Monday, October 31, 2005

Remembering Dubai

The other day I had the honor of going on an excursion with some friends in their Niva and when my friend who was driving got tired, he asked me if I wouldn’t mind driving a bit?

I have not driven anything other than an automatic transmission in Armenia for the last couple of years and when I first got behind the wheel, had a jerky start. From the movement the car made, I remembered Dubai.

It was another late night of club hopping and I had sent part of our surveillance team to our hotel to get my room ready to videotape an interview with a trafficking victim I would bring in a couple of hours.

As I was walking around Premier, a disco which is on the first floor of the Hyatt Regency in Dubai looking for a girl, I spotted a man who one of our investigators had photographed a couple months before our arrival. The man's name was Ali and he was the brother of Assad, who is the head of the Armenian trafficking ring in the UAE. When I spotted Ali, he and a couple of his friends were getting up to leave.

I called Edik on his cell phone, who was in the parking lot in our rented car with a cameraman taking video of girls and their Johns leaving the building. I told him who I spotted and to be ready to videotape Ali and his friends when they come out.

I followed Ali and his friends out and instead of going out of the entrance where Edik and our cameraman was waiting, he went out the entrance on the other side of the hotel to the parking lot that the guest who stay in the hotel park.

I got on my cell phone and called Edik to drive to the other side of the hotel to pick me up so we could follow Ali, who was most probably going home.

It seemed to take forever and I watched as Ali and friends drove off in 2 cars. I was still waiting for Edik and the cameraman to show up with our car.

Ali and friends were almost out of sight when I hear coming around the corner with the engine revving on our rented car as it bounced towards me, coming to a sudden stop next to me.

I opened the driver’s door, put the transmission from 1st gear to Park and Edik jumped into the passenger’s seat. By the time we were able to get Ali and company in sight, they made their way across an intersection and we were stopped by a red light and cross traffic.

I asked Edik what took him so long to drive the car around the building? He said that he didn’t know how to drive an automatic.

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