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About this City Journal

OK, let's go. This is my first CJ, so all comments and criticisms are welcome. Here, I'm going to show you the Atlantic Democratic Republic of Alarconia while we travel through this country....

Entries in this City Journal


A few words...

Hey, guys.

First of all, I want to say thank you very much to all the people who has viewed, commented and supported this City Journal. Your feedback has been crucial for the CJ and this is all because to you. I've had lots of fun making the updates and thinking new stories for the people in the taxicab. I've seen Alarconia improving a lot since the begginning of the CJ, you can see this comparing the first updates and the latter ones.

But now, I think I'm not having fun anymore with this CJ. I think I've shown everything of Alarconia during this 40 trips and I don't have as fun as before making the updates. Alarconia is tiny and I don't find it as interesting and challenging as before. Furthermore, I'm working on a new city; which in my opinion is MUCH better than Alarconia in terms of planning, architecture, mass transport, etc. I think Alarconia has been dwarfed by this region in many senses and I don't see a point for going on with Alarconia anymore.

Now what? I will keep with the Tenements & Rust: Ghetto Stories CJ and keep playing the new region until I think it is ready to be showcased in a new CJ. I still don't know what will be the style of this new CJ but I'll be working on it.

I'll be back!

Comment Replies
IrvingTwoSmokes: Thanks for your comment, I answered your question in the same comment section.
bandit22: Thanks for the suggestion, I hope you like this entry...
k50dude: Thank you as usual for stopping by! Hope you liked you too...

This is my 40th trip, the XL trip in roman numerals. And it is going to be size extra large. I haven't photoedited the pics this time, but I think this trip gives a good variety of sights around Alarconia. Thanks for the suggestions, guys!

Port Alarconia International Ferry Terminal, Port Alarconia, 8:21 a.m.

More or less, this time every morning; the ferry terminal becomes a major spot of activity. Two international ferries arrive to the island and the one coming from Europe arrives at 8:30. Six fellows and me were awaiting for travellers while reading our newspapers and/or listening our radios.

A bunch of people flooded the terminal few moments later; most of them were looking for an empty taxi and I was one of them.


"Good morning, sir." I said in Catalan, while watching how my new customer hopped into.
"Good morning..." he said, in a different Catalan dialect. I recognised the "normalised" dialect from Barcelona, which is supposed to be spoken by our nation founders when they established Alarconia three-hundred years ago.
"Where do we go?" it was a young boy, around 25-30 years old.
"Uummm... Zaidi Building, in East Americana...
"Near the ballpark, right?"
"Yes, more or less..."

I wasn't absolutely sure where the building was, but I knew it was placed just besides the e2i Field, so I typed the ballparks address and the GPS device showed this:

It was going to be a pretty long trip, it would take me a lot of time; but I couldn't refuse it.

"I guess you know you're going very far from here..."
"Yes, I know. I think I'm going to spend more money in the taxi trip than in the ship..."

I started the engine then, and began running.

My customer was clearly a backpacker, you know. Comfortable clothes, big backpack and even an sleeping bag. He had arrived to Alarconia with the Mediterranean-Atlantic Express, covering the route between Barcelona-Funchal-Açores-Alarconia-Punta Cana-Havana-Miami. This was by far the cheapest way of reaching Alarconia, with an average price of less than 100 euros. Ships are fast and clean; nothing more. No restaurant, no luxury suites, no casinos... Suming up, the backpacker's choice.


"What makes you coming to the Atlantic Republic, outsider?" I asked, making fun of the typical question in western movies.
"I've come to see some friends..."
"Does the Mediterranean-Atlantic keep its low fares?"
"Oh, yes. Believe me, it's a great choice if you've got tons of spare time."
"How much trip time?"
"A couple of days..."
"Don't you think this is a lot?"
"Yes, but... I'm not in a hurry..." he said.


"I also took the Mediterranean-Atlantic the first time I went with my friends to "the heartland". Planes were even more expensive than now..."
"Well, you know a bunch of people there, people from everywhere. It's almost impossible to board alone and not making a friend there."

I left Atlantic Avenue and entered in Alarconia City, inside the Industrial District. I was looking for the Autopista (the Highway).

"Have you ever been here before?"
"No, it's my first time here..."
"Then don't pay many attention to this part of the city."
"I won't..." he said, smiling. This is not the best place to bring a tourist for the first time.


I left Avinguda de l'Indústria (Industry Avenue) in the crossing with the Highway and I entered there, heading to the downtown. We had to go through the Tunnel, the one which communicates the Industrial District with Alarconia City.


Going outside the Tunnel on its north opening is always a shocking experience. You're seeing darkness and a second later, a bunch of towering skyscrapers come towards you as if they were going to tread on you. All the tourists I had brought to the downtown from the port always were shocked and my customer wasn't an exception.

"Is that Ciutat d'Alarcònia?"
"Yes, it is. Technically, it begins here because is the place where air pollution is less severe."

He took a couple of photographs with a reflex camera. I don't know much about photo cameras, but I could bet it was a professional model.

"Nice cam... Are you a photographer?"
"No, no... I've recently finished my degree in Marketing; but I like photography a lot..."


We were passing now besides Chaos District and McCormick District, the surroundings of the CBD and part of the downtown. The highway is surrounded by tall buildings and part of the UrbanRail's 0 Line elevated tracks.

"And... what's going on Catalonia and Spain this days?"
"Struggling with the Crisis, as usual."
"Yeah, don't tell me about the Crisis... I think we all are *swearing*!"
"I guess your problems are not as worrying..." my customer said.
"I read that Catalan industry is suffering a lot; in our case, our industry is doing pretty well but prices have risen astronomically."


"We've got to import nearly all the food we consume; there are a very few problems grown here..."
"Except fish."
"Yes, except fish. I saw a study in yesterday's paper that said that Alarconians were slowly shifting their meals to a more fish-based diet."
"Didn't know..."
"But definately, your industrial sector is having real problems..." I said.
"It is what I always say... During the 90's and the 00's, a bricklayer could earn the double money that an engineer or a scientist could earn a month. Simply, everybody who had any problem at school, went to a construction site and they had a well-paid job."
"And then, the bubble exploded."
"That's it. And now, they don't have a job, they're living from their subsidies, not consuming and pulling down the country..."


"They couldn't know this would happen."
"Anybody with some intelligence could predict this situation. You say Alarconia is almost all paved? In Spain, entire cities emerged from nothing, at Winter is very depressing to walk in a nearly desert coastal towns full of unnoccupied apartments... And now, we're paying."
"You and all the others."
"Of course. Nobody is safe except the ones with money."

We passed besides Plains District and the embassy zones talking about the Crisis. One customer talking about the crisis is not a problem; but when you've carried twenty people and they all talk about the same; it can be really annoying.


We had at our left hand the Banc de Comerç d'Alarcònia building, one of the tallest in the nation. I kept my 80 km/h speed while listening to my customer.

"As a taxi driver, you must be aware of all what happens..."
"If you hop on without having watched the news, I can play CNN for you..." now seriously "I've got to buy a newspaper for my customers but I also listen to the radio all day long, so you can be sure that I am one of the first people to know about breaking news. My fellows and I..."
"So you're like information junkies?"

I laughed.

"More or less... I suffer this when I'm on vacation. When I spend a couple of days abroad without having any news I get very nervous so I try to get an Alarconian newspaper somewhere, which is quite difficult..."
"I see..."
"I think is a psicological problem."


We were heading now to Broken district, passing besides New York Building and under the Lines 0 and 1 UrbanRail lines.

"You've got a nice country despite being less than a million people."
"What do you mean?" I asked with curiosity.
"Well, it's part of a theory I have, I can explain it if you want." he said.
"You can be sure I've heard lots of things, so don't be afraid."


"My theory is that the magnitude of "near" or "far" or "crowded" are not the same for people with different nationalities."
"For example?"
"Would you say this trip is going "far"?"
"Definately. We're going through the entire country..."
"We're only running more or less seven kilometers. It is about the distance between my hometown and the neighboring city."
"Alarconia is a tiny nation."
"Look; this last Summer I knew an Australian student and I was really shocked while talking with him."


We were about to enter inside the East Tunnel, the one that takes you to Districte dels Madrilenys (Madrid People's District) and East Alarconia City. I kept listening to him.

"That guy told me that he went from Sydney to Melbourne to see his girlfriend and told me about a short trip..."
"It is a very long trip over the map."
"Here's my point. You as an Alarconian or me, as a Spaniard we could say: "Wow, this a pretty long distance"; but an Australian, a Russian, a Chinese or a North-American wouldn't say that.


I reduced my speed to get the Madrid People's Interchange, in order to take the A2 Highway. This part of the city had a better look than some months ago; which was a little dilapidated.


There was some traffic intensity in the A2, maybe there had been an accident before; but I didn't noticed anything.

"I had never thought about this..."
"Ask yourself something. Tell me in a single work how psicologically far is Barcelona from here?"
"Uffff... It is way far..."
"For me and for all my people; Alarconia is very near. I mean, Japan is far. Alarconia is near..."
"I guess this is your opinion..."
"This is where I wanted to arrive." he said, convinced. He had convinced me.


We kept straight on, but my customer didn't say anything more. I saw he began checking the pics he had taken before with his reflex camera.


"Nice pics?" I asked.
"I'm not good at photographing people."
"In my experience, this is much tougher than photographing buildings or landscapes."
"I can tell you that is actually tougher."
"Buildings don't move and don't complain if they don't look nice in the pic..." I joked, while travelling between the two Alarconia City Gate Towers.


We were arriving to Engineers Interchange, I kept straight on heading to Americana.


We were entering in West Americana, finally. I had the sensation of having been driving for ages. the sun had totally risen and I needed my sunglasses. I promised myself to put them on the next stoplight.

"Are we entering in Americana?" my customer said.
"Yes, but the place where you going is still a little far. "Far" from an Alarconian point of view, of course..." my customer smiled "Seriously, we have still to run a couple of kilometers.
"Is Americana nice?"
"In what sense?"
"It is a nice place to live? A pleasant place?" he asked.
"The places which aren't the downtown are very green and well-cared. The downtown is a little crazy for my taste, specially in game days."
"Are we in baseball season?"
"I would say not yet, but I'm not sure. I don't follow the baseball league."


I went off the A2 Highway and took Old Americana Road, which links, as Atlantic Avenue also does; East and West Americana. We passed besides Americana Aerodrome and went on; I was staring at the waste-to-energy plant high chimneys.


Americana was as green as usual, with its different architecture and its different way of life. They even had a recycling plant in their backyard.

"You're right, it is quite nice."
"It is also very land-consuming and water-consuming; but nice."
"Yes, those gardens must be watered frequently."
"This years many people have upgraded to a less water-consuming turf, more adequate for this climate we have; but still lots have to water their lawns every day."


We were entering now in Americana's midtown, if we could call it so. Zaidi Building is placed here, in that narrow strip that separates the downtown from the low district, a kind of Alarconia City suburbia.

"We're arriving now..." I informed him. My customer watched at the taximeter and looked in his wallet.
"I think I've broken a record with the Most Expensive Trip."
"I guess you've doing a great profit with me."
"I prefer this than rather the customers that tell me to carry them a couple of blocks far." I confessed.


I looked for Zaidi Building main entrance and stopped the car where I could. My customer handed me the 78.95 AL$ the trip had cost him. He gave me eighty Alarconian dollars and told me to keep the change.

"Believe me, next time take a bus or simply the UrbanRail or the Metro until the downtown and take a taxi there. It would be much cheaper."
"I know, I know... I'm such a newbie in this country..."
"Tomorrow you won't. Have a nice day and a happy stay."
"Thank you very much."

OK, I thought I deserved a Good Morning Starbucks Coffee...


Comment Replies

Paulobergonci: Thanks for your comment! Glad you liked the beach.

citiesxlfan42: Thank you too for your comment! I have no problem with another CJ, it would be great to see different approaches and a different city. I simply press PrintScreen key and then paste the pic on MS Paint to save it in *.bmp format and edit the pic later.

k50dude: Thanks for commenting! In fact, making this avenue more "normal" is one of the things I've got in my "To Do" list... I decided this after uploading the pic...

gotsomemilk: Thanks for your comment! Well, in my CJ I treat the tourists as I would do in real life and as taxi drivers do more or less in real life; at least, where I live.


Carrer dels Roures (Oak Street), 3:32 p.m.

If today was one more Sunday, I would be at home watching TV or going out with some friends. But today wasn't Sunday, it was Super Sunday; one of the most special days in Alarconia. Although it is not an official holiday, the country is paralized during several hours. First of all, at 5:00; the Alarconia Bowl is played between the two best teams in the LAFA (Lliga Alarconiana de Futbol Americà)* (Alarconian American Football League), which is played some hours before the NFL's Super Bowl. The NFL is strongly followed in Alarconia for the American-native but for the Catalan-native too; and you can be sure that it is lived with passion, to the extreme that the football (soccer) season takes a bye to concentrate all the attention to the Alarconia Bowl and Super Bowl.

I was called from the central to Oak Street, in Districte de Ca'n Rics (Riches District). In the radio, they were broadcasting a three-hour long previous program to the Alarconia Bowl.


This was a nice part of Alarconia City, but today it was really cloudy. My customers got into the car.

"Good afternoon..." I said, in Catalan.

"Good afternoon." they said. They were two men. One of them was wearing an Alarconia Almogavars jersey and the other an Americana Locomotives jersey.

"Where do we go?" an obvious question.

"Ixterconnections Stadium, please."

I still hadn't carried anybody there, they were the first ones. This was the way:


"So you're going to see the game, right?"

"Of course! I can't wait to arrive there!" said one of them.

"You're lucky, I think that tickets are really hard to find..."

"Well, I work for the Locos [Americana Locomotives] and I had some reserved tickets..."

"I guess you know pretty well the stadium."

"Oh, yes. It's a luxury to play the Alarconia Bowl in your home field." he said.

I went down Oak Street and turned left, going uphill on Carrer de Steiner (Steiner Street).


"Which is your picks?" I asked.

"I have to pick the Locos." said the guy who worked for them.

"And I pick the Almogavars because they're simply the best..." said the other one.

"I'm an Almogavars' supporter too." I said.

"But we play at home, don't forget."

I kept straight on.


This is the northernmost part of Riches District, now I headed to The Curves Road, while listening who were the starting team for Alarconia Almogavars, who played as visitor team, and Americana Locomotives who played as home team.

"Seems Godall is still injured..." said the Almogavars fan.

"Your OL will suffer a lot today."

They shut up in order to listen the rest of the starting teams.

Curves Road was as twisty and dangerous as everyday, my customers were safely tied by their seatbelts. There were still some unoccupied commercial lots besides the road.

"We're going to see a nice Alarconia Bowl today... What about the Super Bowl?" I asked them.

"It's going to be nice too... You know, powerful offenses... Peyton Manning!"

"Do you expect a shootout?"

"Don't know... A highly-scored Super Bowl is hard to see, but who knows..."


We were near the east entrance of the TransAlarconia Tunnel and Logistics City. I looked for Carretera de l'Est (East Road). They began talking between them.

"Have you had discussion before leaving?"

"Every year's the same. She says it's the worst day of the year..."

"If we stayed at home they would have to suffer seven years of American football."

"This is not your day if you don't like this sport, as they do."


We entered now in southern Districte dels Enginyers (Engineers District). This part of the city had changed a lot since the last time I was here.


We crossed the A2 highway passing besides a small fire station, and my customers began to see the highest part of the Ixterconnections Stadium from here.

"I have to confess you've built a really nice field..." said the Almogavars fan.

"I guess we deserved it; I was sick and tired of the e2i..." said the other one.

"Why?" I asked "I mean, I've never seen an American football game on a baseball field; is it very different?"

"In my opinion, it is very different. Everything is further, the players feel the difference between the grass and the earth... and you don't feel "at home". You know what I mean?"

"I see..."


We passed besides IES dels Enginyers (Engineers District Middle School) and I headed to Engineers Park, the place where a year ago Engineers Field stood. It was demolished and "replaced" by the Ixterconnections Stadium.

"What do Screwdrivers people say about the stadium?" I asked. Engineers City Screwdrivers and Alarconia Locomotives shared the new stadium.

"They like it; but they cannot fill it." said the Locomotives fan.


"Their attendance is really low, maybe... 20,000 people per game, more or less..."

"Do they miss their old stadium?"

"They don't seem to have many problems in sharing the stadium with us..."


[EDIT: traffic should be heavy, but you know that UDI missions always reduce drammatically the amout of cars and trucks in the road.]

Now, Engineers Park is the largest urban park in the nation, there are few of them. It is frequently said that Alarconia, specially Alarconia City lacks large parks like this. When Alarconians see the Central Park in New York City or Hyde Park in London, simply freak out.

Traffic was getting worse now. Although the Ixterconnections Stadium wasn't intended to go there by car, it had some parking lots and this made that lots of people decided to go there on their own.

I took Carretera de l'Estadi (Stadium Road), which was, in fact, an avenue.


We entered now in East Alarconia City, the place where the airport, the National Auditorium, the so-called City of Health and the Ixterconnections Stadium are. Suming up, all space-consuming structures are here. My two customers had stopped talking. They only could stare at the stadium; designed to impress you every time you look at it.


Stadium Road leads to a roundabout which was made to pacify the massive amount of cars that try to go to the road after the games.

"Where do I leave you?"

"Here, if you want; we'll go by walk to our gate."


I stopped the car and the taximeter in front of the southwestern gate.

"There will be 41.25 AL$, please." The Locomotives fan looked in his wallet.

"I'll put the 1.25 remainining, Joan."

"Here you are 20..." said the Almogavars fan, they seemed to pay only the half of the trip each other. The other one gave me the rest of the money and they opened the doors.

"Enjoy the game!" I said.

"Thanks, have a nice Super Sunday."

"I will, bye!"

"Good bye."

I headed to the downtown, maybe some more people want to be carried to the stadium. In five hours I have to be there with the rest of the taxi drivers in all the country, waiting for customers. This is our Super Sunday.

Annex: Alarconian American Football League Division I teams

East Conference

Americana Locomotives (red and navy blue)

Sorrent Spiders (black and white)

Port de Catalunya Pioneers (maroon and yellow)

Engineers City Screwdrivers (light blue and yellow)

Cap de la Plata Enforcers (silver and red)

Atlantic Tech Blitz (light green and brown)

West Conference

Alarconia Almogavars (black and gold)

Costa Verda Green Jackets (green and white)

La Florida Kings (red and white)

American College Panthers (navy blue and gold)

University of Alarconia Albatrosses (silver and blue)

Long Island Crashers (orange and white)


Comment Reply

k50dude: Thanks for following my two CJ's so actively! About the logos, I can't have a logo for each CJ, it has to be the same for all. For example, I remember thepokemaniac who had three CJ's at a time and had to use the same logo for all of them...

naftixe: Thanks for your comment and for that piece of knowledge! Now I know I can't plagiarize myself; but I just wanted to avoid that somebody could think: "Hey, this is the same pic I saw in the previous entry; not very original..." They are the same buildings, but the entire surroundings have been improved and I had to wait for the sunset to take the pic. Then; I photoedited it more carefully than the one in the regular entry...


Carrer de Maricel (Skysea Street), 9:38 a.m.

It was an early trip in the morning, it was strange to be called so early from one of the largest hotels in the nation. During summer, it isn't normal but during winter this is even more strange... Anyways, I went to the Skysea Hotel to see what surprises I had to face today.


The shadow of the five Skysea Hotel towers were falling over the Atlantic Ocean now. I was listening the early news on the radio when a couple of people went into the car. I asked, in English:

"Good morning..."

"Good morning for you too..." said the couple. They seemed to be wife and husband and they were clearly tourists. They were dressed as tourists.

"Where do we go?"

"To the... Museum of Technology..." they couldn't remember the exact name.

"Ah, OK, I know. The old one, right?"


I hadn't had to use the GPS to know that this would be the fastest route:


This leaded to ask myself why they hadn't taken the oldest ferry line in the nation to go from here to there. Maybe they didn't know, but I was sure that the touristic guide the woman was carrying should say something about the ferry.

I started the car and went to take Avinguda de l'Atlàntic (Atlantic Avenue). Once again Atlantic Avenue, passing besides some more hotels. All this part of the coast is full of them. The couple were looking at their guide.


"I guess you're not from here..." I said.

"You're right, how have you known?" asked the man.

"For your touristic guide." I lied. In fact I knew because of their clothes. "Where are you from?"

"We're from Birmingham, Britain."

"Nice... Have you ever been here before?"

"We came here before getting married, now we're celebrating our tenth aniversary..."

"My congratulations..." I said.

I kept straight on, besides the Terrace, some events are held here at night such jazz concerts; and it is the place where fireworks are placed when we celebrate our national holidays.


"We arrived here yesterday at night. What do you recommend us to see first?"

"I guess you know many things when you came here for the first time."

"I have to say we didn't explore the island very much, we stayed at the beach mainly."

"Well, near the Skysea Hotel you have the CBD and the Old Quarter, they are maybe the most touristic places here. And you've chosen a good time to come, at Summer some popular places are crowded..."

"What about museums?"

"The one you're going to is my favourite, but if you're looking for art, you should visit the Contemporary Art Center, near the stadium; and the Alarconian National Gallery, very near the convention center."


Although in winter, Bay Beach was full of surfists and crazy people who considered that having a morning bath in cold water made them well. In this part of the year, nearby hotels were quite empty, the only tourists came to Alarconia for making the so-called "cultural tourism".

"You know, there are plenty of things to see here, maybe we're not a touristic powerhouse but I think that you can see nice places everywhere you go." I announced.

"Certainly..." said the man, still looking to his guide.


Traffic along Bay Beach was light, we were beyond the rush hour and this part of the avenue isn't very travelled during rush hour. We were entering now in Fishermen District, slowly absorbed by Little Hong Kong. Its most prominent part is Fishermen Cemetery, the oldest existing cemetery in the city.


"And were can we eat traditional Alarconian food?"

"Ufff... tough question..." I dubbed. "I don't know many restaurants, maybe asking in your hotel will give better results... The only one I know well is Great Babylon, in Commerce Plaza."

"What kind of food is served there?"

"It was a pizzeria ten years ago, but a new management made it a traditional restaurant although the name wasn't changed."

"I guess we'll give it a try..."

We were travelling now through Little Hong Kong.

"Here, in Little Hong Kong you can find some great Chinese restaurants, but I can't name an specific one..."


Atlantic Avenue continued by the cliffhanger. In my opinion, this wasn't a nice part of the city. The avenue is like this, you can see nice things and not-so-nice things without changing your direction.

This was the core of Little Hong Kong, the main settlement for Asian inmigrants in Alarconia City. They even built their homes in a Hong Kong style.


"Why tall buildings stop here?" asked the woman.

"You'll know when you hop off the taxi..."

"What do you mean?"

"It's a polluted zone, we're very near the Industrial District. In fact, the museum is inside the Industrial District."

"The place where Industrial Revolution started."

"Exactly." I said.


We were approaching to the Old Lighthouse, the one that guided the ships into the old Alarconia Seaport during the 19th century. Nowadays, it is used as a touristic information center.

"Does this lighthouse work?"

"No, it doesn't. It is now an information center, but it's placed in a not very useful zone. I mean, the only interesting thing around here is the museum and Saint Suzanne church..."


Now it was the time when we left Atlantic Avenue and entered in Avinguda de l'Indústria (Industry Avenue). During the 19th century, it was planned to allow goods to be shipped to/from the seaport easily. With the rise of automobiles, commuters are stuck here during rush hour.

"I can see the chimney." said the man.

"There are a bunch of them here, I guess they are a lot of them in England, too..."

"They tell about our history."

"Well, chimneys are even more important in a 300-years-old country. I mean, we have not much history to be proud of, so we have to take care of it."

I made a U-turn in the next crossing, and parked the car just in front of the Museu Alarconià d'Història de la Ciència i la Tecnologia (MAHiCiT) (Alarconian Museum of History of Science and Technology). The surroundings didn't seem very cozy, there were some abandoned stores and some dirt along the avenue; nothing to be very proud of.


"Here we are." I stopped the taximeter "There will be 39.15 Alarconian Dollars, please..."

"Can we pay with Euros?"

"Of course, it's the same amount, 39.15."

They gave me a 50 Euro banknote and told me to keep the coins with me, so I only gave back to them a 10 AL$ note.

"You won't have any problem in paying with Euros here, we accept them as it was our usual currency."

"We knew that. Bye-bye!" they said.

"Have a nice stay and a nice day!"

"Thank you."

OK, I had to go back to the downtown because nobody would take a taxicab here.

Comment Replies
k50dude: As usual, thank you! I had been trying this days to find an excuse to talk about Kate, I think I've found it.
elpibedelobo: Gràcies pel comentari!
M'encanta veure simtropolitans catalans pel CJ, espero que segueixis venint!

Plaça del Comerç (Commerce Plaza), 11:03 a.m.

It was a cold morning even in the downtown. The shadow projected by the skyscrapers didn't let the sun in and; if it wasn't by the taxicab heating and a hot coffee; I would be freezing. Suddenly, my personal cellular phone rang. Kate, we hadn't met since Christmas; she had been pretty busy this January.

"Hello?" I said.
"Hi... It's Kate."
"Hi, hi... Nice to hear you again, how are you?"
"Fine, thanks. A little busy now... Hey, can you pick me up? Are you on-duty?" she seemed to be in a hurry.
"No, I'm just waiting; of course I can pick you up."
"I'm in front of the Tech Building; are you far?
"In Commerce Plaza, I'll be there in a couple of minutes."
"Fine then, see you."
"See ya!"

I only had to run a block to Carrer del Vallès (Valley Street) and I waited in front of Tech Building, besides an AlarcoTram station.


I saw how Kate came and hopped on the taxi.

"Good morning, Kate..."
"Hey, nice to meet you again!"
"Say the same... Where do we go?"
"To the Department of Industry and Energy building, please."
"OK, I know where it is."

I didn't need to use the GPS device to imagine this route; an easy one:


"Well... What's up? What do you do?"
"I got not much to say, I've been working a lot during this month."
"Something amazing?"
"It's all about patents..."

I turned right to Carrer del Mil·lenari (Millenium Street) and then to the left to take Passeig del Ferrocarril (Railroad Promenade). This is the eastern edge of the "Scar in Alarconia's Face". Since the begginning of the year, the project of taking the Autopista (The Highway) underground in this part of the city had been largely discussed. It would be a colossal project.

"What's wrong with patents?"
"We're patenting some new products and preparing to release them shortly."
"What kind of products?"
"I'm sorry but I can't talk about them."
"I guess they are an industrial secret."
"They are."
"Too bad..." I said. I'm too curious.


"Do you think that the Highway project could be done?"
"Alarconia has seen lots of mega-projects, but I think they've gone too far with this one. I mean, it's not only digging a new highway, like Boston's Big Dig; it is also moving all Metro lines that run underneath and see what can be done with that railroad tracks."
"I say that this is an ugly part of our city, but a Big Dig would carry years of works and traffic problems and traffic problems in this part of the city can be very harmful."

I left Railroad Promenade and got into the Highway besides Post Square.


The Highway was quite empty today; not much traffic.

"I guess you taxi drivers are against this project..."
"It's a priority for us keeping this artery as it is."
"Even if it is improved?"
"I know it lacks some on and off ramps, but anything can be done without causing trouble..." I said convinced.
"I see..."


"And what about your life?" asked Kate.
"Nothing new. Everyday inside the taxi and going to the stadium to see the games..."
"How are F.C. Alarconia doing?"
"Don't you know? They're on fire now! If they keep this pace they can reach the Champions League final again..."
"Sweet... I'm sorry but I don't understand that much about football."
"I know, but I guess you remember when they won the European Cup some years ago."
"That day the city went mad? I remember."


We passed besides Alarconia Savings Bank Tower and kept straight in this claustrophobic part of the city.

"What about you? Something interesting?" I asked now.
"I'm going to Milano in three days. I had never been there before... Do you?"
"Yes, once. In my Friends European Tour, as we call it."
"Is it nice?"
"We only spent there a couple of days, but I was amazed by the Duomo; you know, the cathedral."
"It became my favourite non-skyscraper building." I said. This is important.
"I guess you're going there for business..."
"Yes, but I'll take a couple of days to do some tourism."
"If you don't come with me, yes." she said, looking at me through the mirror.
"I don't know if I can..."
"You only have to tell me; I can say you're my assistant or whatever and you won't pay your flight."


"Hmm... temptative..."
"There would be two days for work and two days for tourism... Now seriously, can you come with me?"
"I'll see if I can take some holidays. I have to ask with the boss and this kind of things..."
"Yes, I know. Tell me when you know something, OK?"

We left Districte de Les Planes (Plains District) behind and entered in Broken District.


Broken District kept as split by the Highway as usual.

"If someone had told me only five hours ago that you would tell me to go to Milano with you; I would have laughed on its face..."
"You see, in this taxicab happen amazing things!"
"Political discussions, secret meetings, births; everything can be done in that backseat."

We were arriving, I only had to take the next off-ramp and turn left, along Carrer de la Congestió (Congestion Road).


I stopped the taximeter and the car in a not-very-safe place.

"There will be 30.45 AL$, Kate. I'm sorry but I have to charge you..." I said, printing the recipe. She always wanted a recipe for her business taxi trips."
"I don't have it in cash, I guess you can take credit cards..."
"Sure." I took it, inserted it and let her type her secret number before giving her credit card back.
"Thanks for the ride."
"And thanks for the offer, Kate."
"You know, when you know something, please call me."
"I will. Have a nice day!"
"Same to you, bye!"

I started the engine and decided that I would ask my boss during lunchtime.
Comment Replies
Schulmanator: Thanks for your comment!
k50dude: Thanks for commenting, my friend!
CTMandR: Thanks for your comment, glad you liked it! And good luck on your new CJ!
gilikov1994: Thanks for your comment! You're right, it's the Belgian license plate!

Hey, seems that nobody was able to tell me who belong the original logos I used in the last entry... There were some quite tough, but others were easy. The tough ones, the flag (belongs to a Valencian independentist movement), the airlines (Garuda Indonesian airline) and the metro logo (Seville Metro). The easier ones, the football coat of arms (Sunderland F.C.), the Atlantic Tech logo (Illinois Tech logo). The easiest of all for the American readers should have been the Almogavars logo, that is identical to NCAA's Army Black Knights. When I saw it, I thought "this one is for me".

Now let's go with the update after a couple of exam weeks.

34, Arena Beltway, West Americana, 1:30 p.m.

I was called from the Central again when I was having my lunch, a simple sandwich. I sweared and then, went to the place I was told. It isn't difficult, Arena Beltway is simply, the road that goes round the HSBC Arena. If it wasn't for it, I think West Americana wouldn't exist.


The 34th was a building with a strange angled roof. I had seen this kind of roofs in mountain zones, where it snows heavily during the winter. It has never snown in Alarconia, so I guessed the architect wanted to give a personal touch and that's all.

My customer appeared and looked for me until she found me.

"Good afternoon..." I said, in English.
"Good afternoon. Can you take me to the airport's Terminal C, please?"
"Terminal C? Isn't it the cargo terminal?"
"Sure. I'm not wrong..."
"OK, let's go..."
The most sensible option was taking the A2 motorway until Engineers Interchange, so this is what I did.

"I think I have never carried anyone to the cargo terminal." I said honestly.
"You wouldn't be carrying me if my daughter hadn't taken my car..." said the woman. She was in her fourties and dressed discreetly, ready-to-work.
"Has she stolen it?"
"No, not at all... Her friends and her have gone to The City, you know, sales..."
"I try to avoid shopping during this first days of sales." I said.
"I do too..." she looked at the newspaper besides her and said: "All this people are having so horrible times and we are spending our money happily in the sales..."
"That's how we work, don't we?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean nobody we don't know will change radically his life when we're dead..."

We left Americana behind and entered in Alarconia City municipality.


I followed the signs pointing to Atlantic Tech campus, and took the ramp which leads to Engineers Highway. Traffic was heavy in this part of the city.

"Seems you know pretty well the island... I thought you would carry me on the long way..."
"No way." I laughed "I don't activate the GPS when I'm absolutely sure about the way to take. And taking you the long way would give me some more bucks but it would make that you wouldn't take a taxi anymore."
"Possibly, yes."

The radio news began and I turned up the radio volume, they were talking about the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. The woman then saw the newspaper on the backseat.

When I saw she took her cellular phone from her bag I turned down the radio again to let her speak properly. You don't need to be very sharp to guess whe was talking to her daughter. Meanwhile; I kept enjoying the traffic in Engineers Highway.


All drivers had to slow down when the highway becomes an avenue and the elevated metro lines get in the avenue median. We passed besides the Universitat Politècnica de l'Atlàntic (Atlantic Technological University) dorm buildings. At our right hand we had the Computer Engineering Technical School. In the roundabout, I took the first avenue, heading south.

We were passing now besides the "old part" of the university.

"So you work at the cargo terminal..."
"How have you known?"
"Nobody goes to the cargo terminal to take a plane. If you go there, it is because you work there" I said.
"Yes, I'm land operations chief."
"What do you do?"
"Well... directing all land traffic, coordinating the warehouses... this kind of things..."
"I see." I said, without seeing anything.


We kept south, passing besides the ATU Gymnasium and watching how the Ixterconnections Stadium structure emerged in the horizon. The penultimate "megaproject" Alarconia had seen.

"What do you think about the stadium?" I asked the woman.
"Finally the Locos [for Americana Locomotives] have a decent home."
"Decent? It's huge!"
"I guess they have to demonstrate the Almogavars who's the best..."
"What's wrong with the ballpark?"
"It's a ballpark. A proper football team cannot play in a ballpark, in my opinion."
"The e2i Field is not a regular ballpark, its the symbol of Americana."
"Well, it seems we need a new symbol..." she said convinced.


The Ixterconnections Stadium was the penultimate "megaproject" Alarconia had seen during this decade. This stadium is going to host all Americana Locomotives and Engineers City Screwdrivers home games and NFL International Series games until 2015. It replaces the old Engineers Field (where today stands Engineers Park). It was the first time I passed besides it, and seemed even bigger than I thought.

We could see the airport from here, a large military cargo aircraft was taxiing.

"Have you had problems with the Haiti thing?" I asked, aware of what I had been listening on the radio.
"We've been having more movement, but the most part of operations are being managed by military people, so we cannot do many things..."
"You know US Marines, and other armies from Europe. If we had an Army, this wouldn't happen..."
"If we had an Army you would have to pay for it..." I said

We passed besides the fishing port and entered into the Daniel J. Alarcón International Airport precinct.


The cargo terminal was far away from the other terminals, you need to there by car or by truck. I saw how my customer began looking for her purse. Before the construction of the Terminal C, cargo was handled at Alarconia City Aerodrome, but larger aircrafts couldn't land here, which restricted the big companies from landing there. The new terminal is capable of hosting the largest cargo airplanes.


"Where can I park here?"
"You won't have any problem parking a moment here."
"OK..." I stopped the car over the sidewalk, nobody was walking there now. "There will be 28.35 AL$, please."
"Here you are 30, keep the change!"
"Thank you, have a nice day!"
"Same to you, bye!"
"Good bye"

I made a U-turn where I could and then, headed to the commercial terminals, looking for more customers. One more afternoon in Alarconia.
Comment Replies
CTMandR: Thanks for your comment! I don't think I'm going to develop it, because Sorrent is a "plop city". I call "plop cities" the ones that cannot be playable because they lose several thousands of simoleons per month because the things I've plopped on them are very expensive.
wuste81: Thanks for your comment, question answered in the previous entry.
WillyGuy: Thanks for commenting!
Retep Molinari: As usual, thanks for your comment! Question answered in the previous entry. BTW, I've just realized that "Retep" read backwards is Peter!
k50dude: As usual, thank you, friend! I've photoshopped my own teams as you'll see right now, so I don't need help on that side. I've got much more problems on designing my own logos/coats of arms; I always have to take them from somewhere and I need to spend a lot of time doing this.

First of all, I bet all the viewers to tell which organism (countries, transport systems, sports teams) belong all the modified logos I'm showing below. I know I should create my own logos, but this requires higher Photoshop skills...

The official Atlantic Democratic Republic of Alarconia coat of arms:


It shows the Atlantic Ocean, the Saint Peter's key, the Catalan stripes and a palm tree, simbolizing Alarconia's tropical character.

Following, the official Flag of the Atlantic Democratic Republic of Alarconia, shown in the Christmas entry:


The standard vehicle license plate:

And the national air flag carrier livery: [templates available at http://www.freewebs.com/jetabout/]

Let's go sporty and see the F.C. Alarconia football club coat of arms:

Now a pic of the Allianz Arena in game day:

Let's see now the Alarconia Almogavars American football logos:

A banner...

And the team uniforms (note the stripes on the sleeves):

Finally, the Metro logo:

And the Atlantic Tech University logo:
I've tried my best, tell me what you think and try to find out who belong the actual logos and coats of arms!
Comment Replies
k50dude: Thanks for commenting again! I had never seen before the "retarded" word applied to a building!
Schulmanator: Thanks for your comment, may I serve a little milk for your kitties?
CTMandR: Thanks for your comments and your question? The two teams named in the previous entry share the stadium, which is Allianz Arena. I'm currently working on some logos and venues for the sports teams, you'll hear about them!

I see the Town Hall has succeeded in catching your eye!

First of all, thanks again because we've hit 20,000+ views since July 2009! I don't know if we've gone fast or slow, but one thing is sure; I'm really happy!

Avinguda de Patch (Patch Avenue), 4:21 p.m.

It was 6th of January and I still remembred New Year's Eve celebration; but I had to work. In Alarconia, this day is holiday because we celebrate the Epiphany, the day when kids (and not-so-kids) open the presents the Three Wise Men have left them.

There are three "Christmassy" people in Alarconia: In December 25th, the Catalan-native got their presents from the Tió de Nadal, which is a log you have to kick with a stick to make it "poop" the presents (weird, ¿huh?) while the American-native recieve their presents from Santa Claus. Then, in January 6th, Epiphany Day, the Three Wise Men carry the presents for the Catalan-native remembering the three presents given to Jesus.

Although this celebration is much more intense in Catalan-native families, it is a national holiday and families go outside to have some leisure before going back to school or work. And I was the one who carried to the leisure places.

I was called from the Central to go to the Hong Kong Condominiums, seen on Trip 17. This building is a short drive far the city center.

Then, an entire family came into the taxi, occupying the four remainining seats. Mom, dad and two kids.

"Wow, good afternoon, family." I had heard them speaking in Catalan, so this is the language I asked.
"Good afternoon. Can I sit here?" asked the man, pointing the other front seat.
"Of course..." he fully opened the door and got into, then he fastened his seatbelt.
"Could you take us to the SkiCenter?"
"Just let me look for it in the GPS..."


I observed that the SkiCenter still didn't appeared on the satellite mapping, but the route provided was enough. I only wanted to know the shortest route to go there.
I started the engine after choosing the highest fare (4 people, the maximum I was allowed to carry) and followed along Patch Avenue, until the crossing with Carrer del Salze (Willow Street), which I took uphill. The kids, a boy and a girl, they seemed twins; were a little nervous.


"So are you going to do some skiing?" I asked the kids.
"Yes, we do."
"Have you ever been in a real ski resort?
"No." asked the girl.
"We wanted to go to Andorra this holidays, but it is very expensive. You know, the flight to Europe, the transport to Andorra, hirings, forfaits..."
"This is because the SkiCenter was built, I guess."

The SkiCenter was one of the few indoor ski slopes in the world, located in Alarconia because few people can afford travelling to Europe or the Americas to do some sport. Built in 2007, it rapidly became a popular place for families, although being far away from the main leisure centers.

"So this is your present, right?"
"We've had some more presents, too." said the boy.
"What do the Three Wise Men brought to you?" I asked him.
"A Wii, a book, some sweets..."


We passed besides CEIP Barri de C'an Rics (Riches District Elementary School) and kept going uphill. The woman in the GPS device hadn't worked very much because the way was straight upon.

"... and they've brought you some coal, too." said the mom. If kids have behaved badly during the year, the Wise Men may leave them a piece of coal instead of presents.
"Yes, they must be wrong because I've been good..." said the girl. Her parents laughed.
"Do some skiing is your last today's present."


We were now in the highest neighbourhood in the nation, the views of the entire island were great from one of these apartments. This is because they are around 25% more expensive than the same apartment in the middle of the city.

"Everything right this Christmas?" asked the man, asking to me. I wasn't used to hear questions like that."
"Yes, I can't complain. The Wise Men have been good with me and I've got some spare time I needed."
"Haven't you gone anywhere?"
"No, not at all. I can't afford it, but I'm planning my summer holidays right now."


We left Riches District behind and entered in the industrial park under the communications tower, which is unnamed. Driving there during a national holiday is a pleasant experience due there aren't mad workers arriving late nor misparked trucks blocking the way. The kids began a little fight the mom quickly stopped making me a huge favour. I get really nervous with this kind of things in my taxicab.


We arrived now to Sun Industrial Park, the place where the environment-related industries, the solar power plants and the National Zoo are placed. It is very near the Alarconia City municipality line, the limit with the town of Sorrent. The kids saw the SkiCenter's high structure and stayed quiet for a while, while leaving Alarconia City and entering in Sorrent.

"I have never been into the SkiCenter. How is it?"
"Well, nothing more than you see here. A huge slope with different steepness depending on the zone, with a gondola lift on one side..." said the man.


We only had to take the first corner to the right, going into Carrer de la Neu (Snow Street), what an original name! The woman began looking on her purse.


As I wasn't a customer, I wasn't allowed to get into the parking lot with the taxicab, so I had to stop in the street.

"There will be 37.55 AL$, please."
"Hold on a second..." said the woman, struggling with her purse, until she took two 20 AL$ banknotes.
"Please, keep the change and have a nice 2010..."
"Same to you!" I replied, while they all were getting off.
"Thanks, goodbye!"

I went down Atlantic Avenue, looking for a customer in the central part of Sorrent.

Comment Replies

Retep Molinari: Thanks a lot!

CTMandR: Thanks a lot to you too! Keep both with your CJ's!

k50dude: Thank you too, man!


Plaça de McCormick (McCormick Square), 10:25 a.m.

Waiting again on McCormick's, one of my default places along with Commerce Plaza, the airport and Daniel J. Alarcón Plaza. In fact, because of the nearby Starbucks Coffee, this is one of my favourite waiting places. It was a cold and sunny morning and the newspaper was full of interesting news. Yes, I felt optimistic.


I saw how a tall man in his sunglasses, carrying a briefcase went off McCormick Building, "a place for the wealthy". This residential skyscraper is the perfect place to live for financial advisors, executive directors and their families. The man looked at the taxi row and I looked at him. I was the first of the row, so I was the chosen one. He opened the door and went into the taxicab, without asking.

"Good morning, sir."

"Good morning..." he said, taking off his sunglasses.

"Where do we go?"

"Alarconia City Town Hall, please."

"I guess the new one..."

"Yes, the horrible one." he said smiling. I understood him.

The new Alarconia City Town Hall, built in 1968; was voted year after year as the worst building in the nation, as you'll see later. Most of the people I know, simply hate it and appreciate much more the older one; which hosts nowadays the Ministry of Social Affaires.

I started the engine and took Carrer del Tramvia (Tramway Street), following the AlarcoTram tracks. Months ago, traffic in this part of the city was a hell for drivers but, since the tram opening, the zone was much more pacified. We were passing besides the Alarconia Stock Exchange when the man said:


"Don't you think it's horrible?"

"The town hall?"


"Depends on who you ask. Some find brutalist style as "nice"." I said, not very convinced.

"Do you think?"

"Well, I've got time to watch at the buildings in this country and then I try to read about them on the Internet." I said, while stopping the car in frot of the Carrer del Vallès (Valley Street) stoplights. We were just in front of AlarconiaTechCorp Building and I remembered Kate. I would call her when I arrive home.

"I guess I should have to read more about brutalism..." said the man.

"Then I guess you're not an architect..."


We kept along Tramway Street, going through the Commerce District, commonly known as CBD.

"No, I'm not. I work as a City Sports Councillor."

"It must be a nice job... I mean, encouraging sports from the base, this kind of things."

"It's not so nice, usually the large teams are always pushing to talk with them, they want favours, not very nice... But then I think in school sports leagues and keep working."

"I remember when I competed in school leagues..."

"What did you do?"

"Track-and-field; specially cross-country."

"Did you were good at it?"

"No, I was always the last of the row, but I had fun..."

"That's the important thing..."

We arrived to Plaça de Grace Kelly (Grace Kelly Plaza) and Tramway Street became Carrer D (D Street). This was the original name the Founders gave to the fourth horizontal street that runs across the Old Quarter.

We were arriving to El Mur (The Wall) and I was able to see the Alarconia City General Hospital, standing in the same place it was built lots of years ago.


"What did you practice?"

"American football."

"Wow, you were one of the pioneers..." I was surprised.

"I know, I know... when I began, there were only a couple of teams here. Nowadays, we have a powerful league. You can't compare it to NFL, but I'm sure our national team would beat without problems all the European ones in a world championship..."

"The popularity of American football has risen dramatically since the 70s..."

"It is nice how it has adapted to Alarconia. I mean, it seemed that any sport would replace football, it has been played here for more than a century but well, it was first practiced by the American-native and then... by everybody!"


We were travelling now through the gridded Old Quarter, the place where you can see the heritage the Founders left here. It is generally a nice place to live, but some complain about it is far from the CBD and the geographical center of the city. Unfortunately, very few buildings had been preserved.

"Do you like football?"

"I used to have a scarf and a flag showing over the taxi shelf, behind of you. The scarf was for football team F.C. Alarconia and the flag, as there are no scarfes for American football teams; for Alarconia Almogavars. But then, the taxi company told me to remove them, because we aren't allowed to show this kind of things..."

"So you like football."

"I'm not an addict, I watch Almogavars' games and I follow the league, but I'm not a fanatic. More or less like football, basketball or handball..."

"What about baseball?" he asked.

"I'm sorry but I can't stand it."


"In my opinion, too boring for me. And the Alarconia City team has never been the best, this doesn't help though..."


[EDIT: sorry for the trees in the park, they are supposed to be leafless because we're on Winter.]

We had to climb a hill, if we were going to the other side of the hill we would have taken the Town Hall Tunnel, which runs below the building. We could see the brutalist building in front of us, so my customer began looking for his wallet and counting money.

Then, when the car managed to climb the steep road, I entered in Plaça de l'Ajuntament (Town Hall Plaza) and stopped where I could, stopping the taximeter too.


"There will be 29.15 AL$, please".

"Here you are 30, please keep the change."

"Thank you! Have a nice day!" I said, checking he hadn't left his briefcase on the seat. I've seen lots of briefcases forgotten in that backseat.

"Same to you. Bye!"

I felt how the cold breeze entered into the car and then, I turned on the heating.


Trixie Winners!

I know I updated yesterday, but I have to write an extra update to say thanks.

My CJ has been nominated to three Golden Llama Awards (aka Trixies) categories, "Best Short Stories", "Most Enternatining CJ" and "Most Eye-Catching and Original CJ Title". I've been runner-up for the second category (Zelgadis is really good telling stories) and WON the third one. This is because I want to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH to everybody who has stopped by and specially to the one/ones who have nominated me. Also, I want to congratulate the winners of the other Trixies; they all deserve they awards.

After this days, I'll keep working thinking more updates and, who knows, more eye-catching titles!



Comment Replies
thepokemaniac: Thanks for your comment! Glad you liked it although we have different styles of "newspapering".
shyguy from SC4D:  Thanks for commenting! I expect to see you soon around here!

Today was a different night, it was Christmas Eve night and I didn't had to work. In fact, there were only a handful of taxi drivers out there, the rest of us we were with our families; about to hear the President's Christmas Annual Speech, broadcasted by all TV channels and all radio stations in the nation.

I was with my parents in my apartment, ready to listen the President first and then begin having the dinner. As in many countries, we celebrate specially Christmas Eve but also Christmas Day and St. Stephen's Day (Boxing Day). This night they came to my place and tomorrow I'm going to their place, the home I've grown.


Jaume Berguedà, the President de la Generalitat d'Alarcònia; appeared in his bureau, with an Alarconian flag behind him and began talking. An entire nation was listening his words in Catalan and maybe reading the subtitles in English in that moment:


The speech ended fifteen minutes later and my family and I began having dinner; as thousands of households were doing, commenting the speech.

Merry Christmas for all Simtropolis members, regular readers of this CJ, regular commentors, lurkers, everyone!

Comment Replies
CTMandR: Thanks for your comment! Glad you liked the pics!
k50dude: Thanks for your... Thanks a lot!

Retep Molinari: Thank you too for your comment! I'm looking forward your next CJ!

After a week of hard work, here comes the update. As you'll see, I've photoshopped the pics a little bit, but I'm not very happy with them... You'll give the veredict!

Carrer de la Sorra (Sand Street), Cap de la Plata, 12:21 a.m.

I was called from the Central far away from the Downtown. I had to go to Cap de la Plata, which is really far compared where I tend to go for picking up customers. I left the newspaper in the backseat, as usual with the frontpage facing upside.

Some minutes later; I arrived where the GPS device's voice pointed to. It seemed a high-standing building with high-standing residents inside.
My customer appared inmediatly, it was a man; who hopped into the car quickly.

"Where do we go, sir?" I asked in Catalan. I knew that the most part of Cap de la Plata residents are Catalan-natives.
"¿Can you take me to 51, Leno Street, please?"
"No problem, let me type the address on the GPS..." I knew where was the street, but I wasn't sure about the shortest route.
The woman inside the device show me this route:


I started the taximeter and the engine, and looked for Carretera del Penyasegat (Cliffhanger Road). This should be a continuation of Atlantic Avenue, but there wasn't enough room and enough traffic to make such an upgrade.

"What a sun, huh?" I said, putting on my sunglasses.
"You're right. It isn't normal this Fall days."
"I don't know. Blame the climate change."
"How are temperatures in the City?"
"I'm all day long inside the car, so I'm not the appropiate person to be asked..." I said, smiling.
"I see." My customer rang a bell on me. I thought I had seen him before, somewhere.


I took Cliffhanger Road heading north; while looking to my customer through the mirror; he was right now checking the Metro newspaper. Then, I concentrated on the road, it is a tricky one and there's a lot of traffic.


We were passing besides the closed coastal restaurants when I finally asked:

"Do we know ourselves?"
"I don't think so. Maybe you know me."
"How?" I asked.
"Modestly, do you watch TV?"
"Not much."
"Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at midnight." he said. Then I knew.
"Oh, no! You're Andrew Goodfountain! How have I been so blind!"


Andrew Goodfountain is the most well known comediant in Alarconia and one of the most popular faces in the nation. He runs "Goodfountain" a late night show full of humours monologues, sketches, interviews and this kind of things.

"I'm sorry but I don't watch TV that usually."
"You don't have to be sorry about it..." he replied without problem.
"Can I ask why are you going to Leno Street? I don't remember any special structure there."
"I'm going to see a friend of mine, he's sick at home."
"I see..." I said.

We were near the Ciutat d'Alarcònia (Alarconia City) municipality line. This is North Cap de la Plata, made of some factories, the city power plant, the city cemetary and a dozen of small farms.


We entered in Alarconia City passing by Cliffhanger Field, the home field for Cap de la Plata Avengers, an LAFA (Lliga Alarconiana de Futbol Americà) (Alarconian American Football League) team. We left Cliffhanger road and turned left to take Carrer de les Carbasses (Pumpkins Road)


We were running besides the rusty elevated Metro tracks.

"I guess you've carried many really famous people here..." Andrew said.
"Well, famous... During the last months I've carried an opera singer and the Ministry of Economy. Sometimes I carry football players and other times TV people, like you. But nobody really famous."
"What do you mean with "really famous"?"
"For example, I think I'll never see Britney Spears sitting where you are."
"She's got her own limo."
"That's what I'm saying." I said.

I kept on Pumpkins Road and then turned right, looking for Avinguda de Ricatxons (Ricatxons Avenue). We were near Ricatxons Velodrome, the symbol of the Alarconian economical rising during the 20th century, although this neighbourhood had been a little dilapidated the last months.


Traffic was really light here and I drove the easy way.

"Maybe you have the opportunity of carrying somebody important the next day."
"Why to you say this?"
"Seems this Rammstein band is quite famous..."
"Rammstein! The paper is talking about them, right? I love their music!"
"Seriously? I had never heard anything from them."
"They play the kind of music I play on this car when I'm off-duty."
"Are you going to the concert tonight?"
"I bought my tickets months ago..." I said confidently.


I turned right taking Carretera dels Arquitectes (Architects Road) and then left, to take the A3 Motorway, known as the Intra-City Motorway. It runs east-west going from here to the National Landfill and the island's west end.

"Do you want to hear something from them?"
"Why not?"

I turned off the radio and selected one of the CD's I had loaded in the audio system. It was Rammstein's last album and some seconds before, heavy guitars were sounding inside the taxi.


Andrew told me to switch them off in 0:58 seconds of playtime of their first song. He said it was enough and maybe he would use it in tonight's program. I got back to the radio. We were passing besides the Parliament Building, former USSR Embassy, seen in many entries before. At our right hand we had the Sea Mountain Residential District, very near Allianz Arena.


Some dozens of meters later, we were passing besides Districte de l'Acer (Steel District) and over Carretera de l'Acer (Steel Road). It is named like this because this is the first place where the Metro line was elevated. One of the new Metro trains was accelerating over the highway and I thought I liked them.


"Do you thing I should talk about Rammstein in tonight's program?"
"As you said: Why not?"
"Are they well known?"
"If you like this kind of music, yes; but they are still far from being mainstream."
"Tell me where's the concert and I'll tell you if they're mainstream or not."
"HSBC Arena, in West Americana."
"Quite mainstream."
"Maybe. I don't care if they are or not."
"Well done." Andrew said.

[EDIT: Never mind the free-air swimming pool, people doesn't tend to go swimming in December.]

I went off the highway in the third exit, which was under the shadow made by the building my customer was going to. It was one of the big hi-rises in this part of the city, we were now in Porta de La Florida (La Florida Gate). The worst part of living here is having very cute sights of the National Landfill, the Industrial Zone and PetroAlarconia Complex.

I turned left, taking finally Leno Street and making the GPS device go quiet. I parked where I could in that street full of traffic, and then I stopped the taximeter.

"There will be 37.85 AL$, Andrew." he was looking in this wallet. The photograph on his ID card seemed very old.
"Here you are 40 AL$. Keep the change and if possible, watch the show tonight!"
"Sure I'll do! Let's see what do you say about Rammstein... Good bye!
"Bye, bye!"

He shut the door and I saw him going into the building. Then, I started again and headed to the downtown. At least there I would be protected of that heavy sunlight.

Close-up Shots

Comment Replies

Hallo7: Thanks for your comment! I guess you're right, I made the mistake of growing the city using only the Euro tileset instead of mixing Houston and European as I usually do. Doing this prevents some repetititon, but it was too late when I realized. And I know I need more custom content, but I've got a 28 GB hard drive...

Patricius Maximus: Thanks for commenting! Glad you liked the CJ!

k50dude: Thanks for commenting again! You've caught me this time! Before reading your comment I surfed the Internet a little bit to find out what happens in the city I know the most, Barcelona. The point is that metropolitan transport authorities don't "own" the companies but coordinate them and plan expansions and this kind of things (more or less, I didn't go deeper). So we could consider that the Taxi Company and UrbanRail are rivals but complement each other, because trains don't reach many parts of the nation.


I've being very busy this week; lots of things to do before Christmas holidays; so I've only been able to take some shots and "improving" my photoshopping skills. I'll try to do a regular update as soon as possible!


Unloading containers in Port Alarconia.


Dark and quiet night in Olympic Islands.


Splendid morning in Atlantic Tech campus, there are some students sitting on the grass.


Sad and depressing afternoon in Hope Project 2.0.


Fog covers everything in City of Health, in the near airport some flights have been delayed.

Comment Replies
k50dude: Thanks for your comments; glad to see you around here again! RL is always here preventing us of playing SC4 and cityjournaling! You can download this logistics centers in the STEX, just search for "Logistics Centres Megapack" (centres, written the British way). They have some dependancies, but as you've seen, they're worth.
CTMandR: Thanks for your comments, too! Alarconia has a nearly testimonial agricultural presence, I think I've already shown all countryside it has; but I'll try to write an update showcasing it more. You won't find anything amazing because everything is Maxis, but I'll try my best.

I have to say that I finally have my real life driving license, so I finally can run this CJ "legally"! Beware of ME when walking around Alarconia!

Carrer de la Dansa (Dance Street), 6:38 p.m.

I was driving in Districte de Les Planes (Plains District) and Alarconia was celebrating the Inmaculate Conception holiday; the day which, psicologically speaking, people began doing their plans for Christmas. We have Thanksgiving in Alarconia, but people have to wait until 8th of December to see stores full of new goods to be bought for Christmas. Thanksgiving is an "imported" holiday which was celebrated by the American inmigrants but wasn't recognised as a public holiday until 1973.

Today it was really cloudy (we were suffering the last traces of tropical storm Zach) and there were crowds going in and out the
El Corte Inglés Department Stores. That Spanish brand of department stores had established several years ago in Alarconia with excellent results.
A man made me the typical taxi stand and I stopped the car where I could, near the crossing with Carrer de la Victòria (Victory Street). Three people came inside, two men in her 40s and an oriental boy, around 12 years old. I thought it was an strange combination.

"Where do we go, sirs?"
"Can you take us to the Media Markt, please?" one of the men answered, the one who was wearing glasses.
"The one in Diagonal City or the Costa Verda one?"
"The first one, please."
"Here we go..."

This would be the trip, a short one without much complication:


I started the engine and kept straight on Dance Street. I watched at the people, the boy was sitting in the middle and the two men were talking about something related with HD capacity for a TV. One minute after, I realized the men were couple. In the Atlantic Democratic Republic of Alarconia, homosexual marrying was legal since 2004 and nowadays this fact is perfectly usual. I heared they were talking in English, but the man in the glasses was clearly Catalan-native by his accent, while the other one was American-native.


I asked, to talk about something:

"I guess you're going to buy some electronic devices..."
"You're right, we're going to the Media Markt..." the American-native said.
"How is you haven't bought them in El Corte Inglés?"
"They have less variety, higher prices... don't know, I like much more the other place."
"I see. You're not the only one, when I have to buy something I go there. I bought this GPS device there..." I said, while the woman voice told me to turn right in the next crossing.


I turned right to Ronda de Les Planes (Plains Beltway) and then to the left, taking Carretera de l'Est (
East Road), going under the UrbanRail 0 Line tracks. This road is named like this because when it was built, this was the easternmost part of Alarconia City.

"Christmas purchases?" I asked.
"Of course..."
"Everybody is buying things this days."
"It's like a tradition for us, I mean, for the country."
"I think I've made six trips to or from shopping centers today... You know, Four Seasons, El Corte Inglés, CoCommercial, e2i Mall..."
"Is that normal?"
"Absolutely, not."

Today, the Alarconia World Financial Center building wasn't projecting its shadow over the city. The clouds didn't allow the sunlight over the city. I kept along East Road, which leads to Districte de Ciutat Diagonal (Diagonal City District).

There was nothing good in the radio, so I chose my own music. Moby's album Hotel would do the job.


"Nice music." said one of the men
"Thanks. I don't really like Moby, but I think it's the perfect artist for driving..."
"I've never tried it."
"I recommend."

We arrived to Porta de Ciutat Diagonal (Diagonal City Gate) and kept along East Road. This part of the district had been on the rise the last months. Apartment prices had lowered and people had come to live there again, revitalising the neighbourhood. Despite the clouds, the impression was much better now.


"Well, I don't drive; I don't even have a driving license. My companion does." the man in the glasses said, pointing the other.
"Don't try to do it these days... Although I shouldn't say this, Alarconia's got a great public transport." I said.

I usually think that the ATMA (Autoritat del Transport Metropolità d'Alarcònia) (Alarconian Metropolitan Transport Authority) is one of the most powerful organsisms in the nation, much more than some goverment departments. The ATMA controls the Metro, the urban buses, the interurban buses, the UrbanRail, the AlarcoTram, the Black Valley Tram, the public ferry network and of course, the
Alarconian National Taxi Company. It is usually said that they control the lifes of nearly half a million people.


We were passing now besides the Diagonal City Metro station and one of the AtlanticTechCorp Pollution Catchers scattered across the nation. Diagonal City has lots of industry besides residential blocks and needs this kind of solutions.

I turned right, to take Carrer dels Ratpenats (Bats Street). I had always wondered why this street was called like this.


We arrived to the end of Bats street and turned right to Carrer de Marató (Marathon Street), where the Media Markt parking lot was placed. Contrarily than what I thought, the parking lot wasn't an abolute craziness, so I got to get into and leave my customers just in front of the main entrance. I stopped the taximeter and the taxicab.

"There will be 21.25 AL$, please. It has been a short trip..."

They discussed for a few seconds who should pay and finally the man in the glasses gave me 22 AL$, and told me to keep the change. Finally, they hopped off with the boy, I guessed he was their adopted son. Then I watched them for a few moments, and I concluded thinking they were a happy family, doesn't matter if traditional or not.

Comment Replies

Victor Valdes: Thanks for your comment! But I know that my seaport has still much to learn of the ones you can see out there...

abcvs: Thanks for commenting! I guess there's been an evolution since the begginings, because I haven't stopped playing the region and I've learnt a lot about terraforming and downloaded better plugins. And don't worry, because I passed my driving exam a week ago, so I'm not illegal anymore!!

dimipol006: Thanks for your comment! Alarconia and Hong Kong are built in tiny pieces of land, so they've got to grow up!

usha: Thank you for your comment! I'm glad you liked it!

Hey... where's k50dude's comment?


Estadi dels Enginyers (Engineers Stadium), Carrer del Lateral (Side Street), 7:32 p.m.

It was strange, but I wasn't besides Engineers Stadium because of a game; the Engineers City Screwdrivers weren't playing today. I was called from the Central to go there, to Ciutat d'Alarcònia (Alarconia City) East End. I had to drive during a while, because this place is far away where I was standing.


I was looking for someone who had face of being looking for a taxi (it's easier than you imagine) and I found him quickly. I saw a boy, a young man in a stylish suit, with what seemed an expensive tie. I stopped in front of him.

"Good afternoon, sir!" I said in English.

"Hello..." he answered in English, I was right again.

"Where do we go?"

"Al's Discount Car Dealership, Alarconiatown Beach, please."

I needed to type in the way to go to Al's in the GPS. I know where Alarconiatown is, but I wasn't sure about the shortest route.


I was surprised to see the GPS device considered the TransAlarconia Tunnel route the shortest one, so we got going.

I remained in silence for some meters, waiting for my customer to begin the conversation. He was definately too young to wear this kind of suits I tend to wear on weddings or special events.

"Nice suit!" I said, turning the radio low.

"Thanks, but I hate it..." he said, untightening his tie.

"Why? It's really elegant."

"It's my uniform. I work in the shop you've seen where you've picked me up. It's a men's clothing store."

"I see... Like the boy in "21", you know, the blackjack movie?"

"Yes, more or less..." he seemed a little tired.


We had taken Carrer del Greix (Grease Street) and kept our way over the A2 Motorway. We were now in the southernmost part of Ciutat dels Enginyers (Engineers City), one of the largest and populous districts in the city. The motorway was a bit busy, commuters were going back home and this was today's last trip.

"I guess you're buying a car..." I said.

"How do you know?"

"Well, it's obvious. You're going to a car dealership in a taxi... Can I ask you something?"

"Of course..."

"Why haven't you taken the UrbanRail or a bus?"

"I think Al closes his store at 8:30 so I've got to be fast."

"I see you want your car now."

"I've got the money with me..."


We had arrived to Logistics City and we had to go round the Hapag-Lloyd's logistics center in order to take the TransAlarconia Tunnel.

"I've been saving for months to buy the car and I've just gotten my license..." my customer said.

"Congratulations! What kind of car do you want?" I asked. Cars are sometimes great talking topics.

"The cheapest as possible. I've known Al for ages, he's a friend of my dad and I know he wouldn't sell us a crappy car..."


TransAlarconia Tunnel was the last "pharaonical project" this nation had seen. It crosses Illa de Nova Catalunya (New Catalonia Island) from east to west under the mountain, going underground for two kilometers and thousands of people. People, specially commuters were really happy with it, saving a lot of time on the road. I was happy too, it was going to be a fast trip. I took off my sunglasses before entering on it.

When we got in, my customer stopped speaking; this happens to a lot of people. When we enter in a tunnel, they shut up; I have never understand it. The boy wasn't an exception and remained in silence while the radio signal faded away. I had to activate the CD reader and put on some "driving music". Groove Armada would do the job while I kept the taxi at 100 km/h.


When we went out, the sun hit us on our face. The taxi cab was facing west and the sun was setting now, so I had to break heavily and look for my sunglasses before arriving to Plaça del 8 d'Abril (8th of April Roundabout), linking the TransAlarconia Tunnel with Avinguda de l'Atlàntic (Atlantic Avenue). I took Atlantic Avenue northbounds.

"I've seen you don't like your job very much..." I said.

"Well... in fact I like it, but sometimes it can be really tiring."

"Part time?"

"Yes, I attend my lessons at University of Alarconia on mornings."

"Now I see why you want a car..."

"And I live in West Americana, so yes, I need a car."

"What degree are you studying?"


"I didn't know this degree was offered here..." I said sincerely.

"You know it now."


We kept following Atlantic Avenue, now, inside Districte de l'Eixample (Extension District). The Extension was the planned neighbourhood where North-American inmigrants came massively during the 19th century. This part of the island was the first place where they established and founded their own institutions. Nowadays, the Alarconian American College is a reminder of this fact.

"We're near Alarconiatown now..."

"I see." he said "Lots of my friends attend the AAC..."

"There's not philosophy in AAC."

"No, there isn't. They focus on "useful" degrees."

"Did they tell you that?"

"No, I discovered it by myself." he said a little angry.


We were now near the Alarconia City municipality line, where Alarconiatown begins. Alarconiatown is split in two parts: Alarconiatown Beach and Alarconiatown Heights. The first one is the oldest part of the city, the first streets laid by North-American inmigrants very near the ocean. Alarconiatown Heights is besides the municipality line, sticked to Alarconia City. In the middle of them, countryside.


This was Alarconiatown Heights, and bus traffic was really heavy. We only had to look for Alarconiatown Beach second crossing to the right and get into, according to the GPS sensual woman voice.

"How much it cost you the GPS device?" he asked.

"Emmmm... Don't know.... Maybe... 250 AL$ more or less. Do you think you'll need one?"

"Don't know. Would you recommend it?"

"I think we taxi drivers need it because it saves us a lot of time and mistakes, but I don't think a normal person needs it. Alarconia is small enough to avoid getting lost, you know what I mean?"

"Not much..."

"I'm saying is that we need this as a tool because when they invented it we really noticed the difference. Before it, I had to know every street and every road in the map and I had to memorize in what situations this road was full of traffic. Sometimes, calculating the shortest route was a pain. Now, the GPS tells and you only have to worry in driving."

"So you wouldn't recommend it?"

"Respectfully, not for you..."


I turned right to take Hyde Street, the nortern part of the island have no Catalan names for streets because the American-native are the primarly inhabitants.

I stopped my car when I saw the dealership before arriving to the level crossing. Then, I stopped the GPS and the taximeter while watching how an infinite freight train was crossing the town.

"There will be 35.25 AL$, please." I said.

He looked in his wallet, I could see a good amount of 200 AL$ banknotes inside; ready to pay the car.

"Here you are, 36. Keep the change!" he said, opening the door carefully.

"Enjoy your driving!"

"I'll do... Goodbye!"


Then, I removed the "free" signal light and headed home. I was hungry and tired.


Comment Replies

haitoc: Thanks for your comment! In fact, Alarconia is inside the SimSports Football League right now, but I'm thinking entering in more leagues next seasons.

gotsomemilk: Thank you for your comment! The regular readers should know I like politics, so It was an easy job!

k50dude: Thanks for your regular comments! Glad you liked the pic, I spent a lot of time thinking what school to show!

OrdinarySim: Thank you too for commenting! I also like history, I tried to make it as accurate as possible to RL history adding only Alarconian own issues.

sportspeep99: Thank you for your comment, but I don't understand your question...


PetroAlarconia Complex, Carrer Beta (Beta Street), 10:02 a.m.

I was in a different place today. No Commerce Plaza, no McCormick Square, no AWFC, no airport. I was called from the Central to go to PetroAlarconia Complex, a place I rarely have to go. It is a petrochemical wasteland, dedicated to the processing and refining the cruce oil coming from Ernest Benach Oceanic Oil Rig, the only one in Alarconian waters.


My customer was waiting in front of the HQ building, the place where the offices are. There were some workers smoking in front of the building and I knew exactly who was going to hop into the taxi.

"Good morning, miss."

"Good morning..."

"Where do we go?"

"To the Supreme Court, please."

"Hold on a sec, I have to type the address in the GPS..."

It show me a route like this. Seemed that the satellites had its information upgraded, Avinguda de l'Indústria (Industry Avenue) was in works and it was impossible going through it.


I started the engine, while turning the radio low.

She was a woman in her 50s, white hair, glasses. She reminded me Kate twenty years older, dressed with an executive and discreet combination of blazer and skirt. She carried a small portfolio.

"No, don't turn it down, please."



"I think I know why are you going to the Supreme Court." I said.


"The oil spilling affaire."

"You're right..." she admitted. She seemed a little tired.

"I guess it have been tough days..."

"Well, I'm PetroAlarconia's Chief Attorney and I'm in charge of this affaire... That's because I'm going to the Court."

"Something to say in your defense?"

"Of course. That's my job."

I turned right, taking Avinguda de l'Atlàntic (Atlantic Avenue), the road that circles the whole islands. PetroAlarconia Complex landscape is aesthetically the worst place this avenue goes through. Some meters later, we entered in Port Alarcònia (Port Alarconia).


We had left behind the LNG tanks where the natural gas from the oil rig is stored, and we were approaching to the coal dock, where the coal for a couple of power arrives from China.

"If I have to say the truth, I don't like lawyers, attorneys, you know..."

"Why do you think this?"

"Well, I don't like all legal stuff... Luckily, I've never been in a trial I guess this means I'm fine with the system."

"You're talking about the criminal justice. What we're going to discuss in the Supreme Court today has nothing to do with this."

"What I want to say is I don't think a person trained to lie deserves my confidence, I guess you know what I mean." now I was the one who was feeling a little unconfortable.


We were passing now besides the container terminal, quite busy this days. The seaport had been locked for three days until the oil spilling was cleaned and now all ships were trying to get into the port.

"So, in your opinion, what happened in the oil rig?"

"It was an accidental spilling, nobody would do that for pleasure. And speaking corporatively, it isn't PetroAlarconia's fault."


"PetroAlarconia doesn't do the oil rig managing."

"I thought it was."

"No, it is managed by a British company, PetroAlarconia's responsability begins when the crude oil crosses the municipality line between Port Alarconia and PetroAlarconia Complex."

"I guess all this you've said is legal."

"Of course."

We entered in Ciutat d'Alarcònia (Alarconia City) municipality, the Old Lighthouse is the one that announces this.


"What do the British side say?" I asked.

"They say it's the oil tanker crew fault..."

"They pass the ball..."

"Well, yes." she said, quickly.

"What did really happen?"

"It's all about connections and technical things. I'm in the trial only as a chief attorney, my specialized attorneys are the ones who have to talk about this."

"I see..."


We kept along Atlantic Avenue, going besides the cliffs that characterise this part of the island. At our right hand, we had the first residential buildings of Little Hong Kong, the place where the most part of Asian inmigrants established during the 90s. The radio was speaking about the oil spilling two months ago.

"You have to admit it was a dramatical issue."

"Yes, I guess it was. In fact, La Florida's hotel owners are in this trial wanting to take all our money."

"They say they had severe losses..." I said, remembering the images of outraged owners in TV interviews, watching how all tourists packed their bags and went back home or were rellocated in other hotels in the nation..

"They had losses, but they want 20 million AL$ in compensation! Two for each hotel! Have they gone crazy?"

"I'm sure PetroAlarconia can afford this compensation."

"Yes, we can afford it, but we say this is unfair..."


We were leaving behind Little Hong Kong and entering in Miramar (Seaview District), the place where cheap tourist hotels are being updated to expensive office buildings. We were listening to the radio now, my customer wanted to hear all what "regular people" had to say about the oil spilling. There was a hotel owners representative and he seemed ready to do anything in order to win the trial.

I kept driving until Carrer dels Sabaters (Shoemakers Street) and turned right, up to go to the Casc Antic (Old Quarter).


I kept driving until Carrer dels Sabaters (Shoemakers Street) and turned right, up to go to the Casc Antic (Old Quarter). Now, the beaches facing the western part of Illa de Nova Catalunya (New Catalonia Island) had their usual gorgeous aspect, but a couple months ago there had arrived pieces of crude oil that had taken off all people.

The Alarconian Supreme Court is the most important justice organism in the nation, and the one that takes care of the really important affaires such us terrorism, corruption, enviromental crimes and this kind of things. It between B, 4th, C and 5th Streets, inside the characteristical Old Quarter's grid pattern the Founders had left us.


I turned right to Carrer C (C Street) following the GPS device instructions. We were very near the Supreme Court, but I would have to go round the block to leave my customer at the very front of the building. There were some journalists in the main entrance, so I thought that she would try to get into the building as fast as possible.


She began looking in her purse before I stopped the car, so she had ready the amount of money.

"There will be 31.15 AL$, please."

"Here you are, 32 dollars. Keep the change..."

"Thank you, miss. Goodbye and good luck!"

"Luck is for the weak..." she said, closing the door and entering the building almost running.

I started the engine and looked for another customer, another more story.


Election Day

Comment Replies

k50dude: Thanks again for your comments! BTW, have you solved your problems with tram stations?

Trabucco: Thank you for commenting! Let's see... the tram-in-road tracks come with the NAM, the stations are from the RTMT Interim T-Ram Stations and the train skin is Barcelona's Trambaix, everything from the STEX.


Sunday. It wasn't one more Sunday, today it was an special day. Election days are always special, at least for me. Routine is broken and TV and radio are flooded with special programmes. For the ones we like politics, is a nice day; all others hate it.

During this days, I had been thinking which party to vote, instead of voting always the same one, or voting the same guy because he looks cool. If we all thought further, if all people cared about the people they vote, our countries would be better places. If decisions were taken responsibly, politicians wouldn't do and undo what they want. I decided to vote for Citizens for Change.

I woke up a little bit early 10 a.m. and I washed myself and had breakfast watching TV. The polls were open since one hour before, so before leaving home I took my keys, wallet with my ID card inside and the sunglasses. Alarconian sun was harder these days. I only had to walk a couple of blocks to arrive to my polling station, what we call "electoral schools". All polls are made inside elementary or middle schools nationwide from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. Going there, I was about to be ran over by a crazy AlarcoTram driver.


I entered in IES William McCormick (William McCormick Middle School) and looked for my table, there are three. If your surname begins with letters from A to H, table 1. With I to Q, table 2. With R to Z, table 3; so I had to go to table 1. But first of all, I had to prepare my vote. I headed to the place where the envelopes and ballots are placed and I took the one I wanted and I prepared my vote right there, I don't need to go to the cabins.

Then, I queued for a couple of minutes until the table president requested my ID to check my identity in electoral lists. When I was ready, I put my vote inside the transparent ballot box and said goodbye, heading home. That's it. It's not so difficult, but more than 40% of Alarconian population doesn't think so. They're the ones that don't vote and they still complain about politicians.

At home, I had a rest until tomorrow, following up to the minute the TV programmes.

The day after, I bought the English edition of Alarcònia Avui (Alarconia Today) newspaper. The scrutineering and results were announced all night long, but I was pretty sure that there would be lots of customers who hadn't heard the news already.


We could say that the Centrist Party had "lost" the election. The political arithmetics don't allow a solid coalition, so the task of governing the Atlantic Democratic Republic of Alarconia will be a tough job the next term.

Here's a presentation of the national political system in Alarconia from far left to far right, according with the colours in the newspaper:

Partit Comunista Internacionalista d'Alarcònia / Alarconian Communist-Internationalist Party [PCIA/ACIP] (3 seats)= as all other communist parties, their aim is to take down capitalism and the establishment of an only workers union among other things. Their daily routine is supporting and presenting the most social measures.

Libertarian Party (LP) (8 seats) = this is what we call an "americanist" party with a not very clear left-right ideology but with clear aims. Abolishing all Catalan-native heritage in Alarconia and the establishment of English as only official langauge in the country, because as they say, "all this traditionalist junk carries huge economical costs".

Unió Feminista / Feminist Union [uF/FU] (2 seats) = it is a party only composed by women, because men are prohibited to enter in the organisation. With a center-left ideology, they will always support laws in favour of equality between men and women and generally, the social laws.

Aliança Catalanista [AC] (8 seats) = theycould be considered as the counterpart to Libertarian Party, trying to minimize the impact that American-native inmigration has brought to Alarconia and trying to consider English a "minor" language. The law they proposed a year before; which tried to remove all US flags of Alarconia brought one of the hardest controversies ever seen in the nation.

Partit Socialdemòcrata d'Alarcònia / Alarconian Socialdemocrat Party [PSA/ASP] (17 seats) = they are the party that continued the task of the Socialist Party during the second half of the 20th century. With a great relationship with the worker unions, they are one of the favourite options for the low-class citizens.

Partit Centrista d'Alarcònia / Alarconian Centrist Party [PCA/ACP] (20 seats) = the centrists are the governing party right now, and they say they're in the middle of left and right. They don't seem to hesitate on passing a socialdemocrat law and the day after, taking neoliberal measures on economy.

Ciutadans Pel Canvi / Citizens on Change [CC] (4 seats) = the CC claims that none of its members is a professional politician and they are the truly people's voice. Without a defined ideology, they usually vote for the measure that would benefit the most number of people. They appeared on the last elections as the great surprise and have become the most active party in the Parliament.

Alternativa Cristiano-Demòcrata d'Alarcònia / Alarconian Christiano-Democrat Alternative [ACDA] (12 seats) = they're on the line of all major center-right parties in Europe and part of the European People's Party with very clear positions about abortion and the presence of Christianism in public life. They're well known for doing a tough opposition to the goverment and the secondary relevance they give to the social affaires.

Moviment Nacional / National Movement [MM] (1 seat) = they are the only far-right party in the nation and don't hesitate on recognising this fact. They ideas are very clear, as the deportation of all non-white people in the nation and accepting only the "useful" inmigrants. Nowadays, they're been investigated looking for connections with European neo-nazi organizations.

Comment Replies
k50dude: Thanks for your comment and congratulations because you're the writer of the 100th one! I didn't had a doubt you were going to be the chosen one. Seems where won't be more foggy mornings in Alarconia...
Retep Molinari: Thank you too for your comment! As I said above, I'll try to not over-photoshop my pics again. Thanks for the advice both!
Kiefer: Gràcies! Som pocs catalans a Simtropolis, sempre és agradable trobar-se amb algun!

Finally, after days of struggling with the Imageshack upload tool, here's the update!!!

Although I've showcased this places, you'll see a major modifications today...

America Avenue, 1:37 p.m.

It was lunch time and I hadn't had my lunch yet. I promised to stop and eat something when I've carried one more passenger. The Central told me to go to East Americana and I thought it was going to be a long midday...
I had always found funny the idea of Downtown Americana. This part of East Americana was composed of a bunch of skyscrapers and apartment hi-rises, all besides the e2i Field, the largest ballpark in the nation. For me, there wasn't any more downtown, always called CBD than the one in Alarconia City.


Then, a young couple appeared from the building I was stopped in front of. They were carrying large bags and trolleys and I bet they were going to the airport. They seemed to have enough money to take a plane and not a ferry.

I helped them with their baggage and I put all of them in the car's trunk. When we were done, I was sweating, but I got into the taxi and asked, as usual: 

"Were do we go?" in English. In Americana, the 80% of the population is American-native.
"Can you take us to the airport, please?"
"Sure, here we go!" I switched off the GPS device because I knew very well the trip we were doing. It was something like this:


I started the engine and made a U-turn when I was allowed, and I took America Avenue to the south.

"Don't tell me... Honeymoon, right?" I said to the couple.
"Yes! How do you know?" the girl said.
"I've seen dozens of happy young couples requesting a trip to the airport..."
"Of course, taxi drivers..."
"We have to meet lots of people day by day... when we retire, we should be given a degree in sociology..." I joked.
"And how do this happy young couples come after the honeymoon?" the boy asked.
"Well... there's everything. Some seem they're going to get divorced once they hop off, but others, the majority, are absolutely in love each other."


America Avenue is long and pleasant. This part of the avenue runs inside East Americana, a typical North-American styled suburb of Alarconia City. As I always say, this is the only place you will see more US flags than in the US.

"Where are you going?" I asked.
"Paris, France. But we're going to Chicago first to see my relatives." the boy said.
"Paris, very nice...!" I said convinced. "I had been there some years ago but I didn't enjoyed the trip because the friend I was going with got ill during the trip".
"Oh, that must be a pain..."
"Yes, we were touring around Europe, when we were young, you know... But when going from Rennes to Paris, by car, he got a problem in his kidney and we had to stop in Le Mans hospital..."
"Did he got well?"
"During the stay in Paris not much, but once we went south to Lyon he found better and we could go on."


There wasn't much traffic in Americana streets, so I relaxed a little bit. I turned the radio up to hear the news, as we were aproximmating to 2:00. I had heard them during all the morning, but I guessed my customers didn't.


Some meters later, we were leaving Americana and entering in Universitat Politècnica de l'Atlàntic (Atlantic Technological University) campus, usually called Atlantic Tech. The metro line works as light rail from the edge of Alarconia City to East Americana, going through the campus.

The first thing you see is the Computer Science and Mathematics School and its impressive (and controversial) architecture.

You will notice major changes here...


The boy checked his photo camera and took a couple of photos with the flash on. It annoyed me a little bit, but I didn't say anything, he seemed to realize by himself. We went round Plaça del Nordest (Northeast Roundabout) and had to pass besides the Civil Engineering Technical School, the Pujol Building, along America Avenue.


We could see the Library Gardens once we left behind the Pujol Building, and kept straight on. Traffic was light and some students were enjoying today's sunlight studying outdoors.


We passed now between the stadium and the Architecture Technical School, another controversial building in Atlantic Tech.

"Do you know where to go in Paris?" I asked.
"Yes, we have bought a tourist guide to go everywhere on our own..."
"I recommend you walking a lot. If you want to see things, you need to walk..."
"We'll do. We were between a romantic honeymoon in Dominican Republic or an active one making tourism in Europe and... well, I think we stay in the middle of the road..." the girl said.
"I haven't experienced the romantic side of Paris so I can't say anything about it..."


We arrived to the place where American Avenue and Avinguda de l'Aeroport (Airport Avenue) join, very near the Atlantic Tech gymnasium. I could see a sign pointing to the airport, we will have to get into the airport through the secondary entrance.


The top of the hill offers the best sights of the airport, we could see a large plane taking off and the boy did a couple of photographs. The sun reflected in the airport's roof and I had to put on my sunglasses to keep driving, besides the main fishing seaport in the nation. Now, we had to go through a little refinery very nar the airport, the most part of the kerosene produced here is used for refuelling the planes.


"Well, we are arriving... Are you nervous?"
"We are used to take planes to see our family in the US, but we are nervous... At least, I am..."
"You'll still have to wait a lot in the airport... This is the worst part of all!"
"The waiting is the hardest part, as the song says." the girl said.


"I guess we're going to the American terminal, right?"

I had to take the highway and follow the signs to the American terminal, because we were in the European terminal now.


I was thinking that this crossing is one of my favourite parts of Alarconia, while I noticed the couple were preparing all their objects to hop off.


I decided to leave them outside instead of taking them underground because I wasn't very sure where they were going. I stopped where I could and also stopped the taximeter.

"There will be 31.25 AL$, please."
"Can we pay with Euros?"
"Sure, no problem!"

The girl have me 35 euros with two 10-Euro banknote and three 5-Euro banknotes and told me to keep the change. It was a very nice tip!

"Have a great time on Paris!" I said, while taking the heavy baggage from the trunk. It seemed they were staying for a year in Europe...
"Thank you!"

When I saw them dissapearing through the glass doors, I looked for a place to leave the car because I wanted to get into the McDonald's restaurant inside the airport. I was really hungry!

I know I haven't updated for ages, but it is because a reason. I've been having lots of problems with the Imageshack tool and I can't upload my pics. It sometimes works for a while and lets me upload a couple of pics, but not the 12 I have planned for the next update. I'm really fed up! I'll keep trying to upload pictures and who knows if I'll be able to finish my entry.

I think I'm going to register in Imageshack, does anyone know if it is worth?


Comment Replies

CTMandR: Thanks for your comment! In fact, the railways besides the highway in that pic is one of the things I dislike more in my city because they prevent putting some on/off-ramps more but wel... glad you liked it!

k50dude: Thank you for your comment, again! I think Kate will be (as TV writers say) a "recurring character". Let's see what happens...


We are only one comment ahead of the 100th comment... Who's gonna post it?

Carrer de Nova York (New York Street), 7:42 a.m.

First trip in my day. I put the Catalan edition of Alarconia Avui (Alarconia Today) and the English-only Morning Gazette newspaper in the backseat, ready for the first passenger. Today it was a different day. It was foggy, really foggy.

Fog is not infrequent this days, when the ocean temperature is warm while the air temperature is a little bit cold. Although normal, Alarconians aren't very used to it and all foggy mornings are usually different mornings.

I recieved the first call from the Central, I had to go to Districte del Trencat (Broken District). New York Street was really empty today.


While waiting for my customer, I realized that fog makes lots of drivers to choose public transport to go to their jobs; which is better for me.

One person entered in the taxicab.

"Good and foggy morning, sir." I said.

"Good morning... Can you take me to the Parliament, please?"

"You mean THE Parliament?"


"Let me type the address in the GPS and we'll get going..."

The GPS device told me this way (it wasn't foggy for her).


I let the woman voice to guide me. We would be lucky if we didn't find an accident or crash today.

"What a strange day..." said my passenger.

"We have had foggy days here..."

"But I don't remember so much fog. Today is really foggy..."

I took Carrer de Isaac Newton (Isaac Newton Street) and headed south, crossing the Autopista (The Highway). There wasn't many people driving today so I guessed that Metro, AlarcoTram and UrbanRail systems would be really crowded this morning... 


"How are things doing in the Parliament?" I asked.

"Well, today we have to attend to the term clossing session..."

"Are you a deputy?"

"Yes, for the ACDA [Alarconian Christian-Democrat Alternative]..." their ideas aren't in my line, but I gave him conversation anyways...

"You're going to have a tough electoral campaign if we look to the polls..."

"Well... we can be a key factor in the new goverment if we do well in the election..."

I took Carrer de la Pesca (Fishing Street)


"How do you see the others?"

"Between you and I; I think the centrists will win again; but they'll have lots of problems to make a solid goverment..." he lowered his voice although no-one could hear us inside the taxi.

"Is this an opinion?"

"We handle lots of data for our campaign..." he said, pretty convinced.

Despite the fog, I could see the Alarconia World Financial Center base from here.


I turned right to Carrer dels Gats (Cats Street) and then I tried to take Carretera de Ciutat Diagonal (Diagonal City Road). I saw how the top of the AWFC was absolutely invisible.

"I think you politicians should handle less data and go down to the street..."

"People always say this."

"And politicians never do it..." I replicated without fear.

"We're busy..."

"I'm not a newbie, I'm a taxi driver and I've carried lots of politicians in that backseat. Some of them care about people but they're the least."

"I think normal people should really know what goes on inside the Parliament and the Generalitat (the goverment). I mean with open-door days, advertising, etc."

"I agree with you in this point..." I had to say.


We passed in front of the AWFC Terminus UrbanRail station and took Carretera de l'Estadi (Stadium Road). The white Allianz Arena structure was invisible from here.

"You know, people see on TV how we discuss..."

"Maybe you have to say how you insult each other..."

"OK, how we insult each other, but they don't know how many work is done in the office; reading the laws, discussing them, enacting them... And all, summarized in that headline." he grabbed the Alarconia Today newspaper and shifted his language to Catalan to read it properly "Williams attacks the centrists. I think the media are the first ones in the diffusion of that bad image of politicians.


The Allianz Arena stadium appeared like a gigantic phantom that morning. The Almogavars lost 21-0 yesterday in that place.

Finally, my customer opened the Morning Gazette and began to read it, commenting  a couple of news with me.

"What do you think about the new Road Safety Law? It affects you directly..."

"Well... I think they, in that case, you have made punishments softer. What makes people think is when they are hurt in the wallet, you know... The former law was fine, I think change it is pointless..." I had to think my answer.


Districte de Muntanya del Mar (Sea Mountain District) was quiet and calm that morning, there wasn't traffic along Carrer de la Sang (Blood Street). It is the place to be when the football and American football finish (better if Alarconia City teams have won) in the stadium, but this morning; people preferred taking the Metro. I could see the Parliament building from here.

We were arriving, we only had to cross the A4 motorway, the one that runs from Architects District to the National Landfill.


Then, I took the first turn to the right, to see the soviet architecture.

The Parliament of Alarconia was the former USSR Embassy, the only communist / utilitarist architecture example in Alarconia. It still holds the Russian and Ukranian Embassies in the upper floors but the lower ones and the meeting room had become the Parliament of Alarconia because the one in the Old Quarter was too small when we passed from 65 to 75 deputies four years ago.

I stopped the taxi and taximeter in front of Plaça del Parlament (Parliament Plaza).

"There will be 22.45 AL$, please..."

"Can you print a recipe, please?" he said while looking in his wallet.


He gave me 23 AL$ and told me to keep the change despite having to declare all his expenditures. I didn't say anything about it; but I said goodbye when my customer left the car.

I headed to the residential districts of La Florida. There's always someone who needs a taxi to go to the CBD.

As you see, I've tried a couple things with a Photoshop-like program...

Comment Reply
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..."
"See you..."

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!"
"Tell me..."
"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..."
"I know..."
"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?"
"No, thanks."

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..."
"Thanks, Kate..."
"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.

Alarconia National Map

Comment Replies

Lugnuts25000: Thanks for your comment! Here's the link of spiralling underground parking: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=21570

cool92: Thanks for your comment! In fact, the buildings you are pointing are Maxis-default. They come with the European tileset.

k50dude: As usual, thank you for your comment too! As you'll see, I've taken your suggestion and labelled a national map. On next entries, I'll try to post a pic of the route, to make things clear...


Atlantic Democratic Republic of Alarconia National Map

Sorry for the *.jpg quality but the Imageshack thing didn't let me upload pics in a better quality. If someone knows how to upload pics in other formats, please PM me or leave a comment in this entry.

Map labelled in Catalan (co-official language)


Map labelled in English (co-official language)


Labels in bold mean municipalities non-dependant on Alarconia City.

The next one will be a regular entry!



Comment Replies
thepokemaniac: Thanks for all your comments, glad to see you around here again! The link, on your CJ.
k50dude: Thanks for your comment, it took me a while searching all the LEX looking for the missing links. The LEX has the best quality but you can't compare the LEX's search system with the STEX one.
CTMandR: Thanks for your comment! In fact, I usually wonder how would be to live in Alarconia. At least it has skyscrapers...
Sambucy85: Thank you for your comment, and you're welcome!

First of all, thank you very, very much you all; because we've hit more than 10,000 views!!!! This is much more than I expected when I began this CJ, it is my first experience on CJing and I thought that mine would go unnoticed among lots of outstanding CJ's out there! I wouldn't have reached those 10,000 views without your comments, your always constructive criticism, suggestions, questions...

Alarconia has seen some major changes during the time this CJ has existed, and you can be sure that you'll see some more!! Thank you all!

Carrer del Robí (Ruby Street), Illa Llarga (Long Island), 9:14 a.m.

I recieved a call from the Central, they told me to go far away from Ciutat d'Alarcònia (Alarconia City). I had to go to Long Island, because I was the closest driver to the island. I had to cross Pont de la Unió (Union Bridge) and drive across the island until arriving to the address the GPS female voice told me.


1, Ruby Street was the address where West Long Island Public Elementary School stands. I stopped the car near the building and I opened the day's newspaper, waiting for my customer. He appeared one minute later, going across the street and entering into my taxicab. I left the newspaper on the seat and I said hello, as usual:

"Good morning, sir. Where do we go?"
"Auditori de la Universitat Politècnica de l'Atlàntic (Atlantic Technological University Auditorium), please."
"It's quite far and I'll have to charge you the Bridge's fare. Do you agree?"
"Here we go..." I concluded.

Started the engine and turned right, looking for the A4 highway, the one that goes from Long Island to Alarconia City with Union Bridge in the middle. Fortunately, the highway wasn't very far.


My customer coughed a couple of times.

"Have a cold?" I asked, with courtesy.
"No... pollution, you know..."
"Oh, yes..." Long Island is disconnected from Illa de Nova Catalunya (New Catalonia Island), so it has it's own power plant. The problem is that this plant is that uses coal to produce electricity, which leds to a terrible pollution all over Long Island.
"I'm asthmatic so this is not a good city to live..."
"So you're here because of your job."
"You're right. In fact I live in Alarconiatown and come here everyday by bus. I'm the school principal."


Long Island is not an ugly city. If it wasn't for it's pollution, it would be one of the nicest places in Alarconia, very far from traffic and stress of Alarconia City. Although absolutely divided by this highway, it's nice.

"I only know principal's work when teachers told me to go to his or her office..." I joked.
"Were you a bad student?"
"A little naughty, like all others I guess..." I said, without wanting to get deeper in this topic.

I kept straight, and we went through Long Island Tunnel, the one that takes you to East Long Island, the historical quarter of the city.


East Long Island is much more active than the rest of Long Island. It has more commercial zones, more beaches and more traffic. Even the city's main harbor is placed here.

"So what does a principal out of his school?" I asked.
"I'm going to the Education Council Annual Meeting."
"Is it hold at Atlantic Tech?"
"The meeting is hold in a different university every year. The first meeting was held at University of Alarconia auditorium, the second one at the Alarconian American College auditorium and the third at Atlantic Tech auditorium. Then, it became a tradition to rotate the place of the meeting." he explained.
"I see. Well, the trip to Atlantic Tech won't be cheap, believe me..."
"As I imagined..."


We were on the edge of the city, where the toll booths used to be until the Department of Transport installed an electronic toll system to make the trips more comfortable; years ago, jams here were memorable... My telepayment device (called Teletac) beeped and we all knew that the Department of Transport had taken 10 AL$ from my bank account.

"How much you pay for your daily commuting?" I asked.
"I buy a 10-Trip ticket, it costs 5 AL$... 50 cents per trip."
"Do you think it's expensive?"
"Well, they need 20 passengers a trip to pay the toll completely and I can swear that we are more than 20 people when I go to the school, so I think it's fair."


We entered to the bridge a minute later and I drove to the maximum speed allowed. The traffic wasn't heavy and Alarconia City is nice to see from here.

"Can you turn the radio loud?"
"Yes. Do you want to listen to the Political Chat?" 
"Yes, please. It's always funny to hear what they say..." he meant the Political Chat, from 9 to 10 a.m., courtesy of Alarconia National Radio.
"I think "funny" isn't the word to define the chat."
"Which is the word?"
"Angry. Irritated. Annoying..."
"So why do you listen to it?"
"I like knowing what happens in my country..." I answered sincerely.

When we had passed the first half of the bridge, we saw some wrecked cars; three of four in the other sense of driving. It seemed to have caused an enormous traffic jam.


Due to what specialists call "the onlooker effect"; the pace in our sense had slowed down, and the pace was slow until we entered Alarconia City.


Here finishes the A4 motorway and begins this part of Avinguda de l'Atlàntic (Atlantic Avenue).

"If the annual meeting was held at the ACC we would have arrived..." I said.
"Yes, but we would be in a smaller space."
"Is the auditorium small?"
"Well, the Atlantic Tech one is much larger..."
"How many people are you?"
"We have to go all elementary, middle school, faculty and technical schools principals. We must be... 100 people or so..."
"Is it boring?"
"No, well... It's good because you see people that you hadn't seen for ages or you meet new people... But we do a lot of work, too."


I kept along Atlantic Avenue, until arriving to Plaça del 8 d'Abril (April, 8 Square), a new and important roundabout. It links Alarconia Avenue with TransAlarconia Tunnel. This is where we were going now.

TransAlarconia Tunnel had opened a week ago after five years in construction. Three kilometers of highway under an extinct volcano; the one that generated this archipelago. It is an infrastructure demanded since the 60s and it links the west part with the east part of Alarconia City, non-stop in a straight line. It was the first time I was going to take it.


"So this is the new tunnel..." my customer said.
"Much more than this. It will save a lot of times to commuters, transport and taxi drivers like me... Without it, we would have to take Carretera del Sol (Sun Road) and traffic is horrible there...

The radio signal faded slowly as we were running, so the taxicab stayed now in silence. Traffic was light and the electronic signs said that there was no problem.

There were overhanging signs that told the drivers what structures or neighbourhoods were situated over their heads. Vall Negra, AGSC Complex, Olympic Tennis Center, The Tower, Volcano District, Curves Road... They were quite useful to know in what part of the island you were.

Three kilometers later, when we had had the opportunity of admiring the TransAlarconia Tunnel, we went out to the exterior. The sun hurt my eyes for a moment.


We were now in a completely different place. Hapag-Lloyd Logistics City. Now, we had to head to the A2 motorway, so we went east, round the logistics center. They were talking about education in the radio and my customer was now infuriated.


We had to go through an industrial park, and then, we reached the motorway. The A2 motorway was clear today, it depends on the hour and the day. It sometimes is a nightmare. I kept straight and we passed between the two towers of Alarconia Gate Towers Complex, having Engineers District at our right hand. Now, we were approximating to Engineers Interchange, so I kept right.


Now we were in Avinguda dels Enginyers (Engineers Avenue), going straight to the Atlantic Technological University campus. I was a little tired of driving now. My customer said he could see the Civil Engineering Technical School from here.


I kept straight on Engineers Avenue, going besides the ATU Indoor Stadium and the Engineers Mall. Traffic was extremely light now, all students were doing something; if not in the classroom, working on their own inside the library or the study classrooms of each technical school.


I knew we were arriving to the auditorium when I saw the Main Library. Only one more turn... My customer picked up his blazer and made sure he wasn't dropping anything from his pockets.


Finally, we arrived to the Auditorium. It had been a long trip, one of the longest I had made ever. The sum went up to 69.45 AL$.

"There will be 69.45, please."
"Wow..." he said, taking his wallet.
"I told you it wasn't going to be cheap..."
"Can you print a receipe, please?"
"Sure..." I pushed a button and the machine printed a small receipe. Then, my customer gave me his credit card with his ID card in order to make the payment.
"Have a nice meeting..."
"I'll try... Goodbye!"
"Bye, bye..."

I started the car again and parked where I could, trying to take a rest.


Comment Replies

naftixe: Thanks for your comment! BTW, keep the great work with your San Francisco recreation!

k50dude: Thank you too! This next entry is inspired in your questions...

Sambucy85: Thanks for your comment! I tried to tell something a little bit different in the previous update, but don't get used to it!

Meshari: Thank you for your comment, once again!


It was a nice Fall Sunday morning. There was no Formula 1 race this weekend, so I decided to do something different. I went out of my apartment, took my photo camera and got into my taxicab with some of my favourite songs and I went round the country, making photos to some of the buildings I see everyday...

I began my special trip in the northeastern part of the island, in the Universitat Politècnica de l'Atlàntic (Atlantic Technological University) campus. The first pic was for the Industrial Engineering Technical School.


Download link: http://www.toutsimcities.com/downloads.php?view=1008

Seen in Trip 9


Some meters far from there, I didn't hestitate on snapping the Aeronautical Engineering Technical School.


Download link: Maxis official landmark, in http://simcity.ea.com (scroll down until finding the SC4 division).

Seen in Trip 9.


Now, I took my taxi and went north along Avinguda d'Americana (Americana Avenue), and stopped besides Calatrava Tower, one of the three structures designed by Santiago Calatrava in Alarconia.


Download link: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=2590

Seen in Trip -.


I had to go straight on Americana Avenue and entered in Americana's municipality, crossing all the city until arriving to the downtown. The first structure I wanted to capture was the Safeco Field, seemed it was game day:


Download link unavailable.

Seen in Trip 19.


I kept straight on the avenue. Half a kilometer to the west, stands the HSBC Arena, inside West Americana.


Download Link: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=3368

Seen in Trip 5.


I left Americana and entered in Ciutat de la Fortuna (Lucky City), the so-called "Little Vegas". The two biggest hotels and casinos in Alarconia were waiting for me. First of all, The Mirage, placed in the east part of the city:


Download link: http://www.sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=1167

Seen in Trip 19.


And then, after driving some dozens of meters, the SGM Grand Hotel, Casino, Marina & Beach Resort.


Download link unavailable. Search for "nealos101" in the LEX and download both files.

Seen in Trip 19.


I kept along Atlantic Avenue and passed the small Alarconiatown without taking any pictures, until I arrived to Pont de la Unió (Union Bridge).


Download link: http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=858

Seen in Trip 10.


When I was done, I went back to the Expansion District. The Alarconia American College, former Alarconian School of Engineering was awaiting me.


Download link: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=20785

Seen in Trip 2.


I took Avinguda de l'Eixample (Extension Avenue) until the crossing with Atlantic Avenue again. Then, I headed to the city's geographical center, a zone that has suffered a radical change during the last years; formerly industrial, now full of activity. I could see the Gray Building from lots of meters far.


Download link: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=22555

Seen in Trip -


I kept straight on along Carrer de Fukitol (Fukitol Street), and then took Ronda del Turonet (Hill Beltway) to arrive under Tokyo Building.


Download link: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=19303

Seen in Trip 25.


Now, through the Tunnel Industrial Park, I headed to Districte dels Madrilenys (Madrid People's District), this tour would be pointless without taking a photograph of Madrid Building.


Download link: http://descargas.capitalsim.net/index.php?sitio=csc&descarga=498

Seen in Trip 1


I crossed the Autopista (The Motorway) and headed to the Alarconia World Financial Center, easily visible from everywhere in the nation. The tallest building, the most well-known and the most controverted when its construction.


Download link: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=17853

Seen in Trip 5, 25...


Now I headed to the city center, the zone besides the Old Quarter and Commerce District (the actual CBD). I had to stop in front of the Central Railway Station to take a pic of Station Tower.


Download link: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=17524

Seen in many trips, for example, trip 2.


I headed now to the CBD's core, running parallel to the AlarcoTram tracks. Among all the wonderful CBD skyscrapers, the best pic was the one which depicted the HSBC building.


Download link: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=17423

Seen in Trip 4 and some more.


I was quickly done with the CBD. The light conditions weren't very good with all those towering skyscrapers making strange shadows in my camera, so I took the car again and I went off the CBD, going to the southern part of the city. First stop: Staples Center; the largest sports arena in Alarconia.


Download link: www.davidluart.com/download/DMscopio_StaplesCenter.zip

Seen in Trip 15.


250 meters eastbounds, in the middle of Ricatxons District, stands the Ricatxons Velodrome, an old structure that represents Alarconia's rising during the second half of 20th century.


Download link: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=3149

Seen in Trip 18.


Finally, I left Ciutat d'Alarcònia (Alarconia City) and entered in Costa Verda (Green Coast) municipality. There were a couple of landmarks I was interested in.

The first one is CostaverdaCommercialPark, popularly known as CoCommercial Park, the biggest shopping mall in Alarconia, the heart of an entire leisure zone in southern Illa de Nova Catalunya (New Catalonia Island).


Download link: http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=16988

Seen in Trip 22.


Again in Atlantic Avenue, 200 meters westbounds, stands the Olympic Hotel, one of the three structures designed by Santiago Calatrava in Alarconia. This is the most expensive and luxurious hotel in the nation.


Download link unavailable.

Seen in Trip 14.


Now I was going to the last place. I had to cross all La Florida municipality and the PetroAlarconia complex, till I reached Port Alarconia. Then, I entered in the road that takes to the ferry terminal and the control tower. This was the last building.


Download link: http://www.sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=355

Seen in Trip 12.


I parked my taxi cab in the sidewalk and I got off. I breathed deeply, filling my lungs with the sea air, while watching how a oil tanker was refilling its tanks nearby. Then, I checked my pics.

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