do we prove that we paid for that ride? I heard someone said that they actually perfected the system for flaws. That there is a machine that can actually detect that you indeed paid. How will we know? The fine for not paying a ride is AED 200. What if the machine fails?


Still on the road...

I remember blogging also about crossing pedestrian lanes here. Like I don't wait for the red signal, because I wait for all of the cars in front to stop. Recently, the Dubai Traffic Police has been vigilant about jaywalkers with a fine of AED 200 if caught. Some people are actually furious because of this regulation. And I say, "Duh!" They are just trying to protect us. Really. You should know how risky it is at the streets of Dubai. This article here shows some statistics and facts about the roads of Dubai. And believe me, I saw one taxi spin right before my eyes about two weeks ago. We shouldn't be crossing just anywhere we want... no, at least not here in this country.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Miss The Rant

And it has been a week...

  • I've not been busy, I must admit. I just got engrossed with the newest websites, social networking sites and all that has been fed to me ever since I can remember. I only had the time [and interest] to check it recently. Funny but one friend commented about me having several social networking sites. The truth is, I do not automatically go to these sites to create an account. It all starts with invites. I kind of ignore the first, second, third and fourth. But the fifth would finally get my attention. The thing is some friends are in this site and others are not; some are there but not on this so-and-so site. So, to have my updates of these friends, I join their sites. But true to what has been said about friendster before, those people who have like threeorfourorfive hundred friends are not even "friends personally" with those hundreds. And I really believe that. With friendster, I used have like just about 20, and it only increased up to a hundred after four years. So, right now, I tweet, I plurk, I am at FaceBook. With only about 20 people at the most per site, I am happy with what I have.
  • Anyway, I've been also busy since the week began because of some backlogs as I got sick. That's why I once tweeted here that I love-hate being sick. And also, my GoogleReader seems to attract new websites at the rate of two a day, average. There are a lot of interesting sites that most of them occupies my online time; that which I actually enjoy. The only part that I don't like the most is that it takes away a lot of time from my book-reading. But, no qualms, it's actually working perfectly fine with me.
  • If you have read about the OFW encounter I had last week, I have an update... surprisingly. I didn't mention that I gave her my visiting card [business card] for future reference and just in case. Well, she called me late this afternoon to really thank me [as per what she said] and to ask for an advice. She'd been looking for work and a lot are interested in hiring her. But there is a problem. It turned out she discovered that she's holding an employment visa and she would need a cancellation from her previous sponsor/employer so she can get another work. I told her I would ask around what else could be done aside from going to the consulate. Actually, going to the consulate would have been the best advice I can tell her but then, I have heard some news that it only does a little help, if there is any at all. I half-believe that, too. I guess she heard about it as well. Again, my heart bleeds for this.

Friday, May 8, 2009

O Filipino W

Looking for a shade while waiting for the next bus, I ended up finding a woman who asked me, "What time is it?"

As if driven by instinct [or insinuated by her?], I looked at her wrists and found out she had a watch. Not only that, she has marks of wounds on her hands that I find hard to describe. I answered with a lump in my throat, trying to find more of what I could aside from what I already did. "It's 9.05... why? Are you running late?"

She said "No" and asked me another question right away. "Would it be okay to flash my name out?" Or at least, that was how I understood the question. I ruminated on it quickly, as she pulled out this cardboard from her bag showing her name. I said, "No," right away.

She said she's waiting for someone who is picking her up and they don't know each other. I told her not to flash her name because paranoia struck me that some bad guys might play a prank [at the least] on her and tell her they are the ones and might end up doing things. Yeah, I just find this act okay when you are at the airport, but not when you are in a bus station. There's also the chance that the police might spot-check her and all; I am not sure yet - and still had to ask - what kind of visa was she holding.

So, she told her story. She's been here for about three weeks now, working in Sharjah as a housemaid. No stories of maltreatment but the fact that she's working for a family of seven kids plus the husband and wife. The job is too much for her to handle. Washing all the clothes and dishes manually. Her visa expires in one week and doesn't want to continue. But her employers are trying to be nice to her the past few days when she announced that she's not interested. It turned out she's currently on visit/tourist visa and she escaped from her employer. When I asked for her passport, she said and motioned that it's under her bra. I said, "Ok, let it be."

It turned out her niece's friend is picking her up and they haven't met yet. I was supposed to be back to the office after this appointment but instinct told me to stay with her until she's with the person who's picking her up. It turned out she doesn't have a mobile so I said, give me the contact person and I'll call her to ask for their location. She ended up texting me for the number of the person. I waited and finally called the number. The lady said that she's still about 15-20 minutes away from us. She asked me if I can wait, adding please at the end of the sentence. I told her I'll wait. Until finally, 30 minutes after, she came and took her away.

My heart bleeds for this... even if it was already two days ago. It's hard to just make it go away. We've heard of these stories time and time again. But I never thought it would feel different when you've actually encountered one. Closed to tears, hands still bearing all the wounds, eyes expressing too much disappointment. Instead of assuring her that I'd stay until she meets with these people, I ended up convincing her that she can trust me. It wasn't hard though, because in her situation at that moment, that's the only thing she needed. I didn't leave her because of fear that she just might end up with some vultures of our own skin... which would have been the saddest part.

The photo above was taken while I was on my way to that appointment before this incident. Little did I know that I will have this encounter. The irony of it is, a lot of us feel proud to be OFWs. And the reason why I took this picture [while on a bus] is that I find a certain dignity seeing this on cars.

But how can one be dignified if she's being humiliated, deprived and overworked.

How can she be proud of what her life came about?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Scents and Sanity

Magrudy's will have a new set of scheme that meant we had to change our existing cards for a new one. I got an e-mail instructing us to request where the card will be delivered. I called the POC to let her know where I will be picking up my card. Told here repeatedly [I think about three or four times] that I'll be picking up on Saturday, which was the last.

All this transcended in our own native tongue.

When I got there last Saturday to pick up the card, the person there told me it wasn't there yet. And I was told that there should be another e-mail after the confirmation as to when I can pick up the card.

I guess the weekend rest did good to me and was just too refreshing for me to be pissed off and be irate at the store. But I wrote this on my planner:

Miscommunication sucks! To think we both speak the same language, our native one. Now I wonder why people do not ALWAYS understand one another.


It's not the race nor the language, it's the LEVEL of understanding. Language SUCKS! errrr.... Or is it PEOPLE?


My morning trip to Spinney's to get my breakfast of pancakes consists of walking a little bit further from my office and back.

On Sunday morning, I walked pass by this guy and couldn't help but smell his perfume. Deng! He's wearing too much! As he walked further, I said to myself [of course in my native language, but I'll translate it for other people], "He smells really good! It's familiar... what scent is that, btw?" I tried to think for about 2 minutes, or maybe 3, quickly submitting to the fact that I am no novice on perfumes. Then, suddenly, I thought, "Oh yeah, he smells like the perfume section of department stores."

I was laughing silently all by myself until it faded out of my mind.

I just love being outrageous sometimes. Well, I'm sure this is one thing to keep my sanity. LOL!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Some Swine Flu & Some More

Philippines. The DOH people is requesting funding of Php 90million for anti-swine flu plans. I was really surprised to read this article today at the Philippine Daily Inquirer online. My eyes almost fell out of its sockets as I read the header. I don't know if this is big or small for a fund. But I just couldn't believe that they are already seeking. But of course, we know it would take time for to be approved, that either the virus already has become a pandemic or it has simply gone away, before it finds its way to approval or disapproval. But that again, is an entirely, rediculously different story.

I have read it somewhere [forgive me but I forgot to bookmark or subscribe to give proper credit to the writer] that the Philippines has some hundred cases of Pulmonary Tuberculosis the past year and no one seemed to have paid attention. Nobody ever bothered to "seek a Php 90million fund" to help them who already suffer. PTB has been a big problem in our country and I was a witnessed to that during my Caregiving years; and it has been since I can remember. People whom you assume to be of good health might be suffering and you wouldn't even know. The funny thing is we don't even have to 'put some additional men' in our airports [as part of their action plan for Swine Flu, that is] because for all you know, all along, PTB sufferers might just be the person you come across just as you are getting out of your house. Back in 2005, I remember my instructor in caregiving told us that statistics show 4 out of every 10 people we meet in the streets has PTB. Believe me, this got me thinking everyday for the next few days after that lecture, keenly observing people I cross paths on my way to school if they have the symptoms. Isn't that interesting that these DOH people are asking for Php 90 million for this virus that hasn't even gotten in our country?

I know that they have good intentions. But I also cannot help but think about their UNDERLYING motives. It is actually easier to grasp their para-sa-akin [for myself] gains than thinking about their para-sa-bayan [for the country] initiative; in which the ratio of PROFIT versus SERVICE is seemingly outrageous.

Call this a follow-up for that blog I read about swine flu and PTB. But I couldn't help but write about it [again… you could say] because I can't get my thoughts off that Php 90 million.

So much of Swine Flu today. Because tomorrow, I will call it H1N1 or Influenza A as per WHO terms here.


I missed my Jeff-Dunham-Friday. I had my haircut and this hot-oil-from-home experiment earlier which did some good to my hair [that's on both counts]… I got to oil my hair for this summer since today, I think it got to 50 degrees, and it's not even summer yet.

Who doesn't love shrimp? You might say no one, not even those who have allergies. But I just get bored eating it. You have to eat with your hands [yeah, you can eat it with spoon and fork but it takes another 50 years to finish] and the whole process of de-scaling [is it really what it's called? Enlighten me, please] just annoys me. Yeah, that’s what I had for lunch today. YUMMY! But I didn't have it for dinner again.

Oh yeah, I just got hooked up with Chain Rxn [Jeesh, I hate the way it's spelled] at facebook. Truly a nice game there. I just loved watching those circles expand and explode. I also like the concept of the game. It is not the usual avoid-this-avoid-that-or-you'll-get-ditched. This one, you have to figure out when these circles get as close to each other as possible and bump into each other, because the faster they bump into each other, the more points you earn. Oh well, it has been a while since I played a game. I got bored with PSP's Need For Speed Pro Street… truly a waste of money for me. Not too much time since I stopped playing after day 1. The fact is, I am still wondering why it was called Pro Street when you are just circling different race tracks and not on the streets. And oh, the graphics suck! Due to this, I got scared of getting NFS Undercover for fear of being duped by the game series the second time around.

Ok. I can continue to be outrageous. But I'll save it for another day.

Friday, May 1, 2009

No Answer

Some of you may already know that I AM NOT a fan of those voice mailboxes, answering machines or leave-your-freakin'-messages things. Especially when you're calling international.

A few days ago, I was trying to reach an acquaintance about her motor insurance inquiry, but couldn't reach her after several attempts. Her mobile just kept on ringing… unanswered. Good though… no voice mailbox whatever…

When I finally caught her, she jokingly said that she thought the call might be coming from one of her banks since it's a landline number. You know why banks call, right?

So, I came to think and came up with a good idea for please-leave-your-message-after-the-beep spiel:

Hi! Sorry I can't answer the phone right now. If you want to leave a message, PRESS 1; [long pause here]… But if you've been trying to reach me for days and I don't pick up or return your calls, please DON'T PRESS CHARGES, I'll get back to you A-S-A-P!

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