Day 4: casa boheme rehashed

gracie and meIn loving memory of my wonderful and most beloved friend Gracie Villareal

3:25 PM



When Gracie passed away last April, Joanne and I thought we should give up our house in Deira and there was a time when we almost did but we thrived on.  Amidst the sadness of Gracie’s death, the financial mishaps and the stress that went with it, we all moved on and with Gracie’s memory and guidance, fought to the grind and relived our lives in this house.

I live in a seventh floor on a nondescript section of Deira, the heart of Dubai where prostitutes rump their assessment at 3 AM and the bakers, fast food, clubs resuscitate their vows of service as long as everybody is breathing.  The traffic, horrendous as it is, hums like a transistor radio, non-stop to destinies over stressful comforts deep into the eyes of the passerby, the cleaning aids, the chic Chanel-dressed people or the unkempt goths and me, the needle in this haystack of a place; waddling in my Converse at night getting anywhere where there is a double shot of vodka or hopscotch-like in my Perry Ellis in the morning to work and earn and save and make a future out of my lethargic self and perhaps, harmonize the residues in the making of the perfect expatriate.

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My building is a cream-colored splat of cement overlooking the busy Rigga street.  In my estimation it is more than 15 years old but along the modish apartment complexes and hotels that surround it, it stands a nomadic appeal,  hunchbacked among the crowned architectural havens around him but . . . that is the beauty of my very own habitat;  he looks like me.

In flat number 703, our Mexican and Japanese-inspired flat, I live with these characters I call my bohemian connection to where I headlong as the neurotic substance on their lives. I deem to be flaccid as I have never imagined me being among these hauntingly fervid and nostalgic group of earthlings but then again, I reckon the geometrical patterns of characters as we are all, in fact, suspended 7 floors away from the ground.  Contributing to the fact that we all have different Zodiac patterns, we gather all elements, synergize them and interlace the ribbons of our daily ins and outs from and to the door – the almost-spurious redundancy of events, the homey drinking sessions and even the quickie hellos – thus making the “habitat”  constantly in beat, even more, each flushes, a candid and colorful shade thus making a fresh pump into each others every day pill-popping existence.  Honestly speaking, I have invented a new way of getting rid of my daily stress by talking to my housemates.  I mean, really talking to them and it always snaps the devil out of my day.  Recently.  Always.

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OK, before you start scrolling down to the attached pictures of my casa boheme,  let me commend my espoused friend Catherine for inspiring me (and living with me) and for waving her fanaticism in my 50-day project, thus, making me survive the fourth day – rehab style – writing my butt out.  She was an accomplice in my sister’s surprise birthday party last Monday  – and it was an unforgettable one.  The one who actually suffered in the dirty job of cooking and the one whose eyes sparkled when the candles were blown as we all frittered through the night, tequila induced . . . little dark angels of emotional and physical recreation.

Behold, the housemates and their cosmic curriculum vitaes . . .

703 006Joanne – long-haired crisp of a Taurean mother.  Special Service Agent for Etihad.  Laughing partner, smoking bud and wailer to the extreme.  We cry together and have been doing that for the past four years.  Purely dimensional.  It is a gift from God.

703 009Francis Joanne’s husband – shady smiles, enigma to the conspiracy of hunkdom.  A father of one, of tequila shots and supernatural stories.

703 007703 010Jeff and Jeleen – Love unabound . . . doused in beer and muscled love to perfection.  They are starcrossed sweethearts who makes us remember that there are no impossibilities in building something from nowhere.  Both are torchbearers of cotton candies and flaming roses in the house.  Again, a gift.

703 008Isabelle mother goddess.  The salt to our earth.  A walking joy and street smart laughter.  She taught me the advent of being free and that it is never too late to wonder and to fall into the boundaries of love.  When I first met her, I knew we will be good friends and in that sense, it held true. She is my mother and my laughing confidante who made sure I am eating well and taking good care of myself.  Such a gift for me at a time when I stopped meeting and having friends, thanks to work and my ever pulsating time table.

markMark – Francis’ little brother.  Gym addict, PS3 slave and all around chatterbox.  Do not make him stop talking – he won’t.

catzCatherine – one of my oldest friends in Dubai.  My avid fan, co_everything (as we dwell in almost anything especially our lesbianic stance and our ex-junkiness that we are both so proud of!),  an eclectic singer and a friend of our family as well.  She is the epitome of coolness both inside and out.  Dubai will never be the same without her.  In momentous times and times of sloth, we talk it through and inflict each other with positivity and cure our disorders with hard laughter altogether.


Oh, and me, Jon – training director/writer/quasi-esoteric researcher/lover and all the politically incorrect labels that you can name as far as you can count.  I sub-run the house, thus, I am also a leader, a breaker, a memo maker and definitely, everybody’s sponge.  I f*cking love it !!!

So, this the wedge.  And them, the typeset.  We are all busy in this growing and fabulous city called Dubai, who is fast-becoming the new New York and we all, a fraction among the rest of the city’s creatures, live in this creamy, primeval apartment.  We are all different.  We all have tantrums and indiosynchracies and yet we blend into woven colors of purple, pink, gray and yellow; incandescent and powerful.  We recreate our worlds even in the pushes of alcohol and loud music but we are one, a family, a piece.  A masterpiece of amalgamation.  A walking (and giggling) gypsy of a woman, with her earth songs and the constant cling clang of her miniature metals and brownstones . . . so behold . . . Casa Boheme.


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