Monday, October 30, 2006

Recognition Ceremony at the Red Cross

On Saturday 9th of September, the Bolivian Red Cross organized an official event to thank various organizations in La Paz and El Alto which collaborate in terms of providing First Aid to the general population. A group of about 10 volunteers from the La Paz branch attended (including yours truly), dressed up in our smurf outfits (seriously - check out the photos and you'll understand why "smurf"). Other organizations present included the SAR Bolivia, firemen, cops, volunteers from the El Alto Red Cross, and government representatives. I was chosen to stand up front by the important people, next to the Bolivian Red Cross flag – quite the honour! (Photo on the right: Ruben Gonzalez, national head of "Socorro y Desastres"; Elsa, who has been around forever and a day; Dr. Abel Peña y Lillo the Big President; Sofia from the La Paz Red Cross; and Dra. Perales, national head of "Salud" - and me standing by the flag on the far right!). Too bad I wasn’t feeling that well and standing up so straight in the sun without even being able to slouch made me feel queasy and nearly faint twice (oops). Sofia’s mints saved me, but even so towards the end I had to sit down because otherwise I would’ve fainted and stolen the show right when the Bolivian Red Cross President was speaking! Not good. Next time, someone else can have the glory of standing up front, thank you very much! Still, once I got to the saltenas and coke waiting for us outside, I felt a lot better - y nadie me quita lo bailado! Hehe.

From left to right and back to front: Andres, Mauri, me, Adri , Luly, Sofia; Ale, Rosario, Edson, Alvarito, Adriana (a.k.a Mondi)


Today (September 7th) I barely had time to say hello to everyone when I arrived at the Red Cross before I was caught in an adrenaline whirlwind and whisked off in my snazzy red Red Cross k-way to perform a simulation for live TV on the avenida Busch! The scenario was one of an accident where Erika (a Red Cross volunteer who was chosen as the victim/patient) was hit by a minibus and left unconscious on the side of the street, bleeding and with a possible spinal column lesion. The team of attending volunteers included Alejandro, Paola, Marti, Sofia, Chicho and Edson. I was in charge of checking for the extensive examination from head to feet after Sofia secured the head to avoid movement and further damage to the spine and after Alejandro checked for hemorrages (spot me on the picture on the left... hint: I am wearing my hot black and pink pumas). Can you say adrenaline rush? Hehe. Everyone else followed us on foot to watch, creating quite a herd of bystanders! The TV station only gave us 2min in the end, but it was quite fun and overall we did quite well! Reassuring, considering we’re supposed to be prepared for such situations…

Andrew’s Birthday

Andrew's birthday was celebrated in style on the big day, Tuesday 5th of September - a bunch of us went to Boomerang for dinner, it was delicious. Had some champagne to properly toast to the occasion, scrumptuous food, and a verrry tastey maracuya cheesecake from Alexander's Coffee Shop... Attendees included Alice and Andrew (duh), Pepe, Carolina, Kate, Eduardo, Claudia, and yours truly (re-duh). Of course, the actual celebration of Andrew's 25th was that Alice whisked him off to Chile for three days of skiing as a surprise! They posted some photos on their blog, if you're curious on how that turned out.

That's him on the left, about to blow out the candles on his maracuya cheesecake and make a wish...

And that's Alice on the right, wincing as she makes a surhuman effort to pop open the Champagne...

Dad’s 60th Birthday

September 4th 2006, my dad turned 60, the big six-oh! There was a weekend of celebrating organized by my brother and a few friends, which culminated in a proper Birthday luncheon on Monday. I was there in spirit… HAPPY 60TH DAD!!! And raincheck on a belated proper celebration with me, muahaha...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Visit to the "Asilo Dulce Hogar"

Most Sundays volunteers from the Youth unit of the Red Cross La Paz spend time either with special kids at the "Eric Boulter" foundation or with the residents of the old persons' home "Dulce Hogar". On August 27th I went with them to the "Dulce Hogar" where we chatted with residents, played Yenga (and lost 9 of 10 games to Don Toni), competed to see who could put a puzzle together faster, and went out into the garden to get some sun. In the photo, from left to right and back to front, we have: Adolfo (nurse at the home, also a Red Cross volunteer), Doc, Alice, Doña Betsy, me, La Muñeca, Victor, Abner, Mariana, Risselli, Isabel and Pepe.

Abner, Alice and I playing Yenga with Don Toni - he might look sweet and harmless but he beat us 9 of 10 games! Technically that doesn't make him NOT sweet and harmless, but anyways. You get my point...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jumping Clinic with Patrick Defrasme

During a week, from August 21st to 26th, I was up every morning at 6.30am and on my horse by 7am for a jumping clinic with Frenchman Patrick Defrasme. He's apparently quite well known on an international level, not so much for his work with riders, but for his work training trainers! Exceptionally, because of his history with my coach Cedric (think he trained him? would make sense...), he accepted to come to Bolivia for a jumping clinic at Los Sargentos. It was a lot of fun, especially because I got the unedited untranslated original comments - he spoke French and my coach then translated for everyone... Don't have any photos to share, but thanks to this clinic I did come out in the newspaper! The last night of the clinic one of the riders had a big dinner at his place in honour of Patrick and his wife Dominique, and as it was a jetset crowd, social photographers were there and a pic of me with a Belgian exchange student got picked for publishing, weeeeeeeeee! One step closer to being famous, hehe.


Sunday 13th of August, Pepe, Alice, Andrew and I went to the stadium to see a soccer game where the two La Paz teams were facing each other… It was The Strongest vs. Bolivar, and although Bolivar won, in this particular case Strongest deserved to win because they played much better and weren’t half the drama queens Bolivar were! Tsk tsk tsk. We were in the Stronger section of the stadium, which means Andrew – who is a Bolivarista – was a little out of place… and even though I still hadn’t chosen my team (the Swiss in me prevails! Haha), today I was an Estrongista. It was a lot of fun to watch, I miss soccer!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Derby @ Colegio Militar & Las Colinas

The Sunday after my return from Reyes, having ridden a grand total of twice in nearly two months, I participated in the Derby at the Military School. It was a bit of a dare, and right before it was my turn to give the 20 jump course my best shot, my coach said, “You know, I am quite impressed. I don’t think I know anyone else who would participate in a Derby like this without having trained in over a month…” It was tempting to freak and bail out, but then again not really. I think my legs died about halfway through the course, which explains the refusal on number 13 (of some 20 jumps)! Bolero and I took it easy for a week after that, the both of us being a bit sore after our run, but overall it was great to be back in the saddle.

Two weeks later there was a competition at Las Colinas - nothing special to report but check out these pics of Bolero and I! Weeeeeeeeee!