Samstag, 15. Dezember 2012

Thursday - A pretty intensive day

Thursday I was teaching in the morning and afterwards heading directly back to the hotel. I rested a bit and worked then the whole afternoon in the hotel to avoid the greatest heat. Later on I did a walk on the beach, which I'm always enjoying a lot and then went to my favorite café just next to the hotel, which is called La Dulceria. As it turned out later I just had the perfect timing, because they were celebrating the Swedish Santa Lucía (i.e., the longest night of the year) that evening in the café with Saffranbröd and Glögg (the Swedish name for Glühwein) and the owner of La Dulceria invited me to join. It was extremely cool because there was an antropologist there (Ana Luisa Valdés) explaining everything about the origin of this celebration. She is originally from Uruguay, but lived most of her live in Sweden in exile. Among the many things she does, she travels around the whole world to find out about the origins of our food and was explaining lots of very interesting things to us that day. Even though some of the people there were very fluent in english it was a big advantage that my spanish is sufficiently good to understand most of the things. 

After the Santa Lucía celebration I went for a run along Las Ramblas. When I was running the first time more than a week ago, I was telling myself that I want to run all the way from the hotel until kilometer 0 in the Old City of Montevideo. This day was not as hot as the day before and I decided that I want to give it a try. From the hotel to the kilometer 0 its 8,5 kilometers (17 in both direction). Even though I was never running such a distance before (never run more than 1:15 before) I have to say that it was not very difficult or exhausting. I enjoyed the nice temperatures and watched while I was running all the people walking or running along Las Ramblas, sitting there drinking mate or fishing. The closer I came to the Old City the less people where there, but still I felt save running there alone at night. On the way back I felt that my muscles are not really used to run on hard underground and to run such distances, but since I was running at a pulse rate of just a bit above 150 I never got really tired and could even speed up on the last kilometers. After 17 kilometers and 1:45 I reached the starting point and was pretty happy with myself. Before going back to the hotel I did a short walk at the beach and streched my muscles a bit to avoid that I'm completely dead the next day. 
After that experience I really want to run a marathon at some point, but for this I need to train a bit more, because I want to be able to enjoy the run just like I enjoyed this almost half marathon ;-).

Donnerstag, 13. Dezember 2012

Montevideo Week 2

Sunday was a very quiet day where I relaxed in the hotel and prepared my keynote for Tuesday. In the evening Paco, Pardo and I met with Andrea to see some more of the city.

 Prado en el Prado

On monday the BPMuy conference started with a keynote of Paco, a presentation of Andrea and several presentations of different BPM vendors. The afternoon was again very bad weather with heavy rain. Heavy rain in Uruguay is really unpleasant, because you cannot do anything. Its impossible to get a taxi and waiting for a bus is also difficult, because you are completely wet (even if you have an umbrella) after two or three minutes, since the rain is coming horizontal. In the evening we all had dinner together (fortunately Andrea still had the car we rented for the weekend and could pick us up) since both Paco and Prado were leaving for Spain.

On Tuesday I had my keynote in the morning and participated in a roundtable in the afternoon with two representatives from IBM and Oracle (see also my work related website). For me the whole conference was a very interesting experience, because everything except my keynote was in Spanish. Also the roundtable (with exception of my statements) was completely held in Spanish. For me it was cool to see that I could (just after 1,5 years of learning Spanish) pretty well follow everything and could participate well in the roundtable.

Also my Spanish speaking benefited tremendously from this stay. Especially when Prado was around I was "forced" to speak Spanish all the time, since she does not speak any English. I'm really, really happy about the progress I made. For sure I'm still far from being able to express everything I want in the way I want, but its already good enough to have converstations going far beyond small talk and to have discussions with topics of joint interest. In the evening I visited again the Feria and afterwards went for a run at the beach where I could enjoy a beautiful sunset.

On Wednesday my postgraduate course started and I was teaching all morning. In the afternoon I was resting a bit in the hotel and also worked a bit there. It was an extremely hot day, since there was no wind at all, with still 32 degrees at 19:00 (in the shadow). At around 20:00 I met with Andrea at the Feria and we picked up one of her nieces as well as a nephew of her and walked a bit around Park Rodó and visited the other Feria. Again we could enjoy a beautiful sunset. Afterwards we went for dinner together with the kids (2 and 3 years old) and had a really nice time together. For someone from Austria its pretty uncommon that kids are staying up that long---completely different to our customs.

Sonntag, 9. Dezember 2012

Punta del Este and Piriápolis

It's a while since my last post, but since Paco was teaching during the week there was not too much interesting to report.

Thursday was an extremely unpleasant day with very heavy rain. One thing I learned that heavy rain and beginning of the month is a very bad combination in Montevideo, because its extremely difficult to get a taxi. It was already quite difficult to get a taxi on the way to the university, but on the way back afer Paco's presentation it was even worse. After about 50 minutes trying to get a taxi and already being completely wet (despite umbrellas) and half frozen we fortunately found a way to get to our hotel by public transportation.

Friday the weather was already much better and we met with Andrea and two of her colleagues for lunch. In the afternoon Paco was teaching the last part of his course and in the evening we visited the "Feria del Libro" in Parque Rodó. Unlike the name suggests there were not only books, but also lots of beautiful craftwork and I have to say that it was quite successful in terms of aquisitions ;-).

With the weekend also the good weather arrived and we spent a great day visiting different places near Montevideo. We started in the morning driving to Punta del Este which is around 100 kilometers from Montevideo. While in Montevideo the Río de la Plata and the Atlantic Ocean mix, there is pure Atlantic Ocean in Punta del Este. We had a great time at the beach and excellent food in a really nice place nearby.

We also visited Casapueblo which is a hotel located between Punta del Este and Piriápolis. We arrived there just at the perfect time and the light was just great. I could take some spectacular pictures with the light we had. See yourself !

We then moved on to Priápolis where we enjoyed the beach as well as the sunset, which was really beautiful.

The evening together with Andrea's family was the perfect ending of a great day.