Saturday, January 31, 2009

Counterfeit Encounter: My fake 50 riyal bill story

I heard about the story of a Filipino expat named Ryan Torres Anievas, 29, working in Rabigh here in Saudi Arabia, he was accused of distributing counterfeit Saudi Arabian currency. This reminds me of what happened to me 7 years ago. I almost went to jail because of that bogus 50 rial bill.

It was 2002, I was going to go to Taif (to one of our shops there), but before I went to SAPTCO in Balad, I decided to buy a big bottled water at an eatery down my apartment. Unfortunately, I don't have any smaller change that time, so I used my hundred riyal bill , I was running late so I just counted the money and head on to Balad. I was queuing inside SAPTCO terminal to get the ticket to Taif. The ticket to Taif was 30 riyals (one way), when it was my turn, I did the usual procedure, I told the person in the booth where I was going, gave my Iqama together with the money (the 50 riyal bill, it was the change from my 100 rial the Bengali guy gave me when I bought the bottled water).

And while waiting to get my ticket, I noticed the people inside the booth were whispering to each other and then glancing at me as if something was wrong. In my mind I was thinking that, maybe they thought that my Iqama was fake. I was so sure, that is what they were thinking. Suddenly, one of the guy working there politely called me to go with him inside a small office. I even saw a police officer going to the same place where I was going.

While inside, they were asking me something in Arabic which I could not understand. They were talking Gibberish to me. I told them that my Iqama is not fake and that it was the same Iqama that I used when traveling around the kingdom for the past 3 years. The guy that I was talking to realized that I neither speak nor understand Arabic that well, so he called for someone who speak English. Finally.

The new guy asked me where I got the money, I told him that the 50 rial bill was a change for my 100 riyals when I bought a bottled water at an eatery down my apartment. OMG!, then it struck me, there I realized that the whole commotion was about my 50 rial bill and it is FAKE... FALSO... FAUX!

I told them that I didn't know that the bill is fake. While talking to them, I was trying to be calm, trying to talk slowly and clearly and I was trying to make my face look innocent, [just like the cat (puss in the boots) from "Shrek the third"] well I was innocent!

And so they finally realized that I was telling the truth and let me go, after they took my telephone numbers, address and the exact place where I got that fake bill. I quickly called my friend and instructed him to go down the eatery and talk to the Bengali who gave me the bill. Then I proceeded to my destination, in Taif. Three hours late.

My friend told me that the Bengali was so scared when he talked to him. Yes, so scared that he didn't open the next day, in fact, he never open at all .

Related stories: Desert Aquaforce's post, Isla de Nebz' post, GMA News

Friday, January 23, 2009

Juana Change: World Premiere Announcement

World Premiere of Juana Change's [3] three new videos by the Movement for Good Governance or MGG at Robinsons Galleria, Indie Cine [in Ortigas, Manila] on February 3, 2009, Tuesday, 7 - 9 in the evening, with a ticket price of 100 pesos only.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Charice's rendition of Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time"

This is by far the most amazing version of "One Moment in Time" that I've ever heard, aside of course from the original which was sang by Whitney Houston. This was one of the songs Charice sang at Obama's Pre-inaugural concert in Washington DC, the other was "God Bless America".

With her on stage are famous Filipino singers like Charlie Green, from the "Britain's Got Talent" (beside her); Arnel Pineda, the new vocalist of Journey ; Jed Madela, WCOPA Grand Champion, Performer of the world in Hollywood and the Superstars of Philippine music scene like Sarah Geronimo, Lani Misalucha, Zsa zsa Padilla, Vina Morales, Gary Valenciano and others.

Link: Charice Mania

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama!

It's official, Barack Obama has just sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America in Washington DC. It was estimated that there are around 2 million people who attended the inauguaration. I watched the inauguration live, via CNN on the television. Rick Warren, Aretha Franklin, former President Bush [senior], former President Clinton and former President Carter were among the invited VIPs who attended. There was one VIP I didn't see though, Oprah.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My 1st 'No Smoking' Anniversary!

Happy "No Smoking" Anniversary to myself! January 18, 2009 marks my 1st year anniversary of not smoking. Wow, I never thought I would make it but here I am free from nicotine and I hope it's forever. I'll be looking forward to my 2nd year anniversary next year. How about you? Have you stopped smoking? You can do it! I know you can.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Working Alone

Starting this January 14, 2009, I will be working alone for a month. You see there are only two Filipinos in my company, Me and Him, we are both working as Visual Merchandisers and he is going to have his vacation in the Philippines.

When I say "Alone" , I don't mean "Lonely Alone" , well probably a little bit of that. It's hard to talk when there's no nobody talking back to you, it's doubly hard because I really don't speak or understand Arabic that well after more than 8 years in Saudi Arabia, I know you're going to say how come?, well, my answer is I don't know. Maybe the language is just not my cup of tea, although it's essential to learn it. Going back to that being alone thing, It's not "Lonely Alone", it's more like, "I'm going to have a lot of work Alone" kinda thing, especially the language barrier with the staff, most of them don't speak English and I'm having a hard time speaking Arabic. What a perfect combination!

We talked about this vacation when we were new in this company. We already have a Plan and the Plan was, that we are going to have our vacation together and that we are going to go to different places in the country like Baguio, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, up north and even in Boracay and Bohol in the Visayas but that was before we have our 6 Cats.

I'm not saying that the Cats are my problem. I love my Cats and I can sacrifice certain things for them like this vacation, I will have my turn (vacation) anyway. To sum up everything, yes, it's in a way, saddens me that he is going for vacation. Makes me think about the things that he will be doing there, like , drinking beer [Cerveza San Miguel] with friends ( I miss beer drinking with my friends, beer is prohibited in this country, Hellooo!!! 21 century now, remember?) and Singing in a Karaoke bar, while drinking beer with friends, OK that's it. Enough with my day dreaming . All that I can say is, "May the force be with him".