Monday, June 29, 2009

At Debo´s Temple: Fans in Madrid Saying "We´ll Miss You" to a King

As I said in my previous post, the call was for going to during the whole weekend, but the end should be at Atocha, Sunday 28th. 20.00.

I went there… but… NOBODY THERE! :(

So we decided to go to the Hard Rock Café again… there I found some people around an altar and a note saying: On 28th. at 18.00 a homage at Debo´s Temple, come all!.

It was already 20.45 when I saw it… but well, it wasn´t so far away, we decided to go there as well.

I haven´t ask, but I can imagine there were more people before, when I got there few people, listening his music with an ipod that someone took.

At the center, at the floor, some posters, gloves, notes, flowers, candels, but what impressed me more was a “copy” of Michael Jackson´s Hollywood star that was really well done:

In a moment, spontaneously, people started to took the hands to each other in order to make a big circle. Then someone started to shout things like “Viva Michael!” and everybody started to clap.

When finally a very well known song started, Billie Jane, we all had sung it.

One fan danced Dangerous, this time I got the whole song, but it was almost no light there, I´m afraid.

Other videos:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson: Fans in Madrid Saying "We´ll Miss You"

I was writing my good bye post when they mentioned on the news that in Madrid the fans will go to the Hard Rock Café to make him a small tribute… so there I went.

It was very spontaneous and simple, nobody organized it, just the fans accorded to go there. Was amazing to see over there people of all ages.

When I arrived, there were already a lot of fans, but it was very quiet, mostly people with sad faces, some crying. Several tv cameras and news photographers. Wasn´t easy to hear the music, due it was being played in a car CD player, that one of the fans had the good luck to find there a parking place and had open all the doors (even the back one) to ad music to the tribute, at first slow music like “I´ll be there”, “We are the World” and “Man in the Mirror”.

Suddenly music started to be livelier and so do the fans. A few, in order, started to dance a bit and from then on it became into a party!

We also had one minute silence.

The one with the music had to go around 23.00 and something magical happened: some fans, again in order, started to sing his songs, with the rest of fans doing the choruses.

I´m afraid I had to go more or less at midnight seems the call is for going there the whole weekend and also in front of the entrance of the Wash Museum, where they had put M. J. statue out there.

The pity: I do think would be nice from Hard Rock Café marketing staff to find the way to place a screen with Michael´s videos out there. Anyway some of us went there to at least drink something…

Friday, June 26, 2009

Good Bye to a Genius

This blog has as goal to talk about happy/nice issues… a death won´t ever been something happy/nice to talk about but I would like to express my modest tribute to this genius, Michael Jackson, that had dead yesterday.

He “had being there” my whole life. When I was a child, he was already singing at tv. When I become into a teen, he gave me and my school friends new dance steps to copy (or at least to try to!). I can remember free moments (like when a teacher didn´t appears or the study time) with a tape at the background and all of us trying to dance like him. He was the first one involving all the greatest in an inspiring video to call to our conscience to help the ones that need more help at the world. He revolutionized the video industry. Even today everybody still dance at the discos with his old songs or the new versions of some of them.

With him I discovered that I can admire the art of a genius no matter what I think about his problems and eccentricities. Anyway how can we judge someone that had whatever but not a normal life? Otoh: I do think anybody would be eccentric having the money to! And… why nobody thinks Walt Disney with his Disney parks was childlike as well, as everybody say Neverland is the clear prove that M. Jackson was? (And who wouldn´t like to have money enough as to build a funfair at the garden of your house?).

So, I celebrate his artistic genius, the legacy he left to the whole word. Thank you for that, Michael!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Breakfast in Guatemala (Second Part)

Let´s continue with a very important meal for Guatemalans.

Note: if you click on the food links mostly you´ll find the recipes, but sometimes more explanations.

Tamales: this dish is part of all Latin American countries culture… but! You won´t find the same savor on them even in 2 regions of the same country. The history about tamales doesn´t clarify about the origins, but seems it had born in Mexico and went out from there to all Latin America with the conquistadores. I can´t tell… I wasn´t there, you know! ;) But what I know for sure is that this dish is part of the bases or our culture.

Red Tamales: usually done with a base of corn dough with meat (could be pork, chicken or beef), with a tomato sauce… but here is exactly the point that make them different between countries: the condiments and the way to do the sauce. Also could include olives and pepper. The dough with the condiments inside is wrapped in plantain leaves and put into a pot to be cook.

Here a video of how to prepair and wrap tamales:

This could be the most representative Guatemalan tamale, but we also have:

Rice Tamales: the dough is made with rice, but the rest of the process is the same.

Black Tamales: the sauce includes chocolate and sugar, so it´s sweet and more use for special occasions like Xmas.

Corn Tamales is with just the dough, no meat, no sauce, but prepared in a special sweet way.

Chepilin Tamales are as well with a corn dough base and this plant leaves.

Cambray tamales also sweet ones, made with aniseed.

Chepes with corn dough base and boiled black beans inside.

White Tamales done just with corn dough, those are for serving with other meals (using it like bread).

Loroco Tamales with the same corn dough base, with boiled lorocos inside.

Tamale with Izote are also corn dough based small tamales with boiled izote flower inside.

Chuchitos are corn dough based small tamales, with meat inside and tomato sauce, but nothing else. The savor of the sauce, even being done also with tomatoes, is quite different than normal tamale.

Paches are potato dough based, with meat but no sauce.

Tamales are a meal that could be taken at any time, not exclusively during breakfasts. Most of them are use as a complete meal, but some (like white ones, chuchitos or corn ones) could be use, cut by slices, as bread with the meals.

I already know the savor of the tamales could be something so different for someone that haven´t ever tried one and is doing it for first time being an adult… maybe is the kind of savors that you have to group up with to really appreciate them. I just love them!

(To be continued)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Breakfast in Guatemala (First Part)

If there´s something so cultural in life, that´s eating. The point is not just only about the food itself; but also about the schedules, the spices to use, the costumes of how to prepare it and even how to eat it.

Also eating is something so personal but at the same time linked with the family, friends and mostly great memories.

When I came to Spain, I didn´t thought about how important would be the food for me. First of all due I like almost any kind of food and, on the other hand, I love Spanish food… But! After just a couple of months I was saying “my kingdom for a tamale!” :P

So, it´s also easy to think: “if you miss your food, cook it by yourself!” He! Well, sometimes, yes, is as easy as cooking at home, but sometimes you can´t find the ingredients, or it means a lot of work, especially if you will cook just for 1 or 2 people… but on the other hand, as I said, to talk about food is not just to talk about savors, but also about environment, places, people… family, friends… associated activities…

That far, for me, the meal I miss more than the others is the breakfast. First of all, due Guatemalan´s breakfast costums are so different from Spanish ones… at all! So! Let me tell you how are breakfasts in Guatemala! :D

Note: if you click on the food links mostly you´ll find the recipes, but sometimes more explanations.

The food

I think the American roots are very obvious in Latin-American breakfasts, starting with the food.

In a Guatemalan breakfast you can find:

Eggs: scrambled, fried, soft boiled, poached, hard boiled, omelet… but we usually don´t eat just the egg cooked like that… normal is to have sauces to dress them. At least ketchup! ;) Or “chirmolito”! :D Or a simple tomato homemade sauce.

If you go to eat to a restaurant, then the variations are infinities. Here we also can appreciate the influence of Mexican food in Guatemalan´s one. Rancher´s Eggs, Motul Style Eggs… but also other specialties from other countries like Benedictine Eggs, Eggs Florentine, Flamenco Eggs… Yeap! I think we could have a whole blog just about eggs! :)

But... that´s not the only one thing you can get for breakfasting in Guatemala! Oh no! That´s just part of the options!

But I´ll continue with that in my next post! :)

(To be continued)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bogota Final Part: Chiva Rumbera and Parties!

If we take into account that Colombians are known as the “party kings” and combine that with a young team of Argentineans lovers of new technologies, we could start to get the picture about how good organized was the whole Championship.

People of, the official web for playing Spanish Scrabble online, had been responsible of the technical organization, including, of course, retransmissions. FISE´s staff made the organization of the Championship and the different tourneys, meaning while the tourneys where played, but the Colombian Scrabble organization made, as good hosts, a great job during the time we weren´t playing.

The Scrabble Colombia team had take care of every single detail, from sending us mails the days before asking us if we prefer them to arrange taxis to wait us at the airport, made a welcome letter including prevention indications and how to behave at the city in case we go around alone, prepared a quite complete activities program for the different days the tourney lasted, most of the activities ended with party! (When they weren´t the organizators of the party, Rede´s people did!) :D and even they had done a very happy song talking about a couple that found love playing Scrabble! :D

So, every night some of us were at the different parties, some others playing Scrabble at the lobby. Yes, we just can´t get enough! And it´s not usual to have the bests of the world at the same place! So! We finished the championship inebriated of Scrabble and party! :D

With no doubts, the best party was the Chiva Rumbera one. First of all, I should explain what is a “chiva rumbera”. The chiva is a kind of bus, but with some differences from the normal ones we all know. First of all, instead of having 2 lines of sits per row, it´s just 1 line, going from one wall to the other, so, every line has it´s own door. There are no windows at the sides. Some of them have no some of the sits in order to give space to a musicians group. This all make them perfect for having party inside! And that´s exactly the goal! :D When you go into a Chiva Rumbera, it means you´ll have a party at the bus (could be with a real life musicians group, could be with cd´s) while you are giving a ride. The ride includes drinks that usually are rum. Depending on the place, you´ll go to some places or others, but the point is to have a city seeing night tour that includes a visit to a viewpoint where the Chiva stops, usually several at the same time, to make a big party, but this is just one of the stops, not the end… the end usually is at the most fashion discos street. Wherever you go with the Chiva, everybody will now a Chiva is coming due the big noise of the music inside of it… so, usually people will stop a bit for greeting the Chivas. Usually different Chivas met at the streets and it becomes into a fight for being the faster and the one with people having more fun.

In our case, we had 2 Chivas that took us from the hotel and made a tour going first to the party zone of the city, then to the La Calera overview, where we stopped for a while and then we went back to the hotel.

You see, in situations like this one is quite interesting to watch out how the different cultures behave. Since the beginning, all the people from Latin America were laughing, dancing, singing and drinking. The Spanish ones were a bit serious at the beginning, like watching what was going on… even some kept on sited big part of the way to the overview point. .. one liter of Rum latter… hehehehe! Spanish team was unrecognizable! Even Juan Carlos Ayala, that usually is so quiet and serious, was dancing! I was at his side and once he told me “Ho! In this country everybody dance! Even me, that haven´t dance in my whole life… and look at me! Now even I am dancing!”

When we were going back to the hotel, most of the people started to relax a bit, knowing the party will be over soon… but the Spanish team at this point was at the middle of the fun and went out of the Chiva, in front of the hotel, cheering: “we all want more, we all want more… we all want more, much more and much more!” :P But I´m afraid it was so late and all the people were concerned about the matches to play the day after.

The party, in all the versions (dancing or playing Scrabble) ;) had been all the nights of the championship. Topo and I had the flight for coming back home the morning after the last day of the tourney. Again the way back meant to go first from Bogota to Miami, where we stayed some hours (not enough for going out to watch a bit, but enough for doing some shopping at the airport stores and for eat something while playing a Scrabble). Then, from Miami to Madrid… and for Topo some more hours till finally arrive in Barcelona. Before leaving Bogota, Topo had been playing Scrabble… in my case, I had been dancing and dancing and dancing! We were 8 the ones that had been dancing till 5.00 in the morning, I´m afraid I had to leff then, the taxi for going to the airport would be waiting us at the door of the hotel at 5.30 and I haven´t finished to put all inside my bag already! But I even took a shower before leaving the hotel!  Yeap, I had been dancing the whole night without sleeping after finishing the championship and went to the airport quite tired… but… we´ll have a lot of hours at the plane to sleep!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bogota Third Part: Scrabble Tourneys

There were also other Scrabble tourneys taking place in Bogotá those days:

The Andean Tourney: for people from Venezuela, Perú, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. It had been played 2 days before the World Championship (SSWC from now on). The winner, José Luis Rodriguez from Venezuela, obtained a place at the SSWC.

Other Tourney was the called “Extra” one. This one is for all the people that would like to play it and also gives 4 places for the SSWC.

The afternoon of the day before the World Championship, took place a new Tourney: the First Nations Scrabble in Spanish Cup. It was played by teams of 5 people, but playing at the same time just 4 (so one of each group can relax a bit each match). Days before the SSWC someone of the Spanish group of representatives, asked by mail who would like to play that tourney… and Alvaro, Topo, Juan Carlos and me, as good newbies, answered so soon we would like to, plus Carlos Puente, the only one of us that already had experience in a World Championship… the point is the other countries selected their best players for playing the tourney and we 5 weren´t exactly the best ones of Spain, so… the result was obvious… we were the second last… no wonder! :(

For me the funny experience was at the last match. I usually play quick, but in this case we both had to think a lot and the game took more time, so we were one of the last couples to end… It was a hard game, I had to think a lot, so, when we finally finished it, I was really thick and tired. In this kind of tourneys the public should remind outside the room the players are… so, imagine my big surprise when I opened the door of the room, someone asked me if I had won and when I said yes a lot of people screamed quite excited! Hehehehe! No! it wasn´t exactly my group of fans! ;P The point was that my game was the last one of the Spanish team and depending on it, Colombia would be (or not) the winner of the tourney… so the ones outside were the Colombians celebrating not exactly that I had win but that it meant they had win!!! :D

The World Championship was really exciting. In my case I usually say that my perfect way to lose weight is being in Scrabble tourneys! I usually go to the bathroom before starting the match and immediately after finishing each! But it´s nice to release that even the more expert players are also nervous. But what I liked more, was that even being a quite serious championship, everybody was so friendly, it really feels like a nice big family! The champion was Benjamín Olaizola.

The championship lasted 3 and half days. Most of us stayed in the same hotel. Also the meals were arranged with the hotel, so, most of us even didn´t cruised the hotel door during those days! Basically the restaurant was just for us during those days.

But definitely my favorite part of the Championship was what happened every night AFTER the matches! Just that… it deserves it´s own post! ;)

(To be continued)