Archive for October, 2008

BG Energy Challenge 2008 – Brasil

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Over the weekend I had the fabulous opportunity to take part in the BG Energy Challenge – Brasil. This challenge is run in many countries where BG operates (UK, Egypt, Trinidad, Houston, and obviously Brasil, among others). The event took place in Teresópolis, a town outside of Rio de Janeiro (the city of God!)

Basically the event is a team-building, corporate competition type of thing (think Calgary Corporate Challenge), open to any companies in the Energy sector. BG Brasil sends a couple of teams, other companies that operate in and around Rio also come (I’ve seen Schlumberger, Chevron, I think Shell was here somewhere). Obviously I was representing BG Bolivia; we sent an all-female team and an all-male team.

Each team has three people, and here in Brasil they organize the race as follows: from 8:30 to 12:30 all teams have to run (or walk) to as many checkpoints as possible, and at these checkpoints do a task, or just check in. The checkpoints are on a map given the night before, and strategizing which checkpoints to go to first/last/not at all is quite important. While we have not seen the results yet to see if anyone did, I think it is almost impossible to get to all the checkpoints and do all the tasks in the 4 hours, hence the importance of a strategy (in total there were 11 task checkpoints and 13 check-in checkpoints).

Here are some of the tasks that we had to do: get to the top of an indoor climbing wall and ring the bell; a blindfolded person has to walk a route through an old building being directed solely by his team members’ voices, and not touch any of the “booby-traps” (rope all along the route with bells on it to signify when it’s been touched); two team members ride a route by bike while the third runs along (that lucky third was me!); correctly identify flags of ten countries that were on display; solve two mathematical formulas without the use of anything, except natural elements (ie we could write in the non-existent dirt); smell some food/sauces and name them; hit a golf ball 50 meters; and my [start sarcasm] most favorite, one that made the most sense [end sarcasm] was to have two team members swim through muddy water with three giant inflated rubber balls to the other end, where they gave these balls to a third (lucky) team member who walked back with these balls on land, while the two in the mu… I mean in the water got to swim back. Oh yeah, and the swimmers had to wear their shoes. Ever swam with shoes on? In mud? And then ever ran with soaked, mud-saturated shoes? It’s not pleasant.

There were a few tasks that we never got to, never attempted, so this is not an exhaustive list. An important point though, many tasks could be lost, and then you get no credit for it. Touch a booby-trap rope and ring the bell on it? Game over. Don’t get both mathematical formula questions right? Sorry, no part marks! Then the entire 15 minutes of intense uphill climb, and then 5 minutes of descent, to get to and from the checkpoint is wasted, and everybody is that much more tired and unable to get to some other potential task.

In between all these challenges was obviously the physical part of getting to and from the checkpoints, and also the mental challenge of correctly navigating among them. And for the end, you pretty much had to make it back to the start/finish in four hours, or you start losing points for every minute you are over. We finished in exactly 3 hours, 59 minutes, and zero seconds.

I must say that the event was very well run and put together. Things flowed pretty smoothly; inevitable injuries (I personally saw a cut that later got 6 stitches, as well as a twisted knee) were handled well by the paramedic staff on site; they had about 3 photographers and 2 videographers recording the details of people’s runs and climbs and everything in between. If I ever get my hands on any of that media I will definitely share it.

So yeah, that describes the way the Challenge looked. It was fun, exhausting, interesting, a little bit dirty, and very exhausting. As of now we don’t have the results yet, so I can’t tell you how we did, but we were one of the more physically fit teams (though we failed on several challenges), so we have some hope. We will see and I will update!

Update: So we got 2nd place in our category, lost to the other team by only two points (we could have gotten 5 more points if not for missing a minus sign in the math formula task!) But that is quite good nonetheless, and most important it was fun for all. Oh, and our all-girls team got first in their category, so BG Bolivia represented quite well!

Juanes

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

One of the nice things about living in a Spanish speaking country is getting to know all the Spanish music that is around. And there is a lot of it, all different genres, for everyone’s tastes. I have to share my knowledge about one artist in particular, whose songs are really nice to listen to, whether you know what he’s saying or not. That artist is a Colombian named Juanes. He has won many Latin Grammy Awards, has recorded songs with the likes of Black Eyed Peas and Nelly Furtado, and in 2005 was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.

Personally I think his best songs are when he performs by himself, but either way his stuff is really good. I’ve listened to his last two albums titled Mi Sangre (My Blood) and La Vida… Es un Ratico (Life… Is But A Moment), and even without understanding any of the songs they got a nice sound to them. Someday soon I’ll try and get some of his older stuff that made him famous.

Anyways, give a few of his songs a listen. I have posted below two of his most popular songs from his latest album. If you like what you hear then you can look for the full albums (don’t know if any stores in Canada would carry it, but iTunes has his albums for download).

Let me know what you think!

Gotas De Agua Dulce

Me Enamora