Sunday, December 05, 2010

Reunions, an anniversary, a new toy, a metro hero, Spain in a state of alert, the story of WikiLeaks and more.

With Javier and Xavi (pink shirt) at the Motorola Christmas dinner this week

Hi again,

Well yes it’s Sunday again and, in Spain at least, the beginning of a very long bank holiday to celebrate the Constitution and the Immaculate Conception. Suzy has gone off to Asturias with Gaby in a fun red jeep his boss lent him.
Suzy and Gaby off to Asturias in a red jeep yesterday. It was a surprise trip for Suzy

It was a surprise overnight trip for my daughter who only knew where she was going when they got on the motorway. And it was to Asturias in the north of Spain to a small village called Langreo in Ciaño, at least a 6 hour drive. They stayed at a charming little hotel called Peña L’Agua. If you look in the website you can even see the room they slept in called Las Mimosas.
The hotel Peña L'agua in Ciaño Asturias where Suzy and Gaby stayed last night

We have stayed at home, unusual you will say, but then we can’t always be travelling and it’s nice to lounge around at home and get rid of the week’s stress. In actual fact it’s quite a good thing we didn’t buy air tickets to go anywhere as we would have been grounded because of the wild cat air traffic controller strike which held the country to hostage on Friday and Saturday, but more about that later. We went out to dinner last night to De Brasa y Puchero in Boadilla on our own. I thought it was going to be with Elena and her husband José Luis but mixed up the dates in my diary. So I have a dinner date with them next week now to look forward to.

My week was full of reunions and an anniversary and I love reunions. Also we had the visit of my dear brother-in-law Andrés who came to see two second hand BMW X3 cars. His visit  on Monday coincided with the Barça Madrid derby league match which disappointingly we couldn’t watch as it was only on pay TV. It was probably a good job actually as Barcelona beat Madrid a humiliating 5-0.

The first reunion was on Tuesday  when I had lunch with my ex Nokia girlfriends, Susana, Jill, Zenaida, Ana, Fátima and Juana. We went to De María, a great place but getting a bit pricey, in Majadahonda. Of course we all gossiped about how the company and our ex colleagues were doing and exchanged juicy rumours. It was great to see you girls, you are looking great!

Reunion Christmas lunch with my ex Nokia women colleagues this week

My second reunion was with another ex Nokia colleague whom I hadn’t seen since I left the company. It was great to see Carlos L.A., now Apple Iberia Country Manager for iPhone business. I couldn’t think of a better person for the job. Well done Carlos. It was great to see you too on Thursday. There is a lot of life outside that inferno as many of us have discovered.

The last reunion was a long planned Christmas dinner with my ex Motorola colleagues at Viancco in El Zielo shopping centre in Pozuelo. It was snowing on the way as it has been a lot in Spain this week but it didn’t settle. I got there at 9 on the dot and greeted other early arrivals, Nacho, Ignacio, Ruben and three Javiers, if you count Xavier. People were still arriving after 10 and we didn’t sit down to eat till very late. The restaurant was Italian and there was hardly anything I could eat on the menu so I ordered a salad and some meat which never came. I recognised nearly everyone but was sad not to see some missing people. Fátima who had promised to come never turned up but then that is not unusual in her. I sat next to Xavi and Javier and on the other side were Nuria, Juan Luis and Ruben. Most of the night we were laughing about early day Motorola episodes and could hardly believe 20 years had passed since we all started at our school of mobile telephony. Of about 30 of us at the dinner on Thursday only 3 still work for Motorola which tells a story in itself. Nowadays most of us are still in the sector, some of us at mobile phone operators and others at different mobile phone manufacturers. When we worked for Motorola it was the biggest brand in mobile phones. Today it is a shadow of what it was. The sector has transformed dramatically since we all started in the early 90’s. Here is a photo of me with Xavi (in a pink shirt) and Javier. I was feeling and looking great with my improved figure and wore my new Desigual t-shirt for the occasion. Here is the link to the rest of the photos of that great night.

One of the many fun moments during the ex Motorola Christmas dinner this week.

1st December was Yoigo’s 4th anniversary and we all went offsite to celebrate but also to present the staff with the results of the Yoigo 2015 project which will go live at the beginning of next year. The management team did 4 presentations in teams of 2. I was paired up with Juan Manuel and we had the exciting topic of values, mission and vision to present. We did a dialogue style presentation and had some pretty zappy slides, thanks to a lot of external help from Bea and Cristina. Thanks girls, the effort was well worth it. At lunch we were visited by our Yoigo “muñecos” (dolls) who brought on the giant birthday cake. Again they caused a sensation as they are very spectacular. Here is the group photo of all us outside the Hotel Rafael together with the “muñecos”. Ah by the way, that day we all learned a new word: “effisimplarency” which has a lot to do with our future. We registered the word in Wikipedia but unfortunately it was turned down.

The Yoigo employees on 1st December, our 4th anniversay, together with the Yoigo dolls (muñecos)

At the event we were all given a new toy, a Christmas present from Samsung, the new Galaxy Tab, the iPad rival. We were also given a free internet connection, the idea being to become more familiar with data. It didn’t take me long to unpack it and get started and I am now hooked. It’s smaller than the iPad but it has a big plus, it’s also a telephone.

My wonderful new toy, a Christmas present from Samsung to all the Yoigo employees.

Me at my desk at home.  The first picture taken with my new toy, the Samsung Galaxy Tab

So lots of events, but I’ve been good with my diet as I have been from the very start at the end of September. I’ve now lost nearly 11 kilos since then and have only 3 kilos to go!! When I am motivated I have the will power to do anything. My worry is will I be able to sustain it? I sincerely hope so and will definitely try harder this time, although Christmas will be a challenge. Meanwhile I am enjoying my new figure and am forever buying clothes at the little boutique near here; lots of woollen pinafore dresses which are so in fashion and also warm for this cold weather. I also bought some great flat heeld black Wonders boots to wear with my pinafore dresses. Instead of thinking about my next meal I now think about the clothes I am going to wear the next day. Suzy says I’m obsessed. Maybe, but it’s working and I’m so happy.

Whilst I was having my encounters a lot of things happened in the world. On Thursday the FIFA announced the countries to host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022, Russia and Qatar respectively. England and Spain were competing and were upset to lose and I was too for them. It is evident, but not in the rules, that the countries which have never hosted the event have more chances of winning. In a sort of sour grape attitude, the press here and in England said it was oil and petrol money which had been the winner. Maybe, who knows?

The piece of news I liked best this week was one of heroic action. It happened on Friday at the Puerta del Angel metro station in Madrid and the whole episode was caught on the security cameras and has now been viewed the world over. A man lost his balance and fell on the rails. People were in alarm and of course a train could have come in any moment. Suddenly a man jumped to the rescue and pulled the victim away to safety just as an incoming train was about to run him over. Later we heard that the hero was a young off duty policeman called Angel who didn’t think twice before he jumped. He has only been in the police force for a couple of months but explained that he was trained to act like that and that he jumped to the rescue instinctively. He will be awarded a medal but I wonder who the victim was and why he lost his balance, or rather why he didn’t try to get up when he fell over. Was he attempting suicide? Eladio remarked to me today that you never read about suicides in the media here and that there is probably an unwritten agreement not to report on them. I wonder if that is true. You can see the video of what happened here, if you haven’t already seen it. It’s breathtaking.

The heroic rescue at the Madrid metro on Friday

That was the piece of news I liked. The news I didn’t like was the wild cat strike of the Spanish air traffic controllers which halted practically all air traffic in Spain from Friday evening until yesterday afternoon causing havoc. Air traffic controllers work only 30 hours a week and can earn between 200.000 and 1.000.000 euros a year and are becoming famous in Spain for their discontent and consequent disruption. “There is not a lot of sympathy for them in a country with 20% unemployment” to quote the Daily Telegraph correspondent in Madrid. The government had to take very firm measures and unbelievably declared a “state of alert”, literally militarising this group of people. In a state of alert if they didn’t work they could have been sent to prison. So they had no option but to be marched back to their posts and get on with it. The wild cat strike started at the beginning of the bank holiday stranding hundreds of thousands of passengers. I feel very sorry for all of them but thankful that for once we were not travelling anywhere. Things are gradually getting back to normal but this is an episode which won’t be forgotten easily.

The Iberia fleet of planes grounded this weekend because of the air traffic controllers wild cat strike

On an international level, the episode which will never be forgotten and is the biggest news item in all media is the story of WikiLeaks and how Spc. Bradley Manning, described as a 22 year old “public homosexual activist” downloaded and released classified information to the now famous website, as a a way to get back at the United States military over its policy regarding homosexuality. WikiLeaks (the site may not be available anymore but you will find it on Facebook) then released the more than 250.000 copies of the U.S. diplomatic cables with candid assessments of world leaders and secret details of nuclear and antiterrorism activity to the world’s leading newspapers. says this “represents the most embarrassing and potentially damaging disclosure of American diplomatic material in decades”. The editor and spokesperson of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is in hiding, as probably the most wanted person in the USA. He is not just wanted for the releasing of the documents. To make the story even more film material and juicy, he is also wanted in questioning for sex crimes. I would not like to be in this man’s shoes at the moment.

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks editor and spokesman

I have now come to the end of this week’s blog. I have a quiet week ahead with a holiday on Monday and Wednesday. Despite the bank holiday, or “puente” (bridge) as it is called here I’ll be working because I have a lot of preparations for the Yoigo Christmas activities. As for our own Christmas preparations, it is still early days.

That’s it for this week then folks. Hope you have a good week and have enjoyed the post,

See you next week,


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