Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another week in November and news from Havana, Zagreb, Belgrade, Switzerland and Helsinki and stories about other places.

Suzy working at the Instituto del Frío
Hi again

We are now well into November and soon it will be Christmas and we will be off on our wonderful trip to India. But actually before that we will be visiting another part of the world, Stockholm again. I’ll be there for the annual Communications Kick-off (a bit strange having a kick off at the end of the year) and will, of course, be taking Eladio with me. Being the end of November I can only imagine it being dark, cold and probably wet but that should not deter the Anglo Saxan in me.

Regarding India, I sort of thought all the plans were finalised and hotels booked but Raju, the owner of the travel agency, Incredible Real India we are using and which comes highly recommended by friends and specialises in tourists from Spain, has yet again changed one of the hotels, this time in Jaipur. This seems to happen on a weekly basis and I am faced with a choice of 3 new hotels to choose from because yet again the original one is now fully booked owing to the fact that December is apparently the high season. Had we known, I think we would have gone at another time of the year. So there you have me, nearly a specialist in consulting Trip Advisor.

Talking about “foreign” destinations, this week has been a week of news from abroad. News from Havana is always news from our newly found cousin, Rosy. We correspond quite often and this week she was very worried about the “Paloma” hurricane which thankfully didn’t do as much damage as predicted.

There was news from the former Yugoslavia too this week, first from Zagreb from Mladen, Sanya’s step brother who got in touch with me after her funeral in London. It's strange as I have only ever met him at funerals, my brother's and Sanya's.

Then out of the blue I received two very touching emails from a girl called Milena, the daughter of friends of Sanya’s Mother, as well as from Sanya’s Mother, herself, Jancic. Both live in Belgrade, Sanya’s former hometown. The content of their messages has remained in my head and heart most of the week. In a way it was like being in touch with Sanya, or at least being in touch with “her world”, the world I didn’t know, which brought me some comfort. Truth to say I am still grieving for her. God bless you darling Sanya.

News from Switzerland (or is it France?) came from Andrew, a friend from our past who, I take it, is an avid reader of my blog. Andrew I still have to answer your email, but yes, of course you are welcome to stay in December.

News from Helsinki, was, of course, from my darling friend Anne, my ex boss and colleague but also a sort of surrogate sister cum daughter cum fellow soul. I am desperately in need of a visit from her soon. When are you coming my dear??

Meanwhile life at home took a bit of a lift this week after all the recent spate of bad luck. At least my spirits are now on their way up.

The post should really have started with a mention of our dinner last Saturday evening with old Motorola (old as in past, as my friends are not yet “old”, ha, ha, ha) colleagues, Gustavo and Susana and Marian and her new partner, Ovi. Susana booked a little place they know and which seems to be marketed only by word of mouth. It’s called Jiménez and is actually in the former railway station in Majadahonda. The cuisine was exquisite, the place very cosy but the portions, to quote Eladio “a bit mean”.
Dinner at Jiménez with Susana, Gustavo, Marian and Ovi.
Gustavo and Susana are literally immersed in bringing up their two small children and Susana, who is one of the most practical and intelligent women I know, seems quite happy to be a housewife and opt out of the corporate world. She has learned to play the piano in two years and I am sure she is by now an excellent pianist.

Marian, another practical and enterprising woman , I must say, has set up her own business, called Team Assistant which offers virtual secretarial and administrative assistance to companies and seems to be flourishing. I must say I admire her as she did this from scratch after the company she was working for went bankrupt and also as a single Mother with two small children and a mortgage! It was good to see her doing so well and in love again too!!

That was Saturday and on Sunday we dedicated the day to the family. You know, household chores, a lovely Sunday lunch with all 5 of us around the table which always makes me content and then the 4 of us went out to the cinema. It’s my recent tactic to do things with the girls. Otherwise they seem to lead their own lives and we do too and I often feel I have to make the effort to do things together as a family.
Me cooking for the family last Sunday
The girls in the kitchen helping with the finishing touches for Sunday lunch.
We went to see a superb film called
Children of Huang Shi about an Englishman called George Hogg and his adventures in China in the 1930’s during the Japanese invasion. It’s a film worth watching with all the ingredients I love, such as adventure, children, love and war as well as an exotic foreign country as the back drop.

The photo illustrating this week's post is of Suzy during her work placement. This week, she finished her stint with the Instituto del Frío a research institute mainly dedicated to science and food technology which is her speciality. She had been working there for 2 months as part of her (never ending) University Degree in this subject. The pictures of her are great in a lab with the lab coat and rubber gloves pouring some liquid into a sort of test tube. I heard at one stage that she had been measuring the fat in some sausages!!!

Anyway, she looks very professional as you can see from the photos and let’s hope she doesn’t read what I’ve just written about sausages as I might be in trouble!
Suzy at the Instituto del Frío
On Wednesday I had lunch with Vicente, a good journalist friend and I think the lunch did us both a lot of good. Over steak at De María in Majadahonda, we reminisced about the past and our trips together when I was with Motorola and Nokia as well as the state of the media in Spain today; not too buoyant I’m afraid.

On the work front, the week has been quiet. The press is very low key at the moment and I spent most of the time on preparations for Christmas activities, which, of course, if they are to have my “stamp” must be even more creative than last year. I don’t need my boss or anyone to set me the challenge as I generally set my own!

As I write here this Saturday evening, the weekend seems to be going quietly. The girls are not at home; they are out on the tiles in the centre of Madrid and even “abandoned” us for lunch. But we have our own social life so I can’t complain.

Last night we went out with Pedro (of cycling fame) and Ludy and their friend, Enrique, a notary, that most distinguished of Spanish professions. Fátima, my best friend, had joined us on other occasions and I think I secretly had hoped Cupid might have done his job to bring them together. But that was not to be as when we arrived at the Indian restaurant, Annapurna, there was Enrique sitting at the table waiting for us with a beautiful and perfectly groomed young looking woman called Lola. It soon became apparent that they were more than friends. The evening went well, the conversation was fluid and fun and the food, as ever, superb. Not for nothing is the place called “Annapurna” which apparently means “food of the Gods” or so the restaurant website says. I thought it was just the name of a mountain.

Dinner at Annapurna
And now I must stop writing as Eladio and I are off to the cinema again, this time to see a new Spanish film called La Buena Nueva
set in the Spanish civil war which again has some of our favourite ingredients: love, religion and war and sounds very promising.

Just before I end, I must say happy birthday to my dear friend Juana over the ocean in Mexico. !Felicidades Juana! She tells me her birthday present is 4 days in the “Riviera Maya” which must mean the crisis has not yet reached Mexico.

Or maybe it has as I am sure Mexico is at the Financial Summit today in Washington. As I write it must be nearly finishing. The credit crunch is certainly making its mark here in Spain and today the papers say that Europe is now officially in recession. Let’s see if anything good comes out of Washington today and in the months to follow in all the committees the summit will form.

Cheers till next time

1 comment:

Juana Fernández Silva said...

Gracias por acordarte de mi cumple.
El hotel de 5 estrellas de la Riviera Maya estaba lleno de españoles. Segun me comentaron, los aviones de España siguen llegando llenos cada semana. Parece que la crisis no afecta a todos...