Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Party in La Rioja, Michael Jackson died, Oli in Guatemala, Suzy away and the end of an era.

Oli enjoying working with underprivileged kids in Guatemala.
Hi again

What a week, what with my Summer Party for over 170 people and then Michael Jackson died.

I’m really late with my blog this week and it’s because I have been overloaded with work for the Yoigo employee and partner summer party. I took 177 people on a two day activity packed trip to La Rioja last Thursday and Friday. It seems an easy thing to say but actually it meant over 3 months of intense preparations. The sensations the work and event caused can be summarised in: total exhaustion, a sense of great fulfilment and now a sort of emptiness. That always happens after a big event and somehow I never get used to it.

For you to get an idea, this was the programme.

It included the company presentation and lunch at the Parador in Santo Domingo de la Calzada and an auto gymkhana (21 teams in Yoigo cars with 8 people each which all went to different neighbouring villages and had to compete against each other doing things like building a 4 metre Yoigo logo in the main square and getting the local mayor to appear in the picture!). It also included a fantastic dinner at the famous Márques de Riscal winery in El Ciego where we had cocktails in the lobby of the hotel designed by Frank O’Gehry, the great Canadian architect who also designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Pretty good photo of the whole group at Márques de Riscal. Rafa, the photographer had to get on a ladder to take it. I love the result. Can you find me?
To top it all, the “Summer party” ended with visits to the centenary wineries in Haro, Cune and Bodegas Bilbainas.

And here is the full set of photos which you can see on Flickr.

Suzy came with me and helped the girls at the agency which made everything much easier for me.
Suzy with Cristina, Gloria, Bea, Nuria and Marina during the party. Her red hair was and is spectacular
She also drove as we went the night before and we managed to have some good moments together.
Me sticking my head through a pilgrim photo call in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. The town is on one of the Jacobean Way routes (el camino de Santiago) and is full of pilgrims.
We heard about Michael Jackson’s strange death just after the dinner at Márques de Riscal, apparently caused by a heart attack as he was rehearsing for 100 concerts soon to take place in London. Well that was probably a bit much for someone aged 50, stuffed with barbiturates or whatever and with his eccentric background. I’m afraid to say he never was my favourite character or singer as a matter of fact. Apparently the album Thriller (I had to look that up as I do not know the name of one single song!) by him is still the best selling album in the world but I must be one of the few people on this planet who is not a fan.
The face of a young Michael Jackson as he appeared in the era of the Jackson 5 and their discovery at the famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem How plastic surgery changed the face of Michael Jackson
Meanwhile Oli continues in Guatemala and is now well into her second week. The experience from what she writes is very positive. She commented that the children she works with have NOTHING. She says they are dirty, poor and dressed in rags and yet have beautiful smiles for her. The photo illustrating this blog above proves it, as does this charming one of her with a little girl.

Suzy is away too. After La Rioja she went to Badajoz for the weekend with her school friends and then yesterday she galavanted off to Santa Pola with her cousins Laura and Alicia (my god daughter) and a friend, Juli to enjoy the beach for a few days. I do hope she will come back soon and start revising for the many exams she has to sit in September!

So this week there are just the two of us and my Father plus our lovely pets, Norah the beagle and Joe and Phoebe our cats. The place seems very lonely without the girls. I suppose we should start getting used to it as soon it will be permanent. Oli will be the first to go as she will be moving out as soon as she returns from Guatemala. I imagine it will be just a question of time until Suzy goes. Oh dear, this is certainly the end of an era in our house and family. I wonder what the next era will bring. I hope that just as much happiness as before.

And that’s it for this week folks.

All the best till next time

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