I endorse Argentina for la copa del mundial 2014

Tough match!
My first football top. Argentina vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina

I’m not much of a football fan. Went to a Catholic school and so support Celtic (A little) but besides that I’m Scottish and the best we get at football is having a song called ‘Don’t come home too soon’ as a tribute. Thankfully though I’ve spent three years in Argentina and feel as if I’ve earned the respect of the local community to don the top and support a team with a chance of winning.

I won’t bore you with a commentary of the match, needless to say I was ecstatic with a 2-1 win but the people here have more depth to their enjoyment of football than I’ve yet to understand. Contemplative faces all round by the end of the match and concern was abound in Quilmes.  Let’s see how this one progresses.


My first glacier not from an aeroplane!

Chillin' with the stillin'
Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia is a sight to behold!

Sometimes having a biologist wife is a pain in the neck. Getting up to watch a sunrise over a volcano during a national holiday in Indonesia springs to mind! Other times it’s a blessing to have the opportunity to share in something as magical as Patagonia with someone so  considerate about life, diversity and enjoying both equally.

There’s not much to do in El Calafate, but what there is to do is actually awesome! Having got to the airport with 6 hours to spare I hunted down a burger van I read about on Wikitravel (Not there!) Took off hungry and tired and thought to myself this is a poor start to this adventure. As soon as we landed in El Calafate everything changed, the serene nature of the place grabs hold and Argentina becomes, yet again, another country.

The young (Yes, I’m saying that now about people a few years younger than me) flock to Patagonia during peak season to work in the various hostels, hotels and tourist industries and we were met by a girl from Quilmes at our hostel. The world may be a grand size but no matter where you go it always seems much smaller through coincidences like this.

Next up; El Chaltén!

IB Heads conference

The third really cool thing happened today at St George’s college. There was an IB heads conference which I helped kick off via ‘The Sound of Music’ backdrop and so I got a peek at what goes on behind the curtain. I was markedly impressed. Never one to favour conferences relating to education or technology I expected a boorish collective of ego driven maniacs all trying to outdo each other with one-upmanship and very little of actual modern pedagogy to be explored. Shows how little I know to be so utterly incorrect.

I’ll have to admit that the tablets and iPads being used did look fresh out of their packaging and were being toyed with timidly by their users – but – they were being used with relishing gusto and paired with the speakers they have it might seem that technology will be filtering into the classroom via the top as well as at the grassroots level. It’s not cutting edge dynamic speakers they’ve got who’ll intimidate conventions such as Guillermo Rauch of Learnboost or Luis von Ahn but sober, level headed people with a strong command of education and management – exactly what heads need to empathise with.

I still think that children will lead the way with which technologies we’ll implement in education but seeing just short of 400 heads of school at the IB level eager to utilise  modern tools means that teachers will forced to become more literate with technology as a rule and I see that as a win-win for everyone. Now if only the IB could have its facilitators know how to use the wikis they use for their online learning programs and provide explanatory videos outlining what’s expected of those on its CPD programs we’d have a level playing field for teachers to compete on.

One thing I did note and felt rather bad about though was that I didn’t see any black or Asian people at the conference.  Women were well represented and so the hegemonic elite of yore is no more, but it was overly Caucasian for me to think that it was truly International. Perhaps the very long flight to Argentina put some people off, the furthest East I heard of was from Kuwait and that took him 50 hours, the furthest West was Hawaii and that took them 39 hours. No mean feat visiting Buenos Aires.

It’s funny who you can bump into in BA

Caroline Robertson and Rodge Glass pop by Buenos Aires
A blast from the past! (And me strangling a woman with a neck brace!)

When I was younger I had a good friend Alastair whose sister was friends with my own. All these years later Caroline and her husband Rodge have come to Latin America to do some NGO work during their honeymoon. BA was their landing point and I was lucky enough to grab the newly-weds and celebrate their bond in a bar in San Telmo. It’s so odd to think of my 15 year old self visiting her parents home and asking for Alastair and all these years later we’re each married and exploring the globe (Second time for Caroline in Latin America too!).

A celebration of Scottish culture, porteño style

Odd seeing Scotland from another point of view
Tartan Day in Buenos Aires!

I’ve never thought about it before but it’s weird seeing your culture be portrayed by generations later from it’s emigrants. The people of Scottish descent in Capital were very respectful of their heritage and made sure all of Scotland, from the Shetlands to the lowlands were represented and celebrated (We even had Roman and English invaders present). Effie met with distant cousins who share her name and I even got a nip out of it!

I don’t think Utilikilts will be making a breakout any time soon in Argentina and their céilidh moves are a little too tame for my tastes but it’s safe to say that Alba is well remembered in Argentina and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

I’ve done an Andes!

The Andes and me, pretty cool I reckon!

Thankfully it was a bus which got me to this point. I wouldn’t normally condone a road up a mountain but this is a main thoroughfare between Argentina an Chile. Some lovely stops along the way and then a half hour hike to this point. In Winter this is meant to be prime skiing country.

Scott Lyon on the interwebz