Having family disseminated in 3 countries (down from 4 due to one relocation) in 2 continents (down one due to same) and friends in even more countries and one more continent presents some logistical complications (not to speak of costs).
So Mexico, Spain and Germany were visited during family and friends round ups, all was very pleasurable.
Mexico: becoming a godfather in a Catholic ceremony. Yay to atheism in Mexico. I'll have a hard time explaining that one to my godson.
Spain: hiking in the Catalonian mountains with my family.
Germany: meeting redheaded, gorgeous friend. No, it is not what you are thinking. I wish it was tough ...
Some friends and relatives becoming seriously ill, some mourning unavoidable next year :-(
2009 was horrible.
2010 was great money wise, I am trapped on my field of expertise, many of the technologies I know something about are being deprecated, and the guardians at the doors of recruiting agencies have no idea that my skills are 100% transferable to do "newer" stuff .
I am happy to become an IT undertaker and give the last rites to stuff younger guns would not know what to do with.
2011 may be a little 2009. Hope not tough.
- Travel ling
Mexico City's Bicentenary 10 K Race: running in the historic Paseo de la Reforma street was a delight.
Hamburg, Germany: http://www.miniatur-wunderland.de the inner child on me was mightily pleased.
Acapulco: sitting 2 m away from the sea waves while eating fresh seafood is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Hours passed that were entirely and happily unnoticed.
Spain: Catalonian food: delicious and dependable.
Mexico: narco war. For the first time I didn't feel safe while driving around. In Acapulco's surroundings you could smell the tension in the air. A few days after I left a group of 22 tourists (if they were tourists is still disputed) was kidnapped and they were found executed a few weeks later. They were driving in the same road I felt uneasy about a couple of weeks earlier.
If you do drugs remember that your actions are having far reach consequences. If you vote for politicians that back prohibition, remember Al Capone.
Germany: uh.... nothing. Loved it. Want a great holiday? I can't recommend Germany highly enough.
Spain: prices have gone up like there is no tomorrow.
- Arts (opera, cinema, books)
NY Met Opera broadcasts keep pushing the envelope in inventiveness and daring. Opera there is pretty much the standard against which other major opera houses must be judged. Their Boris Godunov a few weeks ago was absolutely unforgettable.
Placido Domingo at the PROMS: I have heard Placido Domingo twice live and it is an amazing experience. His voice does not seem to have too much volume but somehow he manages to make it fill the whole of the monstrous Albert Hall with ease. His dive into the stage during Simon Boccanegra semi staged performance was the stuff of legend. For a moment we all thought the great master had ended his great life doing what he loves the most, just to see him raising with a mischievous smile. I wish I was enjoying myself half as much doing my own job...
Hollywood: Inception, hands down the best, something that could have been a real mess of a plot was handled intelligently and without patronizing the audience, SFX in the right side between necessity and showmanship. Special mention to Avatar for the 3D, shame about ripping off Pocahontas' plot.
Non Hollywood: Danish Cinema: they have to be disciplined because dealing with strong unions (i.e filming is strictly 9 to 5, mandated brakes, etc) films have to be planned to perfection, actors can't be primadonnas because unions will just close shop for the day irrespective of having any footage or not, at which point if you are an acting primadonna and refused to work you career may be over, in synthesis the discipline and planning really shows. "Submarino" and "Nothing's all bad" are great examples of this.
Mexican cinema: weak year, but thinking about 20 years back, nothing to complain about. Must see is "El Infierno" (Hell) where all the problems with the drug trafficking culture are portrayed. Tellingly the movie has no happy ending. Catchphrase (paraphrased and translated): "why should I be afraid to go to hell for killing somebody? Hell is already here, on earth, surely there can't be anything worse...."
I should read more. Really I should. Anyway, the best book I read is "Abril Rojo" ("Red April") which is cinematic, entertaining and at the same time deals with political issues that are important to Peru, Latin America, and surprisingly enough, to the "war" on Terror.
Computerized booking systems: pretty much everybody in the UK's cultural world abandoned the fair system of general ballots to give way to first come first served booking.
The result: lots of frustrated, stressed and angry people. If you are not in front of your computer at 8:00am the day booking opens you will have no chance to attend popular events.
The World Cup of course:
Mexico 2 France 0 . It was a pleasure to see a Mexican team organized and purposeful outplaying the French (vice world champions at that point).
Germany 4 England 1: bittersweet and problematic, because my German connections and my warming to the hopeless adventures of the overpaid, overhyped, English team. England played their best game, had a payback for that goal in 66, and were bulldozed by the young, multicultural and talented German team. Operatic.
Spain 1- Netherlands 0: it was a real relief when the best team won. This Netherlandish team will pass to history as the nastiest one ever to play a final, De Jong foul play verged in the criminal (and this is not hyperbole).
Mazambe from DR Congo reaching the Club World Cup Final. They are all local players, they have been African champions 2 years in a row. And the English media? Very well thanks. This parochialism is well known in football circles, which is why when bid time comes England is not seen favorably (I have heard English pundits demanding the English FA to leave FIFO. ....).
The World Cup assignation fiasco.
FIFO exposed itself as the nasty, corrupt organization we all know it is. That they have no longer shame is astounding.
2 half marathons. 4 or 5 10K races. Not a single Kg lost. I must eat less rubbish :-)
That is all!
Merry Christmas (or enjoy the festive season if you are not of a Christian persuasion).
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