Archive for November, 2010

November 30, 2010

Versailles, France, I have arrived

Coming around my life, as a family we decided way back that one day we might end up in France. Being married to a French woman, and all French citizens, the time was just any minute. Life in South Florida has been great, and we were visiting France every year since 1990 together,even sometimes with my parents.

The decision was made to come to live in France permanently. First, I found a job online with a major French CAC 40 corporation as head of their accounting dept which included 9 regions of the world and 5 billion USD in sales,the force of 53% of sales to the USA. The decision then was to prepare the move and sell our home in Florida.

I came for the job on August 23, 2003 to start with Thomson Broadcast & Media Solutions in Cergy, dept 95 Val d’Oise,and  lived with my inlaws in near Meaux dept 77 Seine-et-Marne initially while I search for an apartment. This was done by October of that year, at a village near Versailles dept 78 Yvelines, with good transport to the city and Paris as well as close to my job via car. My family joined me in December 2003 together with my parents who decided to follow their only son and grandchildren here.

I had secured a big four bedroom apartment near transport and schools,and large enough to received our belonging from Florida USA. The move was done from Miami Florida by SDV French freight forwarders who gave us an expatriate deal very cheap for a 40 foot container door to door delivery.

My parents were issued quickly visa long séjour and upon arriving titre de séjour visiteur as they were already US retirees did not needed to work . My wife was helped by a French compatriot in the USA who refered her to a company here doing the same job as in Florida, freight forwarding agent ,and within a couple of month found the job at Roissy CDG in the freight or cargo area of DHL. My kids went to school across the street from the apartment and quickly began to get good grades in school as their French was already mastered by the mother in house education,using tapes, books, cassettes, plus the daily usage of the language and annual visits to France.

Quickly settling in to our new surrounding, we purchase our first and only home by July 2004 in the same area near a forest that links with Versailles behind the domaine of Versailles which includes the castle everyone comes to see. It is a four bedroom 2 bath one car garage home with fruit trees in the patio and a nice front yard full of roses and flowers. Tool shed house and barbecue pit of bricks. It is our sweet home in France, and we love it.

About this time (2004)I was given the opportunity to be the head of Accounting of the Intercontinental Hotels Group in France, handling all hotels own and manage by the group including the fame Cafe de la Paix in Paris and 3 Intercontinental hotels (two in Paris and one in Cannes) plus the Holiday Inn Republique in Paris and Disneyland Paris. A job that allows me to maintain close relationship with the deluxe high end and tourist industry in France. As well as getting to know some well known individuals in many fields.

Our next move as we move along in France, which by now it has become our home and legal residence is to move closer to the kids university and schools, as they are working or going to school in Versailles or next to it using the city bus system very well while Dad continues to haul his car around (habit hard to dismiss). My job since 2006 involves doing independant contract work for corporations inside and outside France in the area of  Finance/ERP/Controlling/and international dealings with the largest French corp part of the CAC 40 (sort like a Dow Jones industrials in the USA).

You are welcome to hollow when in the area Paris or Versailles and maybe we can meet one day in the area. I will expand the site into more tourisme but feel important to be more personal and let you all know a bit of my history. Cheers and happy travels. Hope it helps.

Hotel de Ville

Hotel de Ville ,Versailles

Porte Saint Antoine

Porte Saint Antoine

Place d'Armes

Place d'Armes, Versailles

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November 29, 2010

Sunshine State, Florida here I come

My first contact with the STate of Florida took place in 1973 when I went from New Jersey to visit my Aunt in Miami Lakes; it didnt seem that great, I guess I was already used to the cold weather from Spain and New Jersey.

Then in August of 1977 I went to pursue my university studies there, and settled at Daytona Beach. It was instant love, the city was warm, sunny but also cool in winter, nice folks and the beach and the girls was awesome. Spring Break is an event all American college students need or do go thru in their life,and its not to be missed. At those times Daytona Beach was it, over 500 000 of them collapse the beach all of its 23 sandy miles with a party atmosphere tops in the USA. Dont get me wrong, I did my studies too, and finally graduated in april 24, 1982 with a graduation at the Peabody Auditorium on the beachside and a class of 396 students.

I went back “home” to New Jersey, and began my working life at the Newark International Airport EWR with Butler Aviation the following month May 15 1982. However, my heart was left in Daytona Beach, on my first year vacation in the summer of 1983 I came back for a visitor spring break time, and reunited with old friends and students.

Then ,finally it set in ,and made the decision to move to FLorida. I did on January 4, 1985 arriving in Ormond by the Sea, North Peninsula, just by 150 meters from the Atlantic ocean and 200 meters from the Intracoastal waters of the Halifax River. I had the Oceanside country club to the south and Bicentennial park to the north. Heavens !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The pay was less, but the feeling was great. My first job was in the wine department of the ABC wine and liquor store by Yonge st US 1 Ormond Beach,and the rest is history as I was able to get back into my accounting career with 5 resorts timeshare condominium builder/manager called Aqua Sun Investments,and then the career took off into other jobs in the finance/accounting area in the Daytona Beach area. It was here I met on a trip to Paris what would later be my wife, we decided to live in the area, and my oldest son was born in Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach in 1992.

While working for Equifax, the Credit Bureau office in Daytona Beach, the company decide to close several sites, and was offered a move to North Miami at the entrance to Williams Island (Elizabeth Taylor own there ::)). So this cause my move to South Florida, and it was fantastic, job wise and activities wise. Once they decided to close the Miami office as well, I took off into computer distribution to Latin America based in Miami with CHS Electronics (at the time the 3rd largest in the world and NYSE), this allow me many travels in Latin America and my future looks bright. WE, the family and I eventually moved to the Silver Lakes division in Broward County, to the west of FT Lauderdale while continuing to work in Miami Beacon Center. Before the move to Broward County, my twins boys were born at Hialeah Hospital near the fame horse racetrack in 1993.

We have continuosly made trips to France every year since my marriage in Daytona Beach City Island municipal government building on December 26, 1990 with my Frenchie. Our boys went there since been 6 months old at each time. Florida was very good to us, and we have great memories of our stayed there, all in all, I lived 18 years in the STate of FLorida. Finally in august of 2003 the family made the decision to move permanently to France,and the saga continues. Photo of Daytona Beach courthouse at city island where we were married.

Daytona Beach

civil courthouse in Daytona Beachmy last home in FLorida USA

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November 28, 2010

My life in Madrid, Spain

I arrived from Havana, Cuba on December 30th 1971 in a lonely long flight of 16 hours aboard a Britannia four propellers aircraft with a fueling stop in Santa Maria, Azores islands of Portugal. After much political pressure and the help of the Spanish government as Spanish citizens to leave the island dictatorship. I ended in another one Lol!

My early life was accompanying my mother as my father had already escape by boat to the USA. We were supported there by my father with remittances so we were not dependant on anything or anybody. I was lucky enough thru an old family friend to enrolled in the Real Madrid training camps in football/soccer, baseball,and volleyball. We practice all over mostly in the sports city and casa del campo installations and baseball at the parque de la Elipa (still the Madrid federation main baseball field today behing Retiro park area of Elipa).

We lived in a modest apartment or piso at Alcala 331, 2do A ,buzon 67, Madrid 27, or at the 331 alcala street, 2nd floor apartment A, mailbox 67, Madrid zip/postal code 28027. This is metro Quintana ,line 5 right there as you come up/ Past the Ventas monumental bullfight ring into working class Madrid.

The time was spent at school, very strict, chasing girls not so strict,and playing sports. Helping my mother as always with her to go out shopping and doing the house work. I was a busy men. My most memorable experience was going out with the adults who would take me to the different tapas restaurants for a caña ,a glass of beer or chatico, a glass of wine. the favorites hangouts then were Timbales,Casa Paco,Las Cuevas de Luis Candela,Cafe Gijon,Cerveceria Alemana,and many small unkown places all over Madrid.

Sports wise, going to Casa del Campo for the Real Madrid training was great. I played in the Alavin,and Benjamin divisions, and were Champions of Spain in 1972-73. The Elipa baseball complex was great too as we played against the US base at Torrejon de Ardoz, and the serviceman kids had a team. Then me and my Spanish friends would go to Parque de la Montaña right next to Oeste to ride the cable car or Teleferico.

Madrid will always be one of my homes no matter where I must live in the World. Once biten it is hard not to missed the city friendly casual ambiance. Another city in the trail of Ernest Hemingway ::) I left the city in May 10 ,1974 as a resident citizen, but been back several times including last october 26 2010. I will always have a look down on it from heaven. Hasta pronto

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November 28, 2010

My early US history, Perth Amboy NJ

Where it all began for me and my family finally arriving in freedom at Perth Amboy , New Jersey ,USA on may 10, 1974. From Madrid ,Spain. After successful avoiding two dictatorships of the left and right, freedom sets in.

The early life was working very hard ,helping my parents who had branch out into small businesses such as the grocery store (see picture), clothing store,restaurant,delivery services,and nightclub activities. It was a period of learning English, and new rules,laws,and way of living ,adjusting to the American work ethics that so much carry on in my life today.

I became a US citizen in the municipal courthouse of New Brunswick, Middlesex county, New Jersey on December 13, 1980. I learn my ways and language like a native ::) I continue playing my beloved football/soccer (learned in Madrid), and some baseball at high school, and amateur team levels. I played in the Garden State Soccer league known as Schaeffer league for the local beer sponsored,and the LISA, or luso-iberian soccer association with Portuguese and Hungarian clubs.

My sports were intercepted around the help needed on my parents businesses,so I was very busy ,sometimes working at nights so to have some daytime free for sports and girls ::). The city that welcome me to America was Perth Amboy ,in Middlesex County, NJ. It was a city of about 50 000 inhabitants, full of immigrants from all over,there were sections call Budapest, Dublin,Little Italy, Holy Cross, etc, I lived by the one call the Waterfront (facing Staten Island, New York City).

I graduated a panther from Perth Amboy High School in June of 1977,and went to university in FLorida (later my second home in the USA). IN Perth Amboy I lived for 13 years, hard working and full of learning a new surroundings and customs/language but full of great memories and many many friends that will eventually stop by here. Go Panthers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the photo is in my mother’s grocery store.

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November 28, 2010

Havana nights and more of La Habana

It was once the Paris of the Americas, the Pearl of the Antilles, the most chic city of Latin America until the revolution destroyed everything;streets names were changed, city names were change, people left in hordes, and more poverty than ever sets in all under the glorious revolution still there.

However, it was not always like today.  King Philip II of Spain granted title of city in 1592 and a royal decree in 1634 recognized its importance by officially designating it the “Key to the New World and Rampart of the West Indies”. It came under British rule in 1762-63 before the Treaty of Paris gave it back to Spain.

It quickly grew into the city with Latin American biggest middle class, and Hemingway quoted “In terms of beauty only Venice and Paris surpassed Havana”. Gas public lighting came in 1848 and railroad in 1837. Most of the building were inspired by French architect and style such as the Aldama castle build in 1844. See the University of Havana, Capitol (1929 replica of the one in Washington DC USA). Neoclassical like the Convent of Santa Clara, Art deco like the Bacardi building,modern like the Habana Hilton Hotel (today Habana LIbre),and wonderful castles like La Fuerza, Morro, Cabañas,Atares,Principe,La Punta. The grand theater also known as Garcia Lorca theater,and the biggest in Latin America, cementary Colon (colombus cementary).

Its a city to fall in love for no matter what period of time in history you may choose to visit. The photo is Giraldilla, the woman symbol of the Republic and the third tallest indoor figure in the world.

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November 28, 2010

Gran Via de Madrid

Madrid

 

For Madrid to heavens and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day. I spent my childhood there for four years, and been visiting it ever since. Never tired of seeing it. One of its most emblematic streets is Gran Via as it is known today in Democratic Spain. It used to be called Avenida Jose Antonio during the Franco dictatorship. Recently it celebrated 100 years of existance.

The street starts in the Calle de Alcala, and ends at Plaza de España. It all began construction in april 4, 1910. Many movies and literature,and plays were done there forming the backbone of Spanish society throughtout the years. If you go to Madrid, you need to walk yourself on this avenue, its magical and full of history of Madrid.

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November 27, 2010

El clasico in Spain, Real Madrid

Real Madrid

the classic game in Spain is for many years the match between the Real Madrid FC and the FC Barcelona . The Madrid team is my team. I played when a boy in the alavin and benjamin divisions there, now a Madridista for life, lately not in agreement with the administration of the team as one can imagine with a 450 millions Euro budget and still a private club, things can get out of hands.

ON monday November 29th the clasico will be played again in Barcelona at 21h. Gol Tv will have it but if you tune in earlier you can see on internet at rojadirecta.org. The game ended in a big loss for Real Madrid 0x5, the record there has been two wins in the last 28 matches !!!

League matches between them is at 160 games with Real Madrid winning 68, Barcelona 62 and 30 ties. However, at the European level , Real Madrid has won 9 European cups vs only 3 for Barcelona. In Spain, Real Madrid has won 31 leagues titles while Barcelona only 20. And so on, clearly FIFA named Real Madrid the best club of the 20Th Century, and the IFFHS name it the best European club of the 20th Century. Enough said.

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November 27, 2010

The 17th is celebrating 150 years of Paris

The 17 arrondissement de Paris was the result of the specifics orders of emperor Napoleon III to beautify and modernise the dirty city of Paris in around 1860. As a results all the neighborhoods of Batignolles and Monceau that were part of the city of Clichy (Hauts-de-Seine dept 92)and those of  Ternes and Villiers that were from  Neuilly-sur-Seine (Hauts-de-Seine  dept 92) were brought together into the city of Paris.

The historic salle Wagram or Wagram hall will be open after a complete renovation to open up the festivities celebrating the 150 years of these areas joining Paris at 39-41 avenue Wagram tonite November 27 2010. The party will begin with a dancing tea party at 15h to 17h, then the night of the 17 ballroom dance from 21h30. Cost is 5€.

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November 26, 2010

Eternal Paris

The beauty of the city never ceased ever since reading a “movable feast” by Hemingway, and visiting for the first time in 1972.  The city really became what it is today after emperor Napoleon III order Baron Haussmann to beautify and modernised the city in the 1860’s, many villages around Paris were annexed like Auteuil, Passy,Belleville, etc. You will see many monuments and sights as well as restaurant reviews eventually, keep an eye on it.Tour Eiffel

jardin de luxembourg, statue of liberty

statue of liberty at jardin de luxembourg

Sacre Coeur

high up at Sacre Coeur

Seine river

Seine River, Sacre Coeur and what do you see?Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, Seine river

Notre Dame

Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris

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November 26, 2010

Chateau de Versailles

a moving symbol of France, and over 4 millions visitors per year. Very near me, lived since august 2003, and just marvel all the time. the castle was but a hamlet and by 1688 it became the symbol of the French nation under king Louis XIV. chateau de Versailles

from fountain of apollon

bassin d'Apollon and back of Castle

Orangerie

Orangerie from outside on road D10

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