Category Archives: Business

Salsa, the Show and Spain

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There are certain things that you have to do when in Spain, for example, eat tapas, watch a Spanish movie and try a Spanish dance.

Earlier this week, we ticked off ‘Spanish dance’ with a taste of salsa – the dance, not the condiment.  (This blog is a bit of a shout out to Miss Becca Reid – the salsa lady herself! 🙂 )

After weeks of saying we’d go, Emma, Rebekah and I made our way to a bar in Estepona, Mambo, popular for its frequent Latin nights.  Arriving at the English interpretation of 8pm, we were sat in the bar waiting for the teacher to arrive.  When Spanish 8pm (8.15) came, Franklin – the teacher arrived and eventually we became a Salsa class with one other girl and two Spanish men.

The warm up was a bit of merengue (pronc. meh-ren-gay and not to be confused with ‘meringue’), a quite simple warm up that saw us stepping, walking and moving our hips to the Spanish version of Gyptian’s ‘Hold You’.  (I tried to find this version to post here but it turns out there are MANY Spanish versions!)  We then went on to the main event learning our basic steps of Cuban Salsa.  Successfully achieving these steps, I felt a great sense of achievement… until I started getting them confused with the other steps we were then taught.

What I couldn’t get my head around was the ‘Dile que no’ (otherwise known as the ‘cross body’ and translated as the “Tell him no” – which I should have been good at given how men are in the south of Spain).  So, I left it to the man to lead me (otherwise known as ‘let the man move me around him’).  I finally did understand the Dile que no luckily, but my basic steps remain a little rusty.

Spanish bluntness meant that we were told exactly how much practice we needed before we left!  However, it was a good bit of fun, definitely brilliant exercise and amazing to be able to understand the teacher speaking in Spanish.  Excellent!

Another big event this week was the ‘Over 50s Show’ – I have been organising our stall for the company over the last couple of months.  An event led by an Irish magazine, it brings together a range of companies from Spain and the UK to come to the Costa del Sol to advertise their businesses to people over 50.

We tried to have "a bit of fun" by taking people's photos and putting them in front of an iconic Andalucian background. This is me in Sotogrande - we tried to encourage fun ones too but they didn't really kick off.

Our stall was opposite a bowling green team.  I think it’s fair to say that you’ve spent enough time at the Over 50s show when you begin to understand the game of bowls.  I did enjoy the food though – it’s quite the rarity to get your hands on some ‘hog roast, apple sauce and stuffing’ in Spain – trust me!

And finally I think a quick note about the weather is worth a mention.  We enjoyed a standard Costa del Sol winter weekend with a toasty 22 degrees.  Lovely (and yet I’m still excited to come home for Christmas)!

That’s all, folks 🙂

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Weekend in Malaga

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A weekend trip to Malaga was an awesome experience of Spanish culture.  Emma and I went for business (a client’s anniversary party) but also had the chance to explore one of the best cities in Andalucia.  It was such a good weekend – it’s definitely blog-worthy!  So here are some of the highlights:

Tapas

When it comes to Spanish food, tapas are the best way to go about it.  Tapas are little portions of Spanish delicacies – lots of seafood, chorizo and ‘other things’.  My favourite was gambas pil pil – prawns in chilli and garlic.  With the spicy and with garlic kick, it was the closest thing to Mum’s cooking in two months, yum!  The ‘other things’ included rabbit and (I quote) “two little birds”, which didn’t sound all that appetising to me and I couldn’t bring myself to try.  Especially with the pigeons flying around (a reminder of England when I usually see seagulls all day) and little birds (oh god, now I really wouldn’t be able to eat it!)

Some advice: tapas places usually have people sitting around large barrels and these barrels are the standard decor – but don’t always go to the big places.  The small places down a little side street have the most rica food

Museums

Malaga is now promoting itself as ‘the city of museums’.  As we walked around the cobbled streets of Malaga we did see that there were museums and other places rich in culture in every corner as we got lost in the city!  We first ventured into the Carmen Thyssen Museum.  Opened recently it holds a large collection of paintings from different periods and of different themes.  The best thing about the collection was the images of traditional life in Andalucia.  There were lots of paintings of women dancing flamenco, people wandering around in the narrow streets of the now ‘old towns’ and a general enjoyment of life.  Though seeing the painting of Estepona ‘back in the day’, there didn’t seem to be much going on here, which didn’t surprise us!

The Beach at Estepona with a View of the Rock of Gibraltar (1855)

As part of the business part of the trip, we also visited the Felix Revello del Toro museum.  Revello del Toro is a Malaga-born painter who has a talent and appreciation for portraits and the female figure.  The museum and the paintings were amazing, and it was brilliant to see the work of someone who can capture the essence of a person in a painting when the height of my artistic ability is drawing a stick man!

Sumida en el Sueno (1989)

Mojito

The 40th anniversary of a language school was the event that we attended for work, and they know how to celebrate in Spain.  With another open bar, delicious canapés and all set in a pretty good-looking language school – it was a great celebration.  And brilliant that I finally got to try a good mojito!  Other than waiting in the queue for a good 30-45 minutes, there was just the right amount of crushed ice and sugar to make a perfect Mojito.  If only I can pronounce it the proper Spanish way now!

Night life

Malaga not only is a city, but a university city!  And with lots of young people come lots of bars.  Since the Spanish night out doesn’t start until a ridiculous 3am, when we arrived in Malaga city centre, there were people milling around trying to attract us into the very empty bars.  And the ‘attraction’ came in the form of a free drink per bar.  Lovely!  Unfortunately, I can’t add so many positive comments about the Spanish music.  I find this quite odd because I’ve heard some good Spanish music, which seems to disappear in bars etc. and is instead replaced with a) not-so-great Spanish music b) retro 80s pop and rock or c) mainstream English/American music.  However, an advantage of this was discovering that the Spanish do pronounce ‘Lady Gaga’ in the best way!

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The night we pretended to be rich and famous.

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G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S (thanks to Fergie, BEP – I find spelling that word much easier now.)

On Friday night, Emma and I had the opportunity of attending The Global Party where we were representing the company as press.  The Global Party was held in over 80 venues all over world on Thursday and Friday night to raise money for charity.  There were some big names over the different venues including Elton John, Liz Hurley and Simon Cowell.  Unfortunately, we had no such luck at our venue; however it was still an event full of the elite with tickets priced at 3000 euros!  Luckily, as press, we received invitations!

Impressive!

We went to the Suite del Mar which is part of Hotel Puente Romano in Marbella.  There was a marquee on the beach and a ‘winter lounge’ which was indoors.  The view was beautiful as we could see the sea and the coast, and we spent a good 10 minutes deciding whether the really low, really big and really yellowy-red thing was the moon – strangely enough, it was.

When we arrived, after a little mishap of coming in through the back entrance, we found the proper entrance where we stood on the red carpet and had our photo taken.  I suddenly felt very important/glamorous!

As we walked around, waiters offered us a glass of wine.  Obviously, the open bar was awesome because it was open, but also the range of drinks was brilliant – champagne, wine, mojitos, cocktails – and a whole gin bar, if only I liked gin!

Anyone that knows me well knows that I LOVE food.  I don’t usually frequent events where canapés are served, but I was more than happy to make the most of it!  Everything I tried looked a little funky but was delicious.  There were a lot of things with prawns in, which were tasty.  A bit of Spanish tortilla – delicious!  And my big moment… I tried sushi for the first time despite being convinced I would hate it!  However, I couldn’t go straight for the raw fish and chose the vegetable sushi instead after some pressure from the waiter.  It was all good food though…yum!

The entertainment for the evening was… different.  There were some oddly dressed men that danced a lot, walked around

The man post-dancing posing with the ice sculpture. Standard.

and posed with people and the ice sculpture.  A couple of slightly clothed women that danced around, some ‘gymnastics’ in a hoop and a singer also featured during the night. My favourite was a Cee Lo Green lookalike who was an awesome violinist, with his light up violin!

As expected, the open bar worked its magic and people started dancing.  I have never been happier to hear some English tunes.  It is very true that the Spanish enjoy a LOT of Pitbull so it was brilliant to hear some Usher, Black Eyed Peas and UK dance music too.  Lovely!

The open bar eventually closed and we were reminded that we were at a quite expensive event when Emma had to pay 13 euros for a vodka and coke!

After 5 hours of chat, laughter and drinks, our night of glamour mixing with the rich and famous had to come to an end.  It was quite a trek from the hotel to the taxi stand, I’m sure they wouldn’t have made anyone truly famous walk that much!

But for now, back to reality!

The awesome violinist with a light up violin, the band and a glimpse of the dancer ready to take the stage.

 

Tweetup?

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Tweeting bird, derived from the initial 't' of...

Image via Wikipedia

Networking – I can’t remember a time without it!  Well, without a social network that is — My life has had that blue and white mark of Facebook all over it for the last… 4 years (although it does seem like forever!)

Networking, in the professional sense, has become an important concept in life and business.  You can’t go a week in uni without hearing about some sort of career networking event.  And everyone knows the importance of contacts!  So much so that you find you have a Facebook account, Twitter account and Linked In account – at the very least.

On Wednesday, I attended my first networking event in Marbella, Spain, and not as a student, but representing the company I’m working for.

This particular event was a Tweetup, which is basically a group of Twitter users meeting up.  This was quite a small one in comparison to some events that are so big that they have screens up so everyone can see the live Twitter feeds!

Marbella is really nice so being able to spend a Wednesday night in the outdoor bar of this classy bar/restaurant with some REALLY successful people added a welcome touch of glamour to my week!

This event was slightly more informal than other networking events but it was still a great opportunity to chat with different people, exchange a few business cards and receive some wise advice from those with much more experience.

It was also a brilliant opportunity to meet some great characters – a woman who had worked in some of the best cities all over the world, a blogger who attended so many of these events and a social media and sales guru etc.

It was a really good event and with some really cool people.  I would love to go again!

Representing at Tweetup Marbella

Oh, and our photo is going to be in a Marbella magazine… nice!  Standard night in Marbella.

That’s all for this week – fingers crossed I’ll be reporting back many more events! 🙂