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La Scala comes to Accra

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

What does Accra have in common with Milan, Italy? They are both places where the world-famous Teatro alla Scala Orchestra and Chorus performs. La Scala, led by distinguished conductor Daniel Barenboim, performed Beethoven’s 9th symphony at the National Theatre in Accra. We sat in the 6th row, which was pretty great.

Ghana’s president, members of parliament, and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan were there, too. The performance was wonderful, if somewhat surreal. We haven’t seen a whole lot of stringed instruments or musicians playing in unison lately.
Apparently Barenboim and Annan are friends and arranged for la Scala to come here to help celebrate Ghana’s 50th anniversary of independence. Thanks, guys.  It was fantastic.

San Carlos de Bariloche (reasons to hate Argentina, and another one bites the dust)

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

Just a note- In case you can’t tell, this is a love letter to Argentina.  Sorry it may not translate well, but that is our intention.  Please see our responses to comments at the end.

More stunning beauty. Big lake, big mountains.

So, I finally found something not to like about Argentina. First, the people here have a very sketchy idea of the connection between tobacco products and cells growing out of control in their lungs and other useful body parts. So, they smoke like crazy. It is like the U.S. used to be before, before, I don´t know what was the tipping point causing smokers to become pariahs, but not being one myself- I am all for it. Apologies to my smoking friends, but there are not a lot checkmarks to place in the positive column for smoking. I will try to think of something.

The second unpleasant aspect of Argentina has to be the music on the radio. In general, it is quite unlistenable, or at least I am not going to go out and buy the cd. I won´t even steal the cd off the internet- not that I would do that for something I like. I am excluding tango music, Piazzola, Manuel De Falla, and probably a few other good listens. No, I am talking about the Argentine version of el rock y roll. In general, it is warmed over Eye of the Tiger (think Rocky 2, or 3, or whatever). There you have it; things not to like about Argentina. Everything else is fab. The only downside is that it is more of a vacation than an adventure, but considering the lockdown my vacation life is facing pending new responsibilities with the Uncle, it is probably a great thing to relax now.

By the way, camera memory card number 2! has just bitten the dust so there will be a gap in our photo chronicles. We just lost about 300 photos. That means there was probably one good one in there somewhere.

That was Dan speaking at the start of this post. I (Giselle) have 2 things to add. One, most of the radio selections stink, but I do enjoy the unusually high number of early-80’s new wave songs they play. Last night we heard Thomas Dolby’s She Blinded Me with Science! Two, they put ham in the lasagna. What is up with that? Why ruin a perfectly good lasagna with pig products? But hey, at least there are other things on the menu that we can eat and that taste good. And the ice cream here rocks.