Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I got a ticket to go to an RBD concert along with Julio and here is an article I wrote for the 'Diversions' section of the newly founded UPEACE student newspaper. The Diversion section is meant to be on the lighter side considering most people at UPEACE study conflict etc...
Diversions: Concert Review: RBD Tour Celestial 2007

Staff Writer Tom Ketteley (ILHR) reviews the RBD Tour Celestial which came to San Jose on 4 November

San Jose hosted the final concert of the Celestial Tour 2007 for RBD, the Mexican Latin-pop sensation. Although an invitation was extended to all the Mexican nationals on the UPeace campus, none of them were persuaded to join this historic event. Without their support, the 20,000-seater Saprissa stadium was unfortunately short of fans. An audience of 3,000 mostly 10 and 11 year-old screaming girls with their reluctant parents made up the majority of the spectators.

RBD was finally coaxed onto stage an hour and a half behind schedule. By this time, the organisers had invited all ticket holders down to the VIP area near the stage so that at least a respectable-looking crowd could be seen by the performers, even if the rest of the stadium lay empty.

The show started well with Anahi, Dulce Maria, Maite, Alfonso, Christopher and Christian bursting onto stage to perform Cariño Mio before calling out for the audience to forget about yesterday and tomorrow and live in the moment. RBD had energy and enthusiasm and the girls sitting near me were jumping from side to side as their fathers sank deeper into their seats waiting for the purgatory to end.

The dance routines had obviously been choreographed some time ago, as most of the set dance pieces featured at least one of the sextet either a few steps behind or, on a few occasions, doing a completely different dance. One would think they might be able to get it right after months of touring!

Yet this did not detract from the show. The evening progressed with hit after hit for over two hours including the classic Rebelde, the song which shot the group to fame back in 2004 on the back of the Mexican soap opera they starred in, as well as renditions of I Wanna Be The Rain and Este corazón.

Throughout the concert the group reminded the young crowd of the power of youth. Indeed during Tu Amor, Christian, who was recently outed as gay on the internet when pictures of his wedding in Canada surfaced on the internet, shared with the audience his thoughts that “sex, religion, and sexuality are not important” and that “everyone is equal.” Love matters most, he told his adoring fans.

Although the subtly of his plea for tolerance may have been lost on the young crowd, his words came across as truly heartfelt and the importance of such a message in Central America should not be undermined.

There was no telling if RBD were sad to be performing their final concert of the year or if they were glad to be coming to the end of a long world tour. Certainly, their acts looked tired at times. But the young Tica girls did not seem to mind; they were singing, dancing and dreaming with their idols for the night.
RBD is set to release its new album Empezar desde cero later this month, but after such poor turnout it is questionable whether RBD will be back in San Jose any time soon.

Costa Rican addresses

My Spanish classes are about 700m west and 100m north of the church ... there are no road names in Costa Rica so all addresses are given in coordinates from major buildings - the church is usually a good place to start from or otherwise bank branches, distinctive corner shops like the one owned by the Chinese family in the town know as 'China' locally and supermarkets. The more random location points include mango trees which may or may not still be there or other such like places of interest which are well known to the local man who has lived in the town for years but slightly more tricky for the foreign student. With no road names you count the street blocks in units of 100m - so walking two blocks is 200m etc until you get to long distances which are just classified as 1000m. Confused? Well it gets better because these directions only give corner coordinates so people make judgements about how far along the road the place is in 25m intervals with 50m being halfway between blocks. By now addresses should be crystal clear to anyone (or so the logic goes). Anyway the reason behind the explanation of Costa Rican peculiarities is that the other day I was asked by my friend to give him the address for my Spanish teacher so I told him the address and drew a map as well. What struck me after was a sense of this is not how you normally give addresses or directions but I could not for the life of me think how we manage to navigate our way around cities at home. The Costa Rican system has become so ingrained in me that I had completely forgotten that at home we have street names (a big help) and also to get us from one place to the other!
Since mid-October one of the fun parts of my walk home from Spanish lessons is that I get about 10 minutes of listening to the brass band practice Christmas carols. For the first few times I went home I could not work out why I was humming Jingle Bells later in the evening and then when I found myself trying to remember the words to O Come All ye Faithful it hit me. I hope the band improves a bit by Christmas because at the moment they are not in time at all with each other.
On the subject of Christmas on the 1 November decorations started going up everywhere. The Admin department at UPEACE even closed for the afternoon to put up decorations - tinsel and fake garlands with red bows. The number of houses fully decked out with lights and Father Christmas and fake snow is staggering. Some houses have so many clashing fairy lights flicking on and off I am sure they have induced epilepsy among people passing by. Even with the decorations though something feels a little strange about the weather not being cold....