Friday, December 18, 2009

Waiting to exhale

So that's it another year over... ...for Vaughan programs that is.
I first met Carmen (the P.D.) 3 years ago this very week, when I did the program as an Anglo (I was 'THE MAGICIAN' on that program) and Greg was the MC. So it has been a while since we did a Xmas program together; now of course I'm the MC with some 70 odd programs under my belt. It was a fantastic program and great sharing the Xmas period with you once again.

I was surprised to see such a large group as typically this time of year tends to be smaller groups, but we had 18 Spaniards and 19 Anglos.
The tapas not great again competing with football, poor tapas and 5 missing Anglos at tapas.

Sadly as I think I have mentioned this before, pickpocketing is on the increase and 2 participants had the pockets picked when they arrived in Madrid.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't fall victim to this.
The latest con seems to be: someone approaches you from the front, tugs on the bottom of your trousers as if adjusting them, when you lean over to look down at what they are doing their friend dips into your pocket!!!
Keep your eyes open - do NOT leave bags out of sight/reach (or even strapped to your back) - move your wallets out of your back pockets.

The hotel in Gredos has had some improvements made; which was good to see.
The major one being that the hotels logo/name was redesigned. Previously on the windows and doors of the hotel was the companies name IZAN, which was ok, but from inside of the hotel looking out it read NAZI which was not so good. Someone has had the intelligence to now call it IZANHOTELES with their logo built in and its simply read from inside looking out, much better.
We now have some nice LG Flatscreen TVs in all the rooms - which Carmen noticed actually picks up Vaughan Radio!!!
Now if they could just improve the WIFI signal and maybe put in a communal computer; hint hint ;)

It threatened to snow all week, but it didn't fortunately. I did see on the TV however that Salamanca was covered in snow this week.
On Wednesday I awoke to a path covered in black ice - of course not noticing it - I fell, not once but twice then struggling to stand up, I jumped for my life to the grass (ok, slight exaggeration, but only slight). My wrist took the brunt of the fall; which really hurt.
Sadly I was not alone, several of the participants also fell.
As typical the path was only salted after the accidents; really people, proactive is the way!

The entertainment was enjoyable and quite a few of the returning vets got involved with some nice additions to the program. About half the group we had this week were repeat Anglos, as we had so many vets it also meant a lot of changes to scripts and ideas and games.

The meeting room was out of action for most of the week due to being filled with the old TVs and later it was just too cold. We finally managed to use it on Thursday (just in time for the party).
For a novelty I decided that we would have a secret Santa (invisible friend in Spain).
The catch was you couldn't spend any money, so creativity was important, and boy did they rise to the challenge; very impressive folks!

The party was strange, kind of a slow starter, then almost everyone disappeared for about 30 mins, then as usual when I was just about to call it an early night everyone shown up?!
The hotel would be wise to use the upstairs room as a mini bar, easier for them and participants and they would make more money. We had Mulled wine instead of Sangria; more festive.

Tough week for me as I have several issues to resolve privately and I need to know where I'm heading next year, but also this is the anniversary of my brothers passing (anniversary is so not the right word), so that was heavy in my heart.

Still no official news on the venue or dates for next year!?

The photos (and there are many!) can be accessed below
Vaughan Town - Gredos - Program 196

The last thing I want to say is Merry Christmas or Feliz Navidad to you all ;)


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