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Monday, March 20, 2006

It's my cumpleaños and I'll llorar if I want to ...

Even though I have finals in less than two days' time I find I have to post up a few words about my birthday last Friday, the 17th March. The evening before we had organised to go out with my group to say goodbye to Andreas and I as we are leaving the illustrious section B (one of the two international sections at school) to transfer to ... da da daaaaaa ... section C. Doesn't sound like too much of a change until you realise that half the classes in section C will take place in Spanish. And given that my Spanish barely extends beyond "tengo hambre señor" this will surely pose some learning problems. Ah well - "in for a penny in for a pound" as they say (actually noone say this any more except back in Salopia but then I'm a lad from the Shire at heart). Watch this space for developments - we start next week - yikes !
Anyway the evening passed very well and at Midnight I turned 23 years old (ok 29) with Thanos singing something along the lines of happy birthday in my ear in Greek. It was then on to the Bar Of the Week at Elephant in Sarría. Here Huy was also celebrating his birthday - also the 17th of March - happy birthday Huy ! I think this bar will be a great place in the summer with open air dancing and a fancy line in interior decorations. Some pictures below.
Then on my birthday itself I had organised to go out with my flatmates to a restaurant close to our house for a quiet meal - nothing too extravagent as the weekend had to be spent studying for the exams. 9 o'clock rolled around and before we left for the restaurant Cristina suggested we go for a quick beer while the others got ready. "Ok" said I and we headed off down the street. We stopped at a small bar that I've never actually been in before and I was quite surprised to see four girls from school in there - strange as none of them lived around the area. Cristina and I left and she seemed just as perplexed as I was that they should be in that bar at that time. Anyway we went for a beer and Cristina had to go back to the flat to get some medicine before going to the resaurant. In through the front door we go and - lo and behold - SURPRISE !!! About 40 people from school were waiting in the front room of my flat !!! Including those sneaky minxes from the bar !!! And Cristina didn't even need any medicine !!! It had all been an elaborate ruse !!! Ok enough exclamation marks - it was a great party and thankyou to everyone who came and especially to those who organised the whole thing - it really was a splendid birthday surprise. Wonderful.

A sign I saw in Gracia which hada propellorhead hat on the sign. I don't know what the shop sells but hell I'll buy it anyway !!!

Leaving dinner with my group - as you can see Andreas and I are sad to be leaving - Tom�s and Sergio are also plainly devastated ...

Liiiindy !!!!!

These two are at school every morning at seven to shout at each other - here you see the real love is shining through ... aaaahh

Love this picture - Benjamin my hero Frenchy housemates demonstrates to the Brazilians how to do a proper moonwalk - ow !

Later that night at the Bar Of the Week Huy demonstrates that he's the real reason Robain is so "frenetic" every Friday at school ...

Ryan "Doctor Evil" Kern and I at my surprise party - it's the only picture I have !

Sunday, March 12, 2006

It´s that David Bailey time again ...

As I haven´t written for so long I though it was time to stick a few photos up. Also as sooooo much happened over the month of February (cripes it's a long time since I wrote) I shall summarize all in bullet points :
  • Ski weekend - headed to the mountains with 200 other IESE students. Skied a bit I think - can't really remember.
  • Studied in the week.
  • Weekend after went up to exactly the same place with Cristina and David as Cristina's folks have a place there. Very relaxing weekend and got a lot of study done.
  • Week - studied a lot.
  • Attended a "do" called the MultiCultural Fair organised by IESE. Was one of the funniest parties I have ever been to. Basically every country had to Represent and have a stand in a place downtown; the idea being that every country showcase its wares and food. Obviously this turned into a showcase of each country's booze and within twenty minutes I had tried the finest liquor the world has to offer. Oh and a lot of curry at the Indian stand (I actually have to apologise to the Indians for planting a small Union Jack in one of their curries - not my finest hour!).
  • Two days after this my friend Kresse came over from London to speak at the Doing Good and Doing Well conference. This is a yearly conference organised at IESE where people come to speak about social/environmental issues and how business can be involved in changing things for the better. Something like that anyway. Kresse went down a storm talking about her social entrepreneurial activities ... and then we went out on the town with the Mexicans ... no pictures from this either I'm afraid !!!
  • The day after I took a little break back in London - photo below. Turned up at Wix's Lane, plonked myself down on the couch and set the world to rights with Sebbo and Bjorny - (Chrissy Wissy was back wum in Shroppers) - I was also considering jet-setting out to the Alps this weekend as there is a rather splendid crowd of chaps and chapesses out in Bourg St. Maurice at the moment but finally my finances/workload prevented me from going ... (... oh get over yourself Franno)
  • Bond party Friday night - see pictures below
  • Saturday studied then went out to the Carpe Diem Lounge Club (swanky nightclub) where I decidedly brought down the tone of the place by giving the girls "airplanes" (see the movie Gross Point Blank for details).
  • Today got up, went to school, studied accounting, went to Kitty's Bar to watch England play the worst rugby I've ever seen, came back here, quick siesta and Bob's yer Uncle (& Fanny's yer Aunt) !!!

Kike breaking the cider at a recent dinner - the cider from Asturias needs to be poured from quite high to add the fizz before drinking

A funny sweet wrapper that David found on the street

Jan Erik Sundt enjoying a beer before setting off on a ski trip

Marc and I decide to try on a few hats on the ski trip - wheeey punters !!!

Thanos at the Multi Culti fair - he's Greek. After I took this photo he insisted that I try his grandfather's moonshine that he'd brought along. I don't remember the three days following ...

Studying accounting with Eduardo and Sergio

Last Friday's Bond party - I went with Ryan my arch nemesis heheh - before the party we sat and watched the Austin Powers movie whilst drinking copious amounts of Cava ... most photos from this night are not for public consumption !!!

Iv�n trying out my Austin disguise flanked by Brenda and Abelardo

Lena also tries out the disguise in the Universal club

Sebbo !!! A recent flight back to London was a welcome break from Barca. It's great to see that nothing changes.

Juan Revuelta. He go crazy for shoooes maaan ...

At secondary school we had a Lego Club (those from home will know what I mean). I now find myself at Business School and what do I find ... ?

Cristina (in the middle) dancing Sevillanas at the Multi Culti fair

My yearbook picture !!! This is section B in glory. Just quickly from left to right and front to back we have ... Srini, Tiffany, Yours Truly, Rom�n, Greg, Komal, Junko, Ali, Ceylan, David, Gustavo, Alexandre, Till, Blaithin, Aalok, Ana, Edoardo, Eduardo, Salvatore, Federico, Lindy, Kathy, Claudia, Cary, Abelardo, Jorge, Alexis, Raymundo, Kapil, Taka, Julian, Dom, Gary, Juan, Alexia, Joan, Fabrice ok I'm bored now ...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

News from the front

So trimester midterms have been and passed since I last wrote and now have the results. At least most people do - I have not actually opened mine yet. I feel it is better to savour the possibility that I actually might have done well than to know for sure that I've done dismally; it seems to put me in good (albeit slightly unreal) spirits.
As the midterms ended, so two more subjects were started - Capital Markets and "Markets & Managers". I currently sit on the back row with three others (Blaithin (Eire), Kyle (Canada) and Miguel (Spain)) and each "M & M" class hilariously starts with a ditribution of chocolatey treats of the same name (only the yellow ones with peanuts however as Miguel doesn't like the brown ones).
I noticed a strange phenomena that has been growing in class however - the human body as a musical instrument. I first became aware of it when I recieved quizzical looks from the row in front - it seems that I have been unconciously "beat-boxing" (I believe that's what they call it these days) as I try to think about anything but the Cost Accounting class in front of me. I then became aware the other day of a strange tapping coming from the other side of the room and looked over to see Gregory van Hoof (a Belgian) merrily tapping away on his desk to the strange rhythms in his head, head lolling as he imagined drumming in front of a crowd of thousands ... until he was jabbed in the ribs by Cary Spisak (US). My hope is that the musical trend continues and that soon we soon have a complete human orchestra. I want to be the tuba - parp parp !
I am starting to worry too about one of our new professors. I thought on the first day of class that, although he claimed he was Spanish, there was a certain ... I don't know ... Transylvanian tinge to this guy's accent. On the second class he claimed "I a-driiink a-sooo mach cappuchiiiino that I a-neeeverrr a-sleeeep at a-niiiight ..." and then the third class was a case about the supply and demand of a potential market in human kidneys. No joke. The firm proof however came yesterday when he turned into a bat and tried to fly out of a window that turned out to be closed - bonk !
One final note (as I have to go to a field trip to the Danone factory in half an hour - I love being back at scool sometimes!) about the "MBA Olympics". This is an event held in Paris where the top 3 business schools in Europe (yes we are one of those despite apparently vampiric professors) get together in Paris for a mini Olympics. It is a matter of great pride and IESE has won the last three years in a row. My hopes are not high for this year however because, as I was speaking to the Indians about our cricket training (or lack of) and found out that the LBS team has been practising seriously at Lords for the past few months, I looked over their shoulder to see a frisbee being thrown around the lawn by the Ultimate Frisbee team. They didn't catch it once and one guy almost fell in the turtle pond. We'll have to see ...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more ...

Yes it's that time again ... trimester midterms oh yeah !

In just three days time I will be plunged again into the depths of midterm exams. Except that this time around one of the three midterms is actually a final exam as the course is only a half-credit and so finishes this week. As a result of the looming challenge I have been living pretty much constantly with earphones plugged in and head buried in book and/or laptop (if that's possible), and so have not much to report from ever-sunny Barcelona. Oh yes - my flatmate David bought a moto today. The fact that when I found out I was more excited that I have been in weeks probably reveals a lot about life here at IESE. In fact I have half a mind to go and take a picture of it to post here I'm so fed up with studying - could do with the break ...

[10 mins lapse ...]

Ok couldn't find it but I can report that the night air here in Barca is positively balmy this evening !

Looking to the coming weekend I have the IESE ski trip to look forward to. This will basically involve 200 students descending on a small town in Andorra, doubling its permanent population for the weekend and leaving it utterly ravaged by the time we leave. That's my plan anyway - I've done it before and I'm sure the others won't take much convincing ... !

On a final note, a very happy birthday to my mother who turned [censored] years old today - feliz cumpleanos mother dear !!!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Bareback Mountain

I have just come back from seeing a great film at a cinema we recently discovered 10 minutes walk away from our flat. The film was called Brokeback Mountain and had received a hearty endorsement from my ol' mucker Benny Blanco in London. Heath Ledger (aka Scott from Home & Away) and Jake Gyllenhaal (of Donnie Darko fame) headline in what is a very well acted and extremely moving story - however ! One word of advice - don't watch the trailer ! It basically tells you the whole story ! I don't know who's in charge of making movie trailers these days but they should really learn to confine themselves to providing teasers rather than an entire synopsis of the film.

Ok - rant over. If you really don't want to know anything about the film, don't read on. Not really much of a spoiler but didn't want to be hypocritical ...

Basically the film is a story about two cowboys who grow rather - erm - fond of each other on a long summer tending sheep in the mountains of Wyoming. Although they carry on their separate lives after they come down from the mountain they continue their "fishing trips" up into the mountains together from time to time.

As we walked home from the cinema Alex joked that he wanted to join the fishing club at school. I felt at pains to point out to him that I was, in fact, the joint president of the fly-fishing club along with it's only other member, Jan Erik from Norway ! I think we'd better get some new members in before people see the film and start getting the wrong idea !

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Not just us ...

I took a little bit of stick over the Christmas break from a few people who had read my blog and come to the conclusion (as a result of various Party Pictures I had posted) that the life of a IESE MBA student is one long string of fancy-free-fiestas, all jape and frivolity. Well I can tell you it certainly is not.

And even if it was then at least it's not just us ! Back at the start of last term a Portuguese chap called Nico left us to go to INSEAD on the Singapore campus and has just started the course this January. I recieved an email entitled "Happy Chinese New Year" with some photos attached. I expected to see images of Nico praying before a 12ft effigy of the Buddha, josticks a-blazin' etc. But no ...

New Year - Singapore Style

... as you can see - these are new MBA students. Give them 4 months of financial accounting and they'll be the ones be staying in on a Saturday night looking like this :

Saturday Night - Barcelona Style

Sad - isn't it ?

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Just a quick post to tell you a little story about today's class - we have a thing called a COW (Comment Of the Week) where the silliest comment made by a student in class is awarded with a fluffy cow at the end of the week. I have a friend over here who we will call "Swiss Tony" as he comes from Switzerland ("oooorghh ... Schavitzerlanda" for those in London - imagine the following in "that" accent ...). We had a case in Human Resources Management about a hotel in California that was trying to resolve problems with their personal valets (a part-time quasi-butler, aka "PV" for short). Now Swiss Tony, along with many others from his region of the world, have problems pronouncing "V"s, preferring instead to pronounce "W"s. Imagine the hilarity then, when asked whether the personal valets were good for the guests, Swiss Tony replies "yes of course - the guests would love to have fun with our peewees" !!!

Incredible ... in-credible !

Had to be there maybe ... ?