k50dude: Thanks for your comments! I'm glad the maps helped you. From now on, there will be one on each entry...
Plaça de Comerç (Commerce Plaza), 10:31 a.m.
As every Friday, I was parked in front of Commerce Plaza, the heart of the CBD. I had a cardboard cup of coffee in my right hand and I was holding the Catalan edition of Alarcònia Avui (Alarconia Today) newspaper with the other hand. Then, I recieved a call not from the Central but to my personal mobile phone.
"Hi, Daniel. It's me, Katherine..."
"Hey, nice to speak to you! How are you doing?"
"Fine... Emmm... are you busy right now?"
"Nope, I've got my car stopped. Why?"
"Can you pick me up to my place?"
"Millenium Apartments, right?"
"Right. In five minutes?"
"Three if I'm lucky with Carrer del Vallès (Valley Street) traffic lights..."
I started the engine and headed to Carrer del Mil·lenari (Millenium Street), a couple of blocks to the east. It was nice meeting with Katherine again [see Trip 4 and Trip 11]. We had met a couple of times more during this days, but always when I'm off-duty. Now, she did her third trip in my backseats.
I stopped my car in Millenium Street, in front of Millenium Apartments where I could. The radio news were talking about another chaotic morning in the downtown, with a multiple car crash in Carretera de La Brea (La Brea Road).
Katherine appeared a couple of minutes later, as nice as I had met her some months ago. She was wearing her perfect executive woman suit and carried a black briefcase. Like she is an American-native, I shifted my language to English.
"Good morning, Katerine..." I said.
"Good morning to you too..."
"Where do we go today?"
"Fluidynamics Simulations Center, Carrer de les Rampes (Ramps Street)" I thought for a while until I realized I had no idea where she was talking.
"I'll better turn on the GPS device..."
I typed the address in the screen and the woman voice leaded the way now. She suggested taking La Brea Road and there was an accident today, so I had to draw a B plan. Then, I started the engine and went down Millenium Street. I had to turn right to take Carrer Diagonal (Diagonal Street).
"I definately have to ask why are you going to such a strange place..."
"Well, I work for AtlanticTechCorp, we can't do this kind of simulations so we rely on external corporations."
"I see. What do they do?"
"They simulate fluid dynamics and mechanics with computers, wind tunnels, wave generators and this kind of things..."
"For your products I guess..."
"You're right. Without them, we wouldn't be able to develop our things..."
Surprisingly, there wasn't jam in Diagonal Street today, we were passing besides Altus Tower without any driving problems.
We arrived to Plaça de Correus (Post Square) faster than I thought.
"And what do you do this days?" she asked.
"Nothing special... driving up, driving now..." then, I remembered "Oh! You won't believe what happened me last week!"
"A woman gave birth where you're sitting right now..."
"Are you serious?"
"How did this happen?"
"Well, I was taking her to City of Health, but... well, we were late...!"
"Did you had to help her?"
"I took the baby, Kate..."
I also took the on-ramp to the Autopista (The Motorway) and shifted to gear 3 when arrived to the top.
Few people in the Autopista, it was strange. I was able to reach the 80 km/h, the speed limit in this part of the city. We were running parallel to the UrbanRail elevated tracks in a place that some say is "the scar in Alarconia's face".
"Is the mom well?"
"Yes, everything allright, I went to see her the day later with a borrowed car because this one was full of blood and don't-know-what-more-things..."
I made a pause.
"What about you? Something exciting lately?"
"My ex-boyfriend called me yesterday."
"He wanted a second opportunity."
"What did you say?"
"Obviously not... I was fed up and I'm currently fed up of him!"
I decided not saying more things about this topic. Some thousands of meters later, I left the autopista in a weird off-ramp.
The off-ramp is dangerously placed too close to McCormick District UrbanRail station. We were now in one of the most urbanistically chaotic places in the city and this is the presentation.
"But... are you dating with anybody right now?" I asked.
"No. Well, you and me have been dating but not in that way..."
"Who knows what could happen?" I decided remain in silence.
I took Carrer de les Casetes (Small Houses Street) trying to go to Barri del Caos (Chaos District). It's a small neighbourhood between McCormick District and the mountain.
This place is one of the few ones that had never been planned, so people built on their own, with plenty of cul-de-sacs and very near the Autopista, which was a major road during the first half of 20th century. Nowadays, access to the Autopista is forbidden except with on/off-ramps, but people keep living in front of it.
"I hate this part of the city..." she said.
"We wouldn't have had to come here if there wasn't an accident in La Brea Road and if the Autopista wasn't so bad planned in this part of the city."
At least, the public transport network was good here. They had an UrbanRail station, Metro stations and bus stations, so there aren't many cars going along its wingding streets. Traffic wasn't heavy and I always appreciate this. I saw how Katherine took my newspaper. Although in Catalan, she read the frontpage without any problem.
"What do you think about the last corruption cases?" she asked.
"They make me nauseas... Everyday I have a little less confidence in politics and politicians..."
"As far as I know, you like this kind of things..."
"Well, you know... there's nobody clean, nobody's honest. The last politician who cared about people died years ago! Even I'm thinking in stop buying the papers and stop listening to the radio programmes."
"Don't do it. We still need someone who cares." she replied, surprising me.
I took Carrer del Lleó (Lion Street) to the left and then to the left again, in Carretera del Caos (Chaos Road). We were crossing over the Autopista.
I could see an AtlanticTechCorp Pollution Catcher and I inmediatly looked at Kate through the mirror.
"Another Pollution Catcher... They seem to be successful..."
"Successful and effective, they work really well."
Then, I saw two things. the first one, the difference between the city and the green zone between the Industrial Zone and Chaos District. The second one was a hugh billboard of Alarconian National Airlines. The third one was my GPS pointing to the right. We were arriving.
I only had to turn right and go downhil carefully, while Kate was looking in her bag for her credit card.
"Can I pay with credit card?"
"Sure, no problem."
We were near the La Brea Crossing UrbanRail station, so I asked:
"I thought that fluidodynamics don't-know-what would be in a technological park..."
"In fact, yes. They have got their facilities in Sun Industrial Park, but they gather all their data and computer simulations from this building. They also have their meeting rooms here..."
"I see... There will be 33.15 AL$, please..."
"Here, you are. Do you need my ID?"
I put the credit card in the machine and I let her type her secret number. Then, the machine printed a recipe she kept. When she opened her bag, she took some small coins, to give them as a tip.
"Take them, it's all I got..."
"Thank you. I'll call you, ¿OK?
"Allright, see you... next week?"
"I'll call you... Bye!"
She disappeared through the main entrance of that Fluidodynamics Simulation Center and I had to start the engine and take the Autopista again, to go to the CBD.