Meshari: Again, thanks for noticing and commenting! As you see, it's now fixed.
k50dude: Thanks for your comment, one more time! The building you're saying is Jackson Tower, available in the STEX and in the LEX as a CAMeLot
Sorry for the lack of updates, I've been busy with college lessons, driving lessons (yes, I still run this CJ without driving license) and homework and I have less time to update and for playing SC4. I'll try to keep the pace to 1-2 weekly updates, depending on the amount of work I have.
Carrer de l'Aràbia (Arabia Street), 8:27 a.m.
I was called from the Central for my second trip today. I had to go near the Aerodrome, to pick up a passenger in that neighbourhood. Although it is surrounded by the Aerodrome and a popular clubbing zone, it is a very nice place to live.
According to the address I had been given, I had to stop in front of the 34, Arabic Street it was Pedrosa Manor; one of the most impressive houses in the country.
A couple of minutes later, a man appeared. He seemed on his fifties and wore a perfect navy blue suit with a black tie. He was also carrying a black briefcase.
"Good morning, sir." I said in Catalan, as usual, lowering the radio volume. They were discussing about politics, as every workday in this time slot.
"Good morning... Could you take me to the Banc de Comerç (Commerce Bank) Building." he replied, in Catalan too.
"Please, go to the A2 Motorway and then exit to take Avinguda del Sol (Sun Avenue). Keep straight on until arriving to the building." I was surprised. Nobody used to give so precise instructions. I started the engine and took Carretera de l'Aeròdrom Oest (West Aerodrome Road), the one that goes downhill. There were lots of buses going up to the Aerodrome District.
"Seems you know very well where you're going." I said.
"Sure, I work there."
"What do you do there?"
"CEO." It was shocking.
"Are you serious? Are you the Banc de Comerç CEO?"
"Now you say, you ring a bell on me. I think I've seen your face on TV and the papers."
We had to pass across East Alarconia District, one of the poorest neighbourhoods.
"Do you take taxis everyday? I think I've never carried you."
"No, I don't. I always go with my chauffer, but he's sick today so..."
"I understand... Do you do this route everyday?"
"Yes, it is why I remember it perfectly."
I headed to the nearest overpass folowing Mr. Quatrebarreres' instructions and took the Autopista (The Motorway) in the westbounds direction.
Once in the Motorway, I took the Madrid People's Interchange ramp to take the A2 Motorway.
"Can you turn the radio up, please?"
"Sure." They were talking about the decisions taken in the last Ministy Council, some of them trying to keep down the economical crisis.
"Crisis..." my customer said.
"You are the CEO of the biggest bank in Alarconia, you must know well about the Crisis..."
"Believe me, Alarconia is nowadays better than many other countries in the world."
"We have a ready industry. Suming up, we don't only assemble cars, we design cars. And we haven't had a real estate boom as some other countries."
"But... well, people has less money on its pockets..." I said, telling my own situation.
"This is because all imported products are much expensive than before... And as you know, we have to import everything we eat."
"Imported products and taxes, don't forget. Noone has lowered our taxes."
"At least the goverment isn't rescuing corporations with people's money or raising the VAT... This is why we're better than others."
"Maybe you're right." I didn't wanted to argue about economy with a customer. A rich customer.
"What does a CEO do?" I asked, trying to talk about something.
"I used to travel a lot some years ago, but now I'm old and webcams do the job for me. I can be in my bureau negociating with a Manhattan corporation without having to take a plane, and I think this is great..."
"So what goes on the last floor in the building?"
"I spend all the day signing papers, talking with shareholders and giving conferences because all the numeric affaires are run by my son. I could say he's really in charge of the bank this days..."
"Don't forget influencing the goverment..." I risked.
"Well, I don't like saying that I'm one of the most powerful men and women in Alarconia but it's true..."
"Currently, the second one according with Forbes magazine..."
Without realizing, I went off the motorway one exit before I had to, so I apologised. It was my fault, but Mr. Quatrebarreres forgived me easily...
We had to cross a railroad and had at our right hand the Alarconia City Gate Complex, seen a couple of times some entries ago. I saw how my customer picked up the newspaper besides him and began to read it. I observed he opened it looking for the salmon colour pages, the economy ones. I tried not disturbing him, he was doing his job.
I took Avinguda del Sol (Sun Avenue) now and kept straight on.
Sun Avenue links Districte dels Enginyers (Engineers' District) with Sun Industrial Park, named like this because it was intended to house a cluster of solar power related corporations.
"To get out of the Crisis, it is really necessary pushing up this kind of industries; the ones that no other can imitate." said my customer and I agreed with him now.
Nowadays, the goverment is tearing down the polluting industries from here, allowing hi-tech ones to install, but they still had a lot to do. I could see a huge empty lot at my right hand and I wondered what kind of factory stood here before.
The big black factory is one of the few polluting ones that remain in that industrial park. It's demolition is scheduled for March 2010, but its workers were still in relocation process and this situation could go on for several months. This is the part of the park where Sun Avenue becomes Sun Road, the old one. All factories are so tight packed that don't allow to build an avenue, so traffic during rush hour (at 6:00 in the morning, 2:00 in the afternoon and 10:00 in the evening) is terrible here.
Mr. Quatrebarreres told me to keep straight on. I could see the top antennae of Banc de Comerç building from here.
We passed besides the National Zoo and kept straight. This is the only zoo in Alarconia and the only one the country's space could allow. It is placed in the perfect spot because it is far away the neighbourhoods. I watched my customer a little bit; he seemed to be looking the share performance of his corporation and his face wasn't very happy.
We were passing now besides the AGSC Complex, the place where the Grup Alarconià d'Empreses Estratègiques (Alarconian Group of Strategic Corporations) expanded during the 70s, round the Alarconian Airlines Stadium; when the AGSC Building was too small. The complex is easily recognisable because it is made of a dozen of identic skyscrapers, each one holding one part of the group.
"What do you think about AGSC?"
"Alarconian Airlines is doing well this last times, but I think that any intelligent person would buy an Alarconian Motors car..."
"As far as I know, they need to to to the mechanic four times more than any other car. They're waste."
"Do you have shares of AGSC?" I asked. He thought for some seconds.
"27% if I'm not wrong..."
We were passing besides Barri de la Vall Negra (Black Valley District). This place was fully populated when the AGSC brought the most part of the enterprise to this part of the city, using the cemetary as a park.
"We're arriving." I said, watching the impressive Banc de Comerç Building.
I stopped some meters before arriving, because we were about to enter in a one-way street and I wanted to turn left to go to the city center.
Banc de Comerç Building seemed misplaced. It is one of the few financial skyscrapers (along the AWFC out of the CBD) and nobody knows why. It is placed in a poorly communicated place and if it wasn't for the AGSC Complex, it would stand as a monster in the middle of the Districte de l'Eixample (Extension District), planned when the North American inmigration began to flood the island.
"There will be 55.45 AL$, please." I said, once the taximeter had stopped.
"Can I pay with credit card?"
"Of course, do you let me your credit and ID cards?" He took them from his wallet and I checked his identity. Everything OK, so I inserted his credit card (from Banc de Commerç, obviously) and I let him introduce his secret number. Once the recipe was printed, he took his briefcase and said goodbye, walking down the street.
I placed the newspaper again over the seat, where it always is; and then started the taxi. I still had a long day in front of me.