Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mario Vargas Llosa wins the Nobel Literature Prize 2010, a special week for many people, a wedding on Facebook and Spain continues to excel at sport

As soon as I heard Mario Vargas Llosa had won the 2010 Nobel Literature Prize, I dug out this
photo of me with him and the Rector at the UEM University where I organised Mario Vargas Llosa's Doctor Honoris Causa ceremony in 2006.  I am proud I did now.

Hi again

Would you believe I am writing this blog post this Sunday afternoon on the 10th of the 10th month of the year two thousand and ten, yeah: 10.10.10. I realised this after seeing a comment from friends on Facebook. In fact they posted it at 10 past 10 this morning! It should be a special day but it isn’t, at least for me, just a quiet Sunday in October.

It has been a special week though for quite a few people. In the first place comes the Peruvian writer who also has Spanish nationality, Mario Vargas Llosa, who won this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature. It was very special for him but actually for me too, because in April 2006 I organized his Doctor Honoris Causa ceremony at the UEM (Universidad Europea de Madrid) which was a project I worked on as a freelance after I left Nokia. I worked a lot on the event but the best moment was meeting the man himself. Mario Vargas Llosa who first married his Aunt (Julia - 10 years older) and then divorced her to marry his first cousin (Patrica - 10 years younger) is, apart from being a great writer, very much a lady’s man. The story goes that the animosity with his contemporary and fellow Nobel Latin American writer Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian writer most famous for One hundred years of solitude, stems from a dispute over women. He is very attractive and has an aura of charisma that you can’t quite put your finger on. The phone call from Oslo, or was it Stockholm, came at 5 in the morning this last Thursday in his rented flat near Central Park in New York. If he was famous before the prize, he is now even more famous as people rush to buy books by him they haven’t read. I have only read one and that was The City and the Dogs (La Ciudad y los Perros) when I was at University and I’m afraid I can only remember that it was a bit violent. I may well read now Tía Julia (Aunt Julia and the scriptwriter - about his first wife and his Aunt). I now feel doubly honoured that I had the privilege of organizing the Literature Laureate’s Dr. Honoris Causa.

Mario Vargas Llosa (right) gets a hug from former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo after Thursday's announcement that Llosa won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature.
It was also a very special week for the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo who won this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his fight towards a more democratic China. The authorities of that country though are outraged and on the point of breaking diplomatic relations with Norway amongst other things. It is not quite sure when Liu Xiaobo will have heard about the prize as he is serving an 11 year strict prison sentence for having written the 08 letter to the government with his ideas of reform to turn China into a democratic country. The prize will also now serve to make him more famous both outside and inside China and hopefully contribute one day to a more liberal China.

Liu Xiaobo, the jailed Chinese Dissident who won this year's Nobel Peace Prize much to the anger of the Chinese Govt.

Likewise it has been a special week for three friends of mine: my ex colleague Carlos A who started his new job with Apple iPhone Business for Spain as their Country Manager, Elena whose first week it was in her new job as Communications Director for Thyssen Krupp and Juana who will be starting this week coming as Account Manager for Microsoft. There will be cloud on Elena's happiness though  as this Friday her father-in-law passed away; the only real dark note of this post I'm afraid. In any case my congratulations go to all three of them in these difficult days of finding decent jobs. I was able to congratulate Juana in person as I had lunch with her and Julio and Fatima on Wednesday. As I am on my protein and protein plus veg, the Dukan Diet, I got to choose where we went and it was to De Maria in Majadahonda. You might be happy to know that this week it has been easier to follow this strict new regime and that I have lost the grand total of 3.6 kilos, some 7.9lbs in the English Imperial system, in just over 2 weeks.

I mustn’t forget too to mention that this week was special for Oli because it was her last week with RTVE. She is now at home studying hard for an exam to be admitted to a Master Degree in Television. It's special for Laura, my niece, too who has just started her first job with Lactiber a company that processes and packages milk and fruit juices for the Mercadona supermarket chain. Suzy my older daughter also deserves to be congratulated this week. She has just started her first job with Adecal and this Friday she gave her first course as an instructor on hygiene and food manipulation to a group of 12 catering students. All her worries and nerves went out of the window when she saw the fantastic evaluation they gave her and lovely comments. I didn't expect anything less. Well done Suzy, you're a star.

John Lennon was also a star, a very big one too and yesterday would have been his 70th birthday. A friend of mine, Javier G, who lives in New York took this picture yesterday in Central Park at the John Lennon Memorial which is in fact opposite his amazing house where his widower, the famous Japanese artist, Yono Oko. lives.

The John Lennon memorial in Central Park was packed yesterday
to commemorate what would have been his 70th birthday
I well remember as a child when they preached peace from their bed in that same house. It caused a sensation at the time and this picture will be forever remembered.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono preaching peace from their bed in New York in 1969.  Yesterday he would have been 70
So it's been a special week for many people. It was sort of special for us too and Eladio and I went out to dinner to La Vaca Argentina on Friday night to celebrate our own successes, one being Eladio returning as a Tutor with the UNED, the Spanish equivalent to the Open University. There was a moment in time last week when he thought he had lost his classes at the University where he has been teaching for the last 20 years. It has always been a part time job and one he has continued with after his semi retirement and one that is so important to him to keep him active and in touch with his world of education.

This week will have been special top for the families of the 33 Chilean Miners and the miners themselves who have been trapped in the San Jose mine 700 metres underground since 5th August, because yesterday the drill to rescue them penetrated the underground chamber where they are anxiously awaiting to be rescued. Hopefully the rescue operation will start soon and they will be happily reunited with their families and I will be posting a photo of the event in next week's blog.

It will have been a happy week for a colleague of mine, Manuel G. He is freak of social networks and new technology and always outwits me on Foursquare. He got married yesterday in Galicia in the North of Spain. Even Manuel surprised me with his minute by minute reporting of the wedding both on Twitter and on Facebook and a photo stream on At the beginning I thought he was publishing the tweets and posts himself but realised in the end he must have hired a “community manager” brother or friend to do the work for him. Thus I saw how the bride entered the church, when he said yes and all the most important parts of the ceremony. His friends and followers who weren't there also got a peek of the wedding party afterwards. He is now off to Singapore for their honeymoon and I am  looking forward to peeks of that, hahaha. You can see the link where he broadcast his wedding live on Twitter and Facebook here. Congratulations to Manuel and Victoria. May you be happily married forever and ever, Amen.

And finally the week has been special once again for Spanish sport and if you don't believe me just read this impressive list of successes. Not many countries can boast such excellence at sport in these times as Spain. Just off the cuff, Spain with their World Champion La Roja football team beat Lithuania 3 1 on Friday in a qualifying match for the Euro 2012 to be held in Poland and the Ukraine. Marc Comas won yesterday the Pharaoh's Rally and was proclaimed the 2010 Cross Country Rally World Champion. Nadal, the nine times Grand Slam winner won the Japan Tennis Open in Tokyo yesterday too. Fernando Alonso did not win in today's Grand Prix also in Japan but came a close 2nd and is now in the running to win the championship, Webber permitting with 220 points to Fernando's 206 and three rounds to go.  However, in nearby Malaysia, Jorge Lorenzo was crowned MotoGP World Champion after finishing third in the Grand Prix at Sepang. There are still 3 rounds to go but he be will champion whatever the results from now on. Similarly Tony Elias was crowned Moto2 champion in 250cc also in Malaysia.  Ah and just as I had finished this post I read on FB from Paul Sherwen the cycling commentator and friend that Oscar Freire has just won the Paris Tours race, the first Spaniard to do so ever. The only cloud on the Spanish sport horizon are accusations that Alberto Contador the winner of the Tour de France may  have taken illegal substances.  He claims it was a food infection.  I hope he is right.  Meanwhile well done for the rest of Spanish sport for bringing us so many successes.

 Rafa Nadal, the 9 times grand slam champion, won the Japanese Open yesterday.
His was just one of Spain's successes in sport yesterday.
Let's hope next week will be special too in a positive way for all of us. There is a national holiday on Tuesday and most people will take a long bank holiday including Monday. I will be flying to Stockholm tomorrow for the TeliaSonera Annual Communications Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday and very much look forward to returning to lovely Stockholm and to seeing familiar faces; my colleagues who do communications in all the other countries TS is present.

There will be news about that in next week's post of course

Meanwhile, all the best


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