Sunday, December 11, 2005

Dance with me – salsa movie

This Hollywood film (1998)by Chayanne ( Puerto Rican pop singer ) and Vanessa Williams is delicious . No violence, drama or tragedy. Something like Saturday night fever.

Pura Salsa… un poco de samba..
Story of love and romance in latino spirit..
lots of spanish conversations...

Chayanne has played well the part as a typical latino.
The puerto rican origin of vanessa has also added flavour.

songs of Thalia, Gloria Estefan, Ruben Blades
“Eres todo en mi”
“Tres deseos”
“Adios Santiago”

The duet of Chayanne and Vanessa Williams is the title song
“You are my home
You are the light in my window
When I could not find my way

All of my life
I have been searching for someone
I have been lonely
Waiting for your arms to hold me”

A cuban “Cohiba”, accompanied me with the movie,which starts in Santiago de Cuba and ends in Las Vegas.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

so much interest in learning spanish...

There are 300 students taking the spanish course in the Centre for Foreign languages, Hyderabad. On the day of issue of application, people queued up from 4 am..
The Inst could not take all applicants, since they dont hv enough professors.
Spanish is the most popular language and in great demand.
It is not just the prospects of career ( of course many of those learning are from IT and other bz )motivating this.
There is an upbeat latino spirit in the whole campus of CIEFL.
Even the waiters in the mess prefer to say " Hola " to greet people.
Credit for this goes to prof Sonya Gupta, the dynamic Chairperson of the spanish language dept.
felicitaciones Sonya !

I was there to give a talk on hispanic culture on 23 nov at the conference organised by Institute Hispania, which is doing a commendable professional job in teaching in three cities and has plans to expand.
I was amazed by the enthusiasm and spirit of the students and teachers of spanish there.
I was told there are lots of students in pune also.
madras university has started a course?
BHU runs spanish courses.

The time has come for the policy makers, professors and enterpreneurs in language bz to think big and plan for the growing demand.

last ten days were like a carnaval for me... i was flying high..over pao de azucar, canaima and la romana ...
There were bz delegations from Brasil, mexico, venezuela, panama and dominican republic.
These delegates made me feel nostalgic and I was " at home"
The response from indian bzmen to these delegations were positive and encouraging.

Monday, November 21, 2005

su excellencia

This is the title of the Mexican film i saw yesterday.
It means "your excellency" in spanish.
It is a hilarious comedy.
i was laughing and laughing...
It has unmasked the diplomats, who move high in the clouds, elevated by the high-sounding " your excellency" and all the trappings of old world protocol.
Some of what the movie portrays is true.Diplomacy has its share of talents as well as crackpots.
-like the visa officer, who works from 1030 am to 1045 am..not far from truth in some embassies....
-He sends back visa applicants asking them to bring all kinds of documents, some of them non-sensical and absurd. Height of this is when the visa officer asks for a gurantee so that if the visiter dies, someone takes responsibility to take the body back...
- In the middle of the dinner, ambassador receives a telegram saying that military has taken over the govt and making his military attache as the ambassador. The shaken excellency moves from the head table and asks his attache to sit in his place.
so many such funny things.. some of them close to reality

I recommend this to diplomatic colleagues and those who interact with them.
The DVD of the movie has English subtitles.

Remember.. the other movie recommendation on the same subject
" El Embajador de la India" - the ambassador of India
A colombian movie, based on a real story of a colombian imposter, masquerading as Indian ambassador and is caught...equally hilarious

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fortnight of Latin American Fiesta

Second fortnight of November is the Quincena of Latin America
I am thrilled, so many came from latin America
- A 65 member business delegation of Brasil and the governor of Sao Paulo
- A Mexican business delegation
- The Vice President of Panama accompanied by an offical and a bz delegation
- A venezuelan business delegation and another delegation to negotiate DTAA
- IT and Investment minister of Dominican Republic and a bz delegation
- Brasilian trade lawyer Durval Noronha
- Chilean naval chief

Understandably the presence of so many latin americans
made me feel nostalgic
at the same time..I felt at home ...

And there was this Latin american voice which keeps calling me

Amor da minha vida
Luz de meu querer
Vem fica comigo
Sou quem sou
So por voce

This poem in portuguese(i recited in the meeting with Brasilians)

Love of my life
Light of my love
Come back to me
I am what I am
Just for you

Saturday, October 29, 2005

not only spanish translators but also spanish knowing managers

Anil Sivakumaran was one of the promising young Language Ambassadors i had met in the Translators Meet few months back. He is working with The Bosch Institute of Language and Culture in Bangalore.

I am putting here in public domain, his two emails, which are of interest to Spanish language speakers and business in India.
Those interested are welcome to share their views or do something

His contact

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a seminar at Pune's Ranade Institute on the subject of Spain-India intereconomics. It is clear that there will be a growing demand for Spanish speaking professionals in our services industries and in MNCs needing Spanish language skills, not only as translators and interpreters but also as project managers and business managers.

However, the supply and quality of supply is not keeping pace with the demand due to past lack of investment in language education countrywide. The proliferating private institutes are too small in vision and ability to meet the need for skilled professionals.

Does the MEA have any initiatives in concert with academia/UGC and chambers of commerce to address this growing gap in our ability to meet the potential for closer interaction with the Spanish speaking world - which will soon also include a critical player like the USA as well?
agree with you that pvt sector is better positioned in terms of resources but it may not have the perspective, skills and long term vision/ patience/indepth understanding to start developing such resources from scratch - despite the fact that industry generates the jobs and needs these resources badly in the long term .

This is because the process of education in language, just as in any other domain, is in years rather than months and even the best of corporate managers don't quite understand this and rarely plan or are able to plan and visualise for timelines longer than the next financial year or financial quarter. By that yardstick, we have already been quite adventurous in terms of our initiative of setting up an inhouse Bosch Institute of Cultures and Languages (BINOCULUS) - which is quite unique in the software/engineering world. Yet even an institute needs many excellent teachers and trainers and academic knowhow and this is not in abundant supply either.

The main drawback in the pvt. sector is that decision makers are engineers or managers from an science and technology background, etc and not those with a professional training and an intellectual/scientific or even common sense understanding of the humanities. In industry, the gap in understanding of the language domain is now too large and too pervasive for the pvt. sector to respond nimbly to the challenges of the supply-demand disparity in this domain. In other words, pvt. sector may be no less a dinosaur than the govt. or academia in such matters. In terms of vision, perhaps the govt. - or at least, individuals in govt. - may even be avant garde compared to academia or the pvt. sector.

The supply-demand mismatch in really well trained language professionals, teachers etc is a major gap in India right now and we are already getting behind in the race that we are running. The majority of economic opportunities are being missed rather than met. Strong skills in communication and language area will have a geometric multiplier effect for the country in terms of the economic opportunities that can be seized and the strategic positions we can occupy in trade, security etc.

At best, visionary companies may function as finishing schools but will not be able to provide the right 'soil' or 'subsoil' for a teaching and learning environment. There need to be more institutions that must take as input the students who are 17-18 and have finished Std XII and then three-four years later turn out sufficient numbers of really well trained highly skilled language professionals with the motivation and desire to pursue careers in this field. Currently each major foreign language has probably no more than 50 or so really effective people joining the professional ranks each year. There are not only far more jobs, but far more companies than this number wanting to employ them. So existing institutions with the academic knowhow like JNU, Ranade, etc also need to increase their capacity effectively, hire/train more teachers, pay competitive compensations, etc. Ultimately, in the next two years we need at least a tenfold increase in the number of effective language specialists we turn out. German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Korean and to some extent French are the critical languages in this respect.

The broad solution may lie in the direction of upgrading the status, faculty, facilities, programs, infrastructure etc of major national language institutions which provide the comprehensive degrees and programs in this domain. Institutions like JNU's language school, Ranade Institutes in Mumbai and Pune, Delhi Univ., Karnatak Univ. Dharwad, etc need to be really revitalised. They will need to be enabled/encouraged/pushed to start functioning more like the IITs and IIMs in terms of the number, quality and compensation of faculty, program development, industry partnerships and outreach for funding etc. Starting language/linguistics departments as nurseries - and competitors to the JNUs and Ranades - within the cultural environs of the IITs and IIMs may be another way to kickstart this. IIT Mumbai and IIT Kanpur with their strong Comp. Sc. and Humanities depts and IIT Chennai which I believe already has a German language study program inhouse might be good places to begin such initiatives. In fact, with linguistics becoming a recognised technical field in terms of developments in machine translation, speech recognition, character recognition etc, it is already a candidate for inclusion in the list of subjects offered within the IIT curriculum.

I am just sharing some thoughts to begin a discussion. Clarities might come more slowly.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Salman Rushdie's magical realism

How does salman Rushdie get a place in the blog on latin America?
I consider him as the Indian counterpart of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in employing magical realism.Obviously one should not take this too far. Rushdie will never write an autobiographical novel such as marquez's " memory of my melancholic whores"
His midnight children and Shame have extra doses of this typical Latin American magic.
I have just finished reading
Shalimar, the Clown
by Rushdie
As anticipated, it was a familiar journey through Rushdie world.
but less magic .. and more realism in this novel
Kashmir is the theme.
American ambassador, second world war- hero, comes to india, goes to kashmir, falls in love with a married Kashmiri woman and pays the price with his life.
Kashmiri traditions, political issues and terrorism have been portrayed realistically.
The weak clown, after loss of his wife, becomes a terrorist.
the story line is fantastic and the characters stay with you

There is one more connection of Rushdie to Latin America
he wrote a non fiction about Nicaragua after his visit during the Sandinista rule.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Brasilian artistic farmer in Goa

As I am passionate about Latin America, there are some Latin Americans who are into India. I rediscovered one in Goa last week.
Her Indian name is Thairna. She is from saopaulo.
She is an artist, painter and believer of Osho.
She is in Goa for the last seven years.
She has a simple cottage in the beach in Morjim, Goa. No TV.. no modern comforts.
no running water. It is well water like in the villages.
Her current passion is organic farming. She grows rice, vegetables and fruits and flowers. She cares for conservation of nature and the beaches and works with the villagers there.She provides consultancy on gardening.
Name of her company " Florissima "
She says the portuguese had brought some plants from Brasil to india including cashew.

Among her adventures
-living in a yacht in Amazon river for 3 years !
- around the world in the yacht
- 45 days journey by maruthi Gypsy from mumbai to Kanyakumari to bhuvaneshwar to mumbai.

She has a neighbour Paula, an italian and her husband satish, a marwari.
They have one of the most beautiful and simple houses. paula is an architect.
house has italian and rajasthani features.
no fridge.. no running electricity even, for many years in the past.

Interesting and inspiring people !

Monday, October 03, 2005

becoming a fan of Salma Hayek

I am becoming a fan of salma hayek,even in her English movies.
She has a typical latina appeal and challenge.
The first movie of hers i saw was Frida, which is a classic.
The one i saw yesterday was " The velocity of Gary"
In this Hollywood film, her latina character is in full play.
She falls in love with Valentino, who is openly in love with another man.
She does not care
She portrays innocence and spontaneity in love, no me importa attitude, genuine and sincere in her affection, a tragic and unquestioning acceptance of what life gives
and challenging and fighting for her beliefs sometimes.
She keeps up her relationship, fighting for every inch of her possession but at the same time not hating the lover-boy of Valentino, her rival.
She speaks in spanish in several scenes, when overcome by emotions
Valentino dies and she herself expects death
She asks the other guy to take care of her child.

This could have been a story by Jorge Amado or Laura Restrepo !

Monday, September 26, 2005

Lathika the Latina and Latika of Limca

I met today this almost-latina called as Lathika Regunathan, director of Mann-India technologies ltd
Why am i putting her in the blog?
Her company does 90 percent of their business with Latin America
i would say a real Focus-LAC company
In Venezuela, colombia, Brasil, panama, Honduras, Ecuador and keen to expand the list.

problem with language?
no ..they manage... dont ask me... u know my answer

and they prefer to have local partners in the client countries
They provide ERP solutions for small business and mobile banking.

more than banking thru mobile
they even organised a mobile phone election campaign for the mayoral candidate for a city called as the silicon valley of brasil. the candidate won !

Does she have problems of visa ?
no.. not even for central american countries

does she face any barriers?
no.. she sees only opportunities

My admiration for this company has become more because she and her company have succeeded in the IT market of latin america, while many others had faced so called problems.

what could be the secret?
She and her colleagues in the company love latin america...
how can there be problems ..when love climbs mountains and crosses oceans...

She is travelling to venezuela, colombia and Peru with a software delegation
29 september- 10 october.

Lathika's success should be an inspiration for Indian exporters interested in latin America.

And there is the other Latika of course

Latika Kohli, who has figured in the Limca book of records
as the youngest honorary consul of a foreign country in india
How young? aha... 12 or 13 yrs old ? One can legitimately ask ...or check the book !
She represents Guatemala and does thriving business with countries from mexico to Chile.

Let me say saludos to Latika and Lathika who add to my optimism for business with latin america

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Zahir and the Summer of Katya

I have just finished reading these two books

The Zahir by Paulo Coelho

This in my view is his best book.He taunts and teases the readers to think again about the coventional approach to love and marriage. Sounds autobiographical !
Some snippets
-age only slows down those who never had the courage to walk at their own pace
- he died while he was still alive
- the game of seduction is the most interesting game in the world. the effort of seduction forces us to give our best.
- we are close to our mission, when what we are doing is touched with the energy of enthusiasm
- all the important things in our lives had arisen out of long conversations we'd had sitting at a table in some bar or walking along a street or in a park

- we have been conditioned to believe that if a man and a woman like each other and circumstances allow, they are bound to end up in bed together.
- as soon as one decides to confront a problem, one realises that one is capable of more than one thought one was.
- love devours
- harnessing the energy of love will be like discovery of fire
- it is not the destination that matters,but the journey

The Summer of Katya by Trevanian

i had read his first novel Shibumi, which had made a powerful impression about 25 yrs back. This second book has reconfirmed that Trevanian could move my heart and soul, as intensely as he had done when i was young, innocent, foolish and timid.Katya challenges the mind with her puns and wit while letting herself take in the joy from the bright day,colours and perfume of flowers.her twin brother paul, the snobbish Parisian makes mincemeat of the rustic and proud Basque doctor Montjean with his merciless frankness.
some snippets

- patients think of bitter and unpalatable stuff as efficacious , having been conditioned by the christian assumption that pleasure is evil and pain redeeming
-love is not what one feels for another. it is a state, a condition outside the two persons, a kind of shared shelter within which both find comfort and confidence. Either one is absorbed as a whole totally or it is not love
- paul excused himself, claiming that there were a thousand things demanding his attention,so he had better take a nap and give them a chance to solve themselves under the influence of his benign neglect.
- confession is good for the spirit. it empties the soul, making space for more sin.
- romance is a fiction by which tender-minded negotiate their lust
- having attempted nothing, he had no sense of his limitations. having dared nothing, he knew no boundaries to his courage.

Venezuela- Cuba trip 31 Aug- 7 Sept

first the plus
and then the business

Zaheer,the latest book by Paulo Coelho (Brasilian) was the one I read during this trip. While Coelho goes to Khazakstan searching for his Zaheer( object of desire) and I was going in the opposite direction in search of the same. He had to cross the steppes and pass through sandstorm. but I got wet in the Angel falls of Canaima(the highest in the world) and wild in the bars of Cuba ( becoming like Thailand).The voices of angels of the East make him profund but the angels of latin America lead one to profanity.

I saw this hilarious Colombian movie " El Embajador de la India"( ambassador of india) in which a colombian pretends to be the Indian ambassador in an interior town of Colombia and almost marries the daughter of the governor.

Business now

In Venezuela v had the first joint commission meeting. It has opened the doors to our companies for business.

-Venezuela wants to reduce dependence on USA and diversify commercial and economic relations with countries such as India. our exporters should intensify their efforts at this opportune time
- the venezuelan economy has recovered from the crisis of 2002-3 and is growing in two digits. Politically President Chavez has overcome challenges and has consolidated his position.
-They plan to build a few hundred thousand houses for poor in the coming years, which means scope for export of construction materials as well as contracts.
-mining offers potential for exports as well as for investment
-IT and supply to petroleum and petrochemical indutries should be explored
-Venezuelan govt reconfirmed oil field and railway project for us.
- A pharma delegation is coming to India in the third week of this month
- venezuela needs radiologists
- they are looking for equipment and machinery for small scale industries
- our exports have doubled in the first semester of this yr

In Cuba, v had meetings with foreign trade and investment ministries and central bank
- the cuban economy grew by 7 % last yr and expected to grow more this yr. annual tourist arrival has increased to over 2 million.
-Cubans are keen to import from India consumer and industrial goods directly. At the moment some exports go thru European intermediaries
-v r going to set up an IT training centre there
-v r going to work out some way so that trade is resumed without being hindered by the debt issue
- there is scope for more joint ventures in biotechnology.
- OVL has got oil fields for exploration
- CubaMed, which imports medicines will visit India in October

v hv invited business delegations and health and trade ministers from both the countries to visit India
u r welcome to contact our embassies for more info and assistance

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Invitations for Speeches on Latin America

Latin America as a topic is moving mainstream in the lecture circuit
no longer ...exotic.. one night-stands
romance is becoming serious

here are the invitations i have received

25 August - at the Foreign Service Training Institute of India for the foreign diplomats.
26 August- launching of my new website being organised by Confederation of Indian Industry and Eximbank at F Bar, NewDelhi
15 September- at the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi
17 September - at the Conference of the Translators Association of India. I hv been invited to be the chief guest.
7 October - Seminar at the centre for Latin American studies , Goa
23 November- key note address at the International annual conference on Hispanic Culture at the centre for foreign languages, Hyderabad

date to be fixed - at the Jamia Milia University, delhi
date to be fixed - Indo-Latin American Chamber at Chennai

Sunday, August 07, 2005

More Movies- Midaq Alley and Maria Gracia

I saw these two films yesterday

Midaq Alley ( In Spanish El Callejon de los Milagros )- available in DVD in Delhi
This is a typical Mexican movie with the full range of emotions, colour and excitement.It could be a true life story of many a latino women. Adolescent and idealist love giving way to confusion followed by adventure and ending willingly into the puteria but still guarding the pure love within. Salma Hayek portrays the role of the ever transitioning latino woman who defies labelling and frontiers and chooses what she wants to do ...good or bad.The movie includes a homosexual part of the father who, bored with conventional stuff tries it without caring for the scandal. Then there are the two marriages; of a young man to a old lady and old man to the young girl, which are taken as normal in the latino society.The ending is inevitable tragedy.

Maria full of Grace ( Maria llena de Gracia in Spanish )- available in delhi

This Colombian movie is about drug trafficking to USA, using the mules, who carry the drugs in their stomach in little sachets swallowed. This is the horror story of the real life experience of many victims , who willingly take the job for money.The drug gangs use the victims ruthlessly. The movie gives a glipmse of life in Colombian small towns, where frustrated young people risk their lives and get into drug trafficking. Actress Maria Alvarez has given life to the character of Catalina.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Now the Colombian pilots are coming to India

Air Deccan has contracted the services of 8 Colombian pilots, since there is a shortage of pilots in India.They have also employed a dozen engineers and technicians. The Colombian embassy in NewDelhi expects this number to go up to 70 in a year.
The Colombians would feel at home in Barista which serve Colombian Cafe and in the gurgaon malls where they play Shakira's songs.

I saw the other day almost the entire collection of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novels in English at the Barista Creme in south extension.

Colombia has replaced Argentina as the third largest destination of our exports to latin America in 2004, with 181 million dollars.

The Colombian business in their business summit in August second week has included India as a theme for discussion and has invited speakers. Secretary DIPP Mr Ajai Dua is going.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Brasilian interns in India and Miss Dozinha

The seminars on mexico organised by EEPC at chennai and jullunder were well attended
These were to promote participation in INDEE in mexico city ( details below)
I was encouraged by the continuing enthusiasm of old exporters and the fresh interest by the new ones
I should admit my admiration for the spirit of enterpreuners and businessmen from punjab who make me more optimistic
of course, everyone was thrilled with the liberalisation of visas

In Jullunder I met a young Brasilian, Rafael, who is working/interning with an Indian metal sheet company Metlonics
Rafael is enjoying his work and life in the little city of chandigarh
He opted for this to broaden his vision and experience

who would have imagined a Brasilian coming to india for business experience?

hold on... one more Brasilian Eduardo Rosa is interning with an Indian law firm in delhi
he is also here to have an " Indian Experience" and he is keen to promote business with Brasil

Who says Brasilians dont take india seriously?

of course, these brasilians miss something in India..
no prizes for guessing...

earlier there was a Miss venezuela who worked for a couple of years with Garware plastics in Mumbai
she was promoting exports to latin america

Well, here is another way to promote exports to latin america... recruit latinamericans

It is happening the other way also
A chilean co has recruited an indian pharma executive to source supplies from india as well as to market them in latin america

When i was reflecting over this change in the mindset of these new brasilians, there comes a young American student from Cambridge University, UK ( ex- stanford) to meet me on Brasil

she said she is doing a PhD on indo-brasil Trade
i asked her
is it for a full Phd or for a small part.
she says in perfect portuguese
no senhor... full fledged Phd
and she has an authentic brasilian accent, having lived there for 2 yrs .
She is more Brasilian than many Brasilians in her spirit
Her name is Cassandra Sweet...I call her as Miss Dozinha

Is this not proof enough that even the world outside is taking note of our affair with brasil !

For those of you who want to explore the caribbean market, here is an opportunity
An Indo-caricom economic Forum is going to be held in port of spain 5-15 august
besides an exihibition of products, there will be workshops on pharma , SMEs and pharma as well as a dialogue with caricom trade and industry ministers

for info and particption pl contact our high commission in port of spain

Friday, June 24, 2005

discovery of a new author Laura Restrepo

I have just finished the novel
The dark bride( la novia escura ) by this colombian author.
I felt at in latin america
it is a typical latino fare
with a puta as the heroine
Laura has handled the puta theme admirably, like Jorge Amado of brasil and the master of this theme.
The story involves petroleros, poverty and prostituition
there is humour, irony,provocative and evocative descriptions.
Of course love of the putas and love for the putas has been juxtaposed.
sprinkling of philosophy and scattered nuggets of wisdom appear here and there

the inevitable love is defined and refined
amidst the wretched and miserable lust

The half Indian girl enters audaciously the world of puteria
without a peso, she commands the cartpuller to take her to a puteria
transforms herself into sayonara, with whom everyone falls in love
But she falls in impossible love with one miserable worker and becomes amanda
What a to disconnect heart and mind...opening the heart knowing the risk of breaking it
sayonara is memorable

and what more, sayonara meets her lover on the bank of River Magdalena
the same river in which the hero of Love at the time of cholera ( gabriel garcia marquez)takes his bride on a honeymoon cruise after having waited and married her after 70 years of age. The same Rio magdalena in which Maqroll ( alavro mutis novel)embarks on a risky journey upriver for the saw mills.

I am going to read the other two novels of Laura

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

cafe means more than coffee in latin america

While walking around in the centre of the city of Santiago,capital of Chile, one can see legs through the glass windows of cafe. Man cannot resist. You walk in. oops! what do you see... pretty young chicas (girls in spanish) dressed 0.1 percent. They smile, welcome you and take you to your seat. They ask what coffee you wil have. They mean strong or weak. The coffee comes in the slender hands while the man feasts his eyes.Just sit down, relax, listen to music and take the coffee.Not expensive. just about a US dollar. Forget it . it is just coffee . nothing more. no alcohol .. no nothing. These cafes are called as " cafe con piernas " meaning "coffee with legs ". These are proper, decent places , not something seedy. The idea behind this is to animate the tired and exhausted men coming from work and send them home in good spirits. . Who says the Chileans are less latin and more European?

In Saopaulo,(Brasil) there is a famous cafe called as " cafe foto ". Dont get dressed up for the photos while taking coffee. There is neither coffee nor photo there. It is the best night club of Brasil with 50-60 gorgeous garotas ( girls - in portuguese). There are a few such other cafes in the city which are more intoxicating and addictive than coffee.There are a number of customers in these cafes with special cards like the frequent flier miles cards.
This reminds one of a Venezuelan joke
what does a Russian man do after sex?..... takes vodka
what does a French do after sex?...... takes cognac
what does an American do after sex ?.... smokes
what does a venezuelan do after sex ?
oops .. he goes home

Coffee is used to describe the skin of people in latin America
coffee colour means blacks
milk colour is whites
coffee with milk is mulattos, mixture of whites and blacks and browns
so we from India are "cafe con leche"(coffee with milk) colour.
Coffee is the drink of all classes of people of latin america, unlike in India where coffee is the drink of the rich people, while the poor classes are tea-drinking. In many offices, shops and businesses, coffee is kept for free self service.
In cafes, when you order coffee, the waiter will ask you ..what coffee?...guayo, negro,negro corto, negro largo,negrito,maron oscuro, maron claro,marroncito,cafe con leche or cafe cortado .so many varieties depending on strength, proportion of milk and colour.In general , cafe serving in latin america is small but it is strong.In many offices and shops they keep coffee near the visitors room for people to help themselves.
In saopaulo "cafe carioca " means weak coffee. It is the way of paulistas ( people of sao paulo ) making fun of the easygoing people of Rio de Janeiro who are called as Cariocas. The other comment about Cariocas is that their week starts on Tuesday and weekend starts on Friday. In Brasil, breakfast is called as " Cafe de Manha " which literally means morning coffee
Coffee in small cup is "cafezinho" in brasil and "cafecito" in the rest of latin america, which speaks spanish. One of my favourite books is called as " A cafecito story " written by Julia Alvarez from Dominican Republic. It is based on the real life story of her husband , an American who developed an organic coffee plantation and helped the small coffee farmers of Dominican Republic
The politics of Saopaulo state of Brasil in the eighteenth century was described as "cafe con leite" ( coffee with milk ) politics. It was a period of stuggle for power between the rural landlords who owned thousands of acres of lands of coffee and sugar plantations and cattle ranches and the emerging urban industrial and business class who processed, traded and exported coffee, sugar, milk and the meat. Guess how much each cow in Brasil has as grazing area... eight and half hectares ! The landlords prefer to have large cattle ranches , since cultivation of crops is a botheration and avoidable work.
It was the coffee export economy that created the deep divisions between the privileged elite and impoverished rural masses and caused revolutions in central America even as late as the 1980s.The Coffee dynasties of Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua held political power during much of the ninteenth and twentieth centuries.The period from 1880 to 1930 was the golden age of the coffee elite in central america. In 1895 majority of the national legislators of of El Salvador were coffee growers. At the turn of twentieth century, coffee was the primary export, the foundation of wealth, the determinant of social status and the arbiter of political power in most of central america.
Coffee is the most important cash crop of Latin America which produced 63 million bags (60 kgs) out of the world production of 109 million bags in 2001-02. Brazil is the largest producer in the world followed by Colombia. These two countries account for 39 percent of the world trade in coffee. In the case of Colombia, coffee was the main export commodity in the past but now petroleum and manufactures have overtaken coffee.
Guatemala wass known as the "Coffee Republic" as it depended upon coffee exports as the main source of foreign exchange .These days the emigrants bring more dollars than coffee.
With 15 billion dollars in annual sales, coffee is the world's most valuable commodity after oil, providing 10 nations with over 50% of their foreign exchange.
While i was ambassador in Venezuela i introduced " Cafe con Visa " for Venezuelan business visa applicants. The visa is made ready by the time the visitor finishes coffee with the marketing Officer or Ambassador.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

adventures and misadventures of maqroll

I have just completed this fascinating book by Alvaro mutis of colombia
when i finished the last page of this 700 page book i wished he had written 7000 pages
the characters, the journey through exotic parts of the world and the humorous and smooth story telling made me like a kid listening to grandpa's stories.
maqroll, the gaviero, abdul bashur and llona have become my companions in journey.
in fact the book is an ideal companion for travels
the character of maqroll is unique.. latino mostly... but unlatino in some respects
one travels with him to
tierra del fuego
orinoco river
up the river magdalena
mines of peru
caribbean waters
northeuropean ports

women. lovers, passion and tragedies
adventures, fatalism, filosofical musings..
ports, jungle, sea..longing for sea

the author himself has confessed that maqroll was like a companion for him and he was following the character like an outsider

my favourite story is
the tramp steamer's last port of call

argentina- chile tour 25 april- 2 may 2005

Hola amigos y amigas

I have come back recharged, u would hv guessed
my amor and passion have intensified, no surprise !

In the plane and at airports my companion was this fantstic book
Adventures and misadventures of Macroll
by Alvaro Mutis of Colombia
he is a combination of Jorge amado and gabriel garcia marquez
690 pages...i would hv read even if it went on for 5000 pages...

business prospects look better with these two countries
Argentina is putting its act together, taking charge of its destiny with seriousness and sense
Chile, of course is continuing its march ahead of the rest of latin america with solid macroeconomic fundamentals and long term vision

Argentina offers fantastic opportunities for investment in agribusiness, forestry, energy and manufacturing
This is a good time since the economy and prices which crashed in 2001-2 are recovering and starting to go up
what costed a dollar in 2001 is now available for 40 cents
A hectare of land in the interior costs about 1000 dollars...of course land is available at a minimum of atleast 1000 hectares
there is one case of availability of a sheep farm with 10000 hectares for 10 million dollars
any takers...

Argentina has atlast allowed entry of indian pharma. those who export to USA and Europe can register their products. others need to get their units inspected. cost 60000 dollars .

in 2004 our exports to argentina increased to 150 million dollars

Chile has about a million hectares for agricultureand 6 million hectares for forestry. wood could be exported to india or wood could be used for paper pulp.

The Chinese and koreans r buying lands in both countries

Chilean govt and pvt sector take india seriously as a large and growing mkt
they r even considering defence purchases
the health minister visited India in february and is now organising an indian pharma seminar in santiago. interested cos can contact chilean and indian ambassadors

our exports to chile in 2004 were 100 million dollars. chilean manufacturing is limited , which means scope for whole lot of products.

in both the countries, we raised the visa issue
we hv reqsted them to issue visas without the need for the absurd condition of an invitation

v had a meeting with the croatian foreign minister in santiago
they r privatising a steel mill... she invited indian cos to participate

v were in punta arenas in chile, the southern most city in the world
cold..strong winds..pristine environment ..and close to antartica
two more things found there
one ..sindhis
two.. a beautiful temple decorated with a huge collection of pictures and idols ( like a museum ! ) built by nandhwani family
of course, there r nine night clubs in this city of 110,000.
sure , even if they r Chileans, they r latin americans after all !

I came back in time to cover the Guatemala foreign minister's visit which was successful
he has agreed to do something about the visas
our exports to guatemala were 39 million dollars in 2004
we can easily increase this to 100 million in 2-3 yrs
the guatemalan bz has started looking at india more seriously
this is the time to move in
CII is planning to take a delegation... please join them

another interesting news
in the first quarter of 2005, our exports to Brasil were 250 million dollars
waaaw... if it sustains v will hit the billion dollar button along with mexico