Back in Spain

Trip Start Sep 07, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Instead of carrying on with my plans to visit Krakow, Amsterdam and Paris, I decided instead to come back to Spain! I arrived in Madrid Wednesday night, after a long day flying from Split to London where mom and I parted. She carried on back to Vancouver, and I flew to Madrid. Thursday I spent doing some errands, then a meeting at Pueblo Ingles, and after I met up with David, one of the Spanish guys from my last program. We went for a drink, then dinner, and after he drove me around Madrid showing me some of the sights! A fabulous personal tour guide :)

And now, I am at La Alberca doing a second program for Pueblo Ingles. It's a different facility than Valdalavilla, much newer, with only 2 people sharing a villa, a huge swimming pool, and a 20 min walk in to town! Also, there is cell phone reception here, so at the end of each O2O (one-to-one) the Spaniards are all on their phones calling home and work. I guess it can be excused though since they are all doctors :)

That's another thing that is different, instead of having people from all different companies and jobs, this program is being paid for by Bristol Meyers, a pharmaceutical company promoting a new drug. So the Spanish participants are all HIV doctors who have been invited by BM. Very interesting. In the individual presentations I am learning a lot about the current issues and treatment of HIV. Although some of the terminology does go over my head, I think I am one of about 4 or 5 people out of 40 who is not from a medical background!

We have an uneven number of people too, 16 Spanish to 24 Anglos. Which is great for the Anglos, as it means we have more free time (often spent in the pool of course). The first group improvisation night was done by Eugenia, Carmen, Mark and I, and resulted in Mark being labeled "a very sexy man" for the rest of the week! For those that were on the first program, it was the same pickpocket sketch. Very funny.

Today was Corpus Christi, so we all walked in to the village to watch the procession. It was so beautiful, the town centre is quite small, very old with cobbled roads and beautiful old buildings. The residents had hung hand embroidered tapestries on all the balconies, and there were flower petals scattered all over. For the procession and offering, people were dressed in elaborate traditional costumes, there were little girls in gorgeous white dresses for their first communion throwing flower petals, and drummers playing as everyone progressed through the streets. It was very intimate and moving, and nobody was even phased when it started to rain. A day I won't forget any time soon!
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