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Journey of a Fan August 30, 2006

Posted by dtenjo in pop culture, Shakira.
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So I finally got to see Shakira in Toronto, it was all good times, the trip was excellent, and I was glad I was having the opportunity to go see her show live, even though it was several miles away from where I live. As I was going there I could not stop thinking about what as a fan I was doing to go see my “idol”; like flying for such a long distance just to see her. I do respect Shakira lots, and I admire her. So much that I traveled 1386.9005 miles (according to Google maps) by myself over a weekend.

The trip started great. On the airplane I was reading on the airline magazine an article about how Bogotá is booming, how much the city has improved, and how great it is as a tourist destination – The article went to say that the biggest danger you will face in Bogotá is the risk of being forced to dance salsa in front of a group of strangers…. I was happy to read that. As I arrived in Toronto, at a great youth hostel, I started walking around the city realizing how good a city it is. When I had been there before, I hadn’t really had the time to enjoy the city, but this time I really liked it. On the day of the concert I went around the arena early enough to see what was going on, and I saw the busses that transport Shakira and her band!!! The only person I saw walking outside of the bus like any other citizen was Albert Menendez, the really cool Rasta guy that plays keyboards in the band. That was the first sense of excitement there. I was surprised to read a sign at the Arena door saying essentially that no cameras would be allowed in the Arena for the concert, so I got all worried as I really wanted to take some pictures, and started plotting a plan to sneak the camera in…

So, at 6:30 the door opened, for a concert that was supposed to start at 7:30, and there were a lot of people already lining up at least since 5:30.  Lots of Colombians, Colombian flags, Colombian soccer jerseys… It was like if team Colombia was going to play…I stood in line for like 30 minutes, and got in hiding my camera. It all went well, and I got in with no problems with my camera, to only later find out that everybody had cameras and were taking pictures and even video during the concert…. Apparently it wasn’t necessary to hide the camera to bring it into the arena.

So, the concert went well, and I will try to write up a review on it on another post. My seat was at an excellent position where I viewed the whole concert from.  In the end everyone in the crowd seemed to love the concert, and I was really excited that I got to see Shakira so up close to me and that I got to take many pictures of her show. (Too bad a few of them turned out really blurry).

The day after it was time to come back home, with my memories from the show, and wondering if I am a really big looser that makes such a long trip just to go see Shakira. Obviously, after seeing your idol you always want more, but when you think about it, all you can really get is to pay a lot of money for an expensive ticket up close to the stage, and see the artist performing. The trip on the plane back was really good. On the airplane I read the article about Bogotá once more, and when I got back to Winnipeg, I realized this is a city that I find too small and quiet for my taste, after I got to see how good it felt to be in T.O.

So this is the story of my trip to go see Shakira. I don’t think I’ll ever have the opportunity to do anything like this again, so this one will remain in my memory. Hey, maybe my grandkids will laugh at me some day when I tell them the story!!!

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North american Tour Kicked off August 11, 2006

Posted by dtenjo in Latin America, pop culture, Shakira.
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normal_escena.jpg It looks like Shakira started her North American Oral Fixation tour in style. Apparently the El Paso concert was excellent, as expected. The Toronto Concert is still getting closer, and expectation for me keeps growing. I absolutely Can’t wait.

I was reading some Latin American news yesterday and found out that Jerry Rivera, the Puerto Rican Salsa singer from the 90’s actually was complaining about the trumpet arrangement on his “Amores Como el Nuestro” song, because Shakira uses the same arrangement on “Hips don’t Lie”. Truth be told, I think the guy is more envious than anything, as Shakira did everything legally, and got permission to use them, but apparently Rivera wanted her to personally ask him for permission, or something. oh well…. Maybe he just wanted a chance to meet her….

Anyway, Looks like shakira also published the schedule for her Latin American “Fijación Oral” tour…. Apaprently she will be all over the place (Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, of course… etc…) I just haven;t been able to find anywhere the actual dates for her concerts… It would be interesting to know…

Well, Shakira and Wycleaf Jean in Phoenix tonight, should be alright as well…. We’ll see what the media says tomorrow…

The Absurdness of War August 10, 2006

Posted by dtenjo in News and politics, Politics, Society.
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The more I read and look into the current Middle East war, the more I think Israel is not right in what it is doing. I still claim not to know enough about the history of what is going on there, but every time I read something new about the current war, I lean towards the Lebanese side more and more. The reason? Seems to me like Israel is using too much brute force, more than it is necessary. They are killing way more civilians on Lebanese territory than Hezbollah has on Israeli land, and now, the whole thing is starting to look more like an Israeli invasion than anything else. Last I read was that Israeli ground troops are already 30 km inside on Lebanese territory…. If this is not an invasion, then what is it?

A friend of mine pointed this VIDEO out for me, which I find really interesting…

I am not going to say that everything George Galloway claims on this video has to be right, as he seems overly passionate and biased, but maybe there is some truth to what he is saying…

I also heard that Israel might look into the exchange of prisoners to stop the war… The question is: if they end up exchanging prisoners, and stop the current violence, what is going to happen to all the damage done? Who is going to bring back the innocent lives lost? How is Lebanon going to be rebuilt? Is anyone ever going to take responsibility on all that happened in this preposterous war?

Villeneuve out of F1 August 9, 2006

Posted by dtenjo in Formula 1, NASCAR, Sports.
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It wasn’t that surprising. To tell the truth, JV’s days in F1 were coming to an end, and it only happened a few months earlier than expected. Personally I’ve never liked Villeneuve too much as I never really saw him as an F1 winner. Back in 1997, when he was the world champion I didn’t really follow F1. Also, because JV was one of Montoya’s “enemies” in F1, I think I came to dislike the guy. I never enjoyed his racing style, or never saw anything exciting on him from his years in BAR, Renault, or Sauber. Villeneuve’s career has been going downward ever since he left the Williams team, and it was really funny seeing him desperately looking for a race sit in 2004 after he was fired from BAR.

Now they are saying he might go to NASCAR, like JPM did. Honestly I think it would be exciting to see him racing in NASCAR, and see another familiar face racing there. Since I haven’t been following NASCAR too much, I know very few names beyond Jeff Gordon, or Dale Earnhardt Jr.

In any case, Villeneuve in NASCAR would be interesting, but I doubt that he would have any success. I don’t think he has the same natural talent as Montoya does, or at least he’s lost the talent that he proved he had back in the 90’s. Plus, Villeneuve does not have a close relationship with a NASCAR team like Montoya does with Chip Ganassi. Even the North American media does not seem to be as positive on a potential NASCAR drive by Villeneuve, like they were when Montoya announced he would race the series. For some reason, it seems like the atmosphere is not as open for Villeneuve in NASCAR.

So, it seems like Villeneuve is not ready to quit racing just yet, and he is willing to race NASCAR if he has to. It would be interesting to see him racing a stock car, but I don’t think he would make a good race contender.

Why are all those steel bars displayed there? August 8, 2006

Posted by dtenjo in Life in general, Politics, Society.
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9/11 Events: So hard to explain, even harder to understand

speace_tower_chapel.jpgI went to the International Peace garden, at the border between the US and Canada, between the province of Manitoba and the state of North Dakota. It is a natural park that has a big botanical garden “devoted to world peace”. The main attraction in the garden are four 120 foot pillars of solid concrete symbolizing people gathering together from the four corners of the world, which stand right on the line that separates the US and Canada the border.

Another one of the things to see in the garden is the 9/11 memorial, which consists of several steel girders that belonged to the actual twin towers of the World Trade Center. To us, those who lived through that horrific day those fallen pieces of steel and concrete represent too much, and bring back feelings of sadness, rage, perhaps frustration for not being able to understand such events. As I walked through them, I couldn’t help but feel sad, and internalize the importance of such event that shifted the course of human history.

To us, those in this generation who lived through that day, and saw almost instantly on TV the images, it will be looked as an event that stopped a period of relative calm and peace in the world, to start a series of wars that today, 5 years later still are inexplicable, have brought no results, created more questions than answers, and have killed thousands of innocent people.

As I was reflecting on that, something happened that called my attention. A girl who was about 6 years old was standing in front of the girders, and asking her dad “Daddy, what happened there?” Such a simple question, which is so hard to answer. The girl obviously didn’t know what happened on September 11, 2001. She probably hadn’t been born yet. However, the events of that day changed the world that she is to live in. Her dad made an attempt at explaining what had happened by saying “Some planes crashed into two huge buildings, and killed many people“. Nice and simple, and perhaps the best way to explain it to a child who does not understand the meaning of global politics, power, poverty, imperialism, religious ideologies, or terrorism. It was such a simple answer to something that perhaps nobody in the world can explain. This made me wonder how future generations will explain this event, as in reality it really changed the way the world is to develop in the post 9/11 era.

Someday I will have to explain to my children what happened that day. It will be hard to explain all that, mainly as I doubt that I will ever fully understand what the heck happened that day.

I Really Wonder what Chavez’s Intentions are August 1, 2006

Posted by dtenjo in Latin America, News and politics, Politics.
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Of all the news stories that I read every day, there are some of them that really make my blood boil, as there are some things that happen in this world that I just plainly don’t understand. The wars going on in the middle east really catch a lot of my attention, and concern, and I could write blogs on those every day, but I don’t as I’ve posted a couple of articles on that, and I want to maintain a variety of topics in this blog.

The latest story that is making me feel full of concern is Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez’s latest eastern tour, including visits to Russia, Belarus, and Iran. After seeing all the things that this guy does and says, I can only wonder what his real intentions are. I think this guy really has dark intentions for Latin America and the world, in allying with some of the countries that right now are creating fear and instability in the world.

Chavez signed a deal to acquire weapons with Russia, which in itself is fine; every country has their own right to defend themselves. However, the amount of weapons that this guy is getting makes me think that he has obscure plans to attack somebody. I really hope I am wrong, but I don’t see any other objective on him being so keen on getting tremendous amounts of weaponry.

After Russia, Chavez went to visit Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus authoritarian president, “Europe’s last dictator”. Now, it is obvious that both of the “presidents” have a lot in common, and this is no surprise to anyone. The way Chavez has been governing Venezuela has been more dictatorial than anything.

Then, the most recent stop in Chavez’s tour is Iran…. What else can be said? Iran is currently urged by the UN to stop their nuclear weapon development, and are said to be supporters of terrorist groups like Hezbollah. Does Chavez want to get involved in all this? Does he want his own share of nuclear responsibility? Is he looking for more ways to be authoritarian? Is he trying to create fear in the Latin American community just like Iran has done with the whole world? Again, I hope the answers to all those questions are “NO”, however, unfortunately the evidence seems to show the opposite.

If Chavez doesn’t like the United States that is fine, as a matter of fact, most people in the world don’t. However, all of his actions are going too far in showing that he is an anti-democratic leader, that his ways are the ways of fear, that he has bigger plans to expand his influence to other countries. Chavez is just helping to create more instability in the world. A lot of the Venezuelan’s I know say this guy is crazy, and I am starting to believe the same thing. For now I can only hope that his intentions are not as obscure as my pessimistic predictions indicate.