Vilamoura is the largest luxury tourist complex in Europe, covering some
20 km² of land. It is located in the
municipality of Loulé, in the Algarve,
I had arrived in Vilamoura with Jennifer on the evening of January 5th 2006. I had discovered that there was no flight from Lisbon to Berlin on 6th and 7th.
From the look of the tourist Resort city, I had figured that there was nothing like a cheap Hotel there. We had located the Crown Plaza Hotel at Rua do Oceano Antlantico. We rented a room at €120 per night.
Earlier that day in Lisbon, Madam Grace had called me and said she was heading to Porto to pick Jennifer up as we agreed the previous day. It was around 10am. I asked her to call me when she got to Sao Bento train station in Porto.
After her call, I had called Jose and asked him to start coming to Porto as well. He had told me that they were already in the train to Porto.
I had called Francis as soon as I finished talking to the Porto bound group. He said he was on his way to collect the Resident permit from his immigration friend.
I went downstairs and entered a bus down to Baixa where Madam Grace had her shop. I wanted to use that opportunity to find out about flight tickets before my documents were ready.
I got to Baixa and went straight to a dirty congested boutique owned by a Chinese man who had lost half of his teeth. I bought a face cap and put it on my head. I pulled the peak down to cover half of my face, then I walked quickly down to the travel agent’s office. He was there when I came. I greeted him as he offered me a single Plastic chair opposite him.
” I need two flight tickets to Berlin tomorrow morning” I said.
” He pressed his computer keyboard several times and shook his head.
” There are no flights to Berlin tomorrow and the day after tomorrow” he said.
I stared at him as he explained that there was a blizzard going on in Berlin. All the flights to Berlin had been grounded until January 8. He said there would be a flight from Faro to Berlin on the evening of January 7th but explained that Faro was 260km south of Lisbon.
I couldn’t believe what I heard.
I had just sent Madam Grace’s squad and Jose’s Squad to Porto on a collision course and here was a shocker about grounded flights. It wasn’t time to grieve. I needed to think and make a quick decision.
I called Jennifer and told her to pack our bags immediately. I told her to suspend whatever she was doing and get ready. We were moving out of town.
I called a cab and drove back to my Hotel. Jennifer was still scrambling with her cloths.
She had asked what it was and I told her that we needed to get as far away as possible from Lisbon.
I called Francis again, he said his immigration friend had not picked his calls. I decided to wait until 1pm before leaving Setubal. I had given the shadow chasers appointment by two 2pm. I could still buy sometime before they found out that I wasn’t in Porto.
I waited in my room as time crawled to 11:30, 11:40, 11:50. Each ten minutes brought me closer to danger.
At 12:30, I called Francis again. He said the man had answered his call but said they will meet by 1pm during the launch break.
There was a glimpse of hope. Jennifer had noticed my restlessness and had started panicking. I didn’t bother consoling her, I needed some assurance and soothing words too.
My mind drifted to what would happen if the Porto squad discovered that I had sent them on a goose chase. Madam Grace would definitely call Lisbon and tell them what I had done. The hunt party down in Lisbon would continue their look out for us. I would be vulnerable since I was in the open.
I knew I still had small time on my hand but I wanted to get out of Lisbon area as fast as I could. The city of Lisbon was no longer safe for me.
I knew Jose and Madam Grace would definitely meet each other in Golden Tulips Hotel in Porto. They would then ask the hotel receptionist about me. They would be told that there was no record of any Solomon there and they would figure out what happened. Jose was a clever young man. He would quickly knew that I wanted to do something in Lisbon and sent them out of the way. He may decide to partner with Madam Grace to go after their common enemy.
If I was lucky, they would fight each other in Porto but it was unlikely.
At exactly 1:30pm, my phone rang. I picked it without looking at the caller ID. I thought it was Francis but I was wrong.
” Where are you” the unmistakable voice of Jose boomed from the other end of the call.
” I told you 2pm” I said.
” I am already at the Hotel, what is your room number” he said.
” I will be down by 2pm” I said.
Another call had entered in my phone while talking with Jose. It was Madam Grace. I picked the call and asked if She had gotten to the Sao Bento station, she said she was in Front of the Hotel Golden Tulip. I asked her to go inside the Reception hall and wait for us. I knew Jose, Nuno and whoever they had with them were in the reception.
I told Madam Grace that I and Jennifer would come down soon.
I hung up and called Francis, he didn’t Pick the call. I tried again and no response.
That was it. I grabbed a bag and asked Jennifer to get the smaller one and follow me.
We were leaving Lisbon with or without Resident permit. My life was far more Important.