Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thoughts From Sweden's World Cup Qulaifying loss to Bugaria

It's a frustrating feeling losing a World Cup Qualifying game. Sweden had their chances, Bulgaria just capitalized on more of their opportunities. I'm not even sure if Forsberg's penalty miss would have changed the outcome. Sweden just ran into a very good home team today.

I admire their effort however, they came into the game with a goal scoring mindset and scored two goals and creating numerous more chances. When they fell behind 1-0 they had no choice but to go all out and hope for goals.

At the end of day, France beat the Netherlands 4-0 and therefore, even a 1-0 win for Sweden wouldn't have been enough for Sweden to keep top spot in the group.

Second place is still extremely possible but it now might mean that they will have to gut out a result in Amsterdam in October.

The Belarus game will determine if this is a blip on the Sweds Qualifying journey or is this team spiraling out of control at the worst possible time.

Still a lot to play for, and if I have to guess, I think Sweden still qualifies for Russia 2018. No guarantee that the Netherlands pick up maximum points in their next two games as a home date with Bulgaria and a away trip to Belarus loom for the Dutch.

Would love to see Sweden win 3-0 over Belarus on Sunday. Offensively today, Sweden looked great and therefore I wouldn't be surprised if Sweden was able to do that to a depleted Belarus roster right now.    

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sweden face Crucial Matchday 7 this Week

Twelve years ago, Sweden marched into Sofia Bulgaria for a crucial World Cup Qualifying game, the end result, a easy 3-0 win for Sweden as they cruised past their Qualifying rivals on route to qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

That group featured other teams such as Croatia, Hungary, Iceland and Malta. It finished as follows:


Over the last decade, the weaker teams have closed the gap over the stronger teams and these results would be a hard time duplicating if this group was formed now. In fact, the way the current format is at now, this is almost a must win for Bulgaria.

In contrast, Sweden has looked stronger as the group stage has gone on and after beating France back in June, sit in the drivers seat in Group A of the 2018 Qualifiers.

 Sweden can see the end in sight but their margin for error is still razor thin. A slip up in Sofia combined with a Dutch upset win in the French capital as well and Sweden would go from being in the drivers seat to in Jeopardy of not even qualifying for Russia 2018.

The game in Sofia is crucial. However, what happens in Pairs is also very important. A win in Bulgaria would be great, but a draw with the right result in France would be put Sweden in a good spot to qualify for through the back door. Therefore, Sweden needs a balance, they don't have to go for goals and be thin at the back but they can't sit back and hope for a 0-0 draw. It has to be somewhere in between.

At this point, winning would give Sweden their best World Cup Qualifying campaign ever which would be a huge accomplishment given the boatload of question marks this team was asked at this time last year.

We can't get too far ahead of ourselves. Business has to be taken care of Thursday in Bulgaria. This could might as well be the turning point in Group A that has proven to be one of the most competitive groups in Qualifying.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Day 28 - Bolivia Trip

I write this post with sadness because it might be my last one. Not sure how much wifi I'll have tomorrow or Sunday.

Yesterday kinda felt like the last day. I knew I had to get everything I needed, go to my favorite dinner place, etc etc.

I was able to find a place that sold a Bolivian Soccer jersey. The irony is I might have walked past that store a dozen times. I payed 130 Bolivianos for it. From what I have heard, the store clerk ripped me off and charged a higher price because I look North American. While it might be true, I really can't be bothered because I still got a great deal.

Lunch yesterday was Soup and I really liked it, Had a little bit of everything in it. Same as brfore.

One thing that took me a few weeks to notice was that no one really wears seat belts. I'm curious why that is and the funny thing is, I have mostly always warn my seat belt awhile I have been here.

With yesterday being the last day with the kids, I got to choose the activity. We had a basketball free throw shooting competion and in a shocking turn of events, I didn't win. I blame the wind for going 2 for 6 in my first game.

At the end of our two hours, I was able to give them all small gifts that I brought from Canada.Most of the kids acted like it was Christmas morning which felt good and some gave me big hugs goodbye.

Found my way to the mall yesterday where I bought a few more things before I headed off to my favorite place for dinner. Loved eating here because the portion sizes were good and they sometimes had American sports on.

Crawled into bed early last night as I knew the next two days were going to be busy. I've had a really good time here in Bolivia and its crazy that I'm going home already. I have some things to do next week so its time to go home.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Day 27 - Bolivia Trip

Yesterday was back to normal down here. The surprize birthday stuff dfid give me a boost of energy during this already short week.

For whatever reason, I sleep in a lot so the afternoons are here before I know it. Something I miss here is a local coffee shop close by that is so comon in Vancouver. Lots of differences about Cochabamba but some are not noticeable until it occurs to you. 

Yesterday I had my last Spanish lesson and I enjoyed the spanish lessons but the learning curve was slow. One of these days I will be able to speak well in Spanish. 

Pasta was on the menu for lunch yesterday with some meat and a good sauce. Might have been the best pasta since being here. 

We were going to play baseball with the kids yesterday but they insisted that we play soccer so majority ruled. In the second hour with the little kids we let them do whatever they wanted because they aren't quite big enough for a game yet. 

Found my way to Burger King last night. Was going to eat there for my Birthday but we all went out instead that night. Came home to find the Yankees and Mets on ESPN but shortly lost interest when the Yankees took the lead late in the game. 

If anyone wants something, now is the time to let me know.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day 26 - Bolivia Trip

Yesterday was my Birthday, it was kinda of special to have a birthday in a different country. I was treated very well the whole day and the best part was I didn't have to share it with anyone! 

It started with another volunteer playing a Happy Birthday song on YouTube that woke me up. It was a good surprise though and something that was unexpected. 

I was actually kinda curious who would figure out it was my Birthday but nostly everyone knew which was a plesent surprise. We had a meeting like normal and I'm happy to announce that it was my last one of the trip. 

Lunch was ckicken and rice. Very good chicken and the rice was good too. After lunch the volunteer conordintor gave me a card that everyoned signed and that was very special. 

With the kids yesterday we had a short session of type writting and than a few of us went out to play basketball. We played a game of variation of a game called around the world which I won easily. Better competition would have created a very intense game however. For the second hour we did more combine type fitness. I'm at a huge disadvantage because of the high altitude in Bolivia. 

When we got back, a huge surprise was inj store for me. One of the locals had baked a cake for me and they sung Happy Birthday before I blew out the candles. The cake had smarties on it and tasted very good. 

We all went out to dinner last night and I got to pick. I picked Italian. The restrunt was a nice setting, good menu but the portion sizes weren't equal to what you get at a normal Italian restrunt. I had a pasta with a cheese sauce but it wasn't that cheesy. Bread was amazing though. 

All in all my birthday was amazing. I got spoiled which was special. 239 people wrote on my timeline on facebook yestersday plus lots of messages. 

I have two days left with the kids. There just starting to feel comfortable with me and its sad my time is almost up. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Day 25 - Bolivia Trip

Monday was another day off and it was great to get another day to enjoy the Cochabamba lifestyle. This week will go by fast because of the holiday and I have to pack up my bags. In fact I only have 3 days left with the kids.

Really needed to get on the suvenior hunt. After lunch at a cute and cousy place that had a lunch Buffet, I wondered up to the Main Street where the Mall type place was. There were quite a few stores with cute things to buy. Unfortunately, a lot of the stores had similar items so there was not much variety.

Picked up a few things but really wanted to find a Bolivia soccer jersey. What I'm figuring out is this is hard to find because the popular teams are Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Was able to find a store that had good selection near the Burger King. But they honestly had everything but Bolivia. Lots were good prices so I had to buy something. Picked an Italy soccer jersey and got in line. In the line, the workers were unorganized and really couldn't handle the busy line as it was taking forever so I just left with nothing.

Right beside the store was a really good place to eat where I had a  Burrito. One of few places that I have been down here that take credit cards.

By the time I got home it was time to settle down for the night. Looking forward to the rest of the week.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Day 24 - Bolivia Trip

Sunday was the quietest day yet. One of the computers downstairs keybord wasn't working and that made it a slow day and had to be creative.

Found a soccer game on tv and watched it. Might have been the first game I watched all of it since I have been here.

Starting to keep my out for some touristy stuff. Sometimes hard to find. A lot of shops and everything are so small that they are easy to miss. store logos are also not as comon as they are in North America. 

Found a nice place to eat lunch yesterday. Looked someone turned their backyard into a place to eat which seemes like a very creative idea.

Already thinking about the long flight home, how I'm going to pack everything and such. Found a store similar to Wal-Mart yesterday but did't buy anything. Maybe I should had but my credit card wasn't on me at the time. 

Came back around 4 and had a nap. Felt good to relax even though I didn't do much. The evening dragged along even though there was a baseball game on in the evening. Before I went to bed I figured out how to get on the other computer downstairs. Not like going on the computer is the main thing to do here but it does help bridge the gap between outings and its good to follow where you have walked in a given day. 

I hope my cousion Jen had a good Birthday today back in Alberta today (August 14th).

Weather returned back to normal yesterday with warm weather and blue sky.   

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Day 23 - Bolivia Trip

The weekend was finally here yesterday. Most Saturday's between August and May I get up early and watch the English Premier League. The up early part doesn't exist down here because I'm 3 hours ahead of normal. Also the watching Part didn't exsit because the English League isn't as big as this is a Spanish speaking continent and the Spanish League hasn't started yet.

Later in the morning, I was able to FB call the Seattle gang who is doing their annual Baseball weekend. Looked like the Fiesta was the same as usual down there with the 12 of them.

Was able to take a nice walk down the main streets yesterday. Haircut and Pedicure costed about 35 Bolivianos which was a bargain. I am going to a friends wedding the week I get back and felt I needed a haircut.

Had lunch at a place that gave me a boatload of food for a great price. Service has always been excellent considering they don't speak English and I don't speak much Spanish.

Some kind of cooking event was put on by the foundation for the locals. Sushi for dinner was alright considering I'm not a sushi fan. Had a good theology conversation with a local who spoke great English. He was a non believer but appreciated how respectful I was too him about his stance.

The people stayed late into the night. Crepes were for dessert which was a delightful treat. Some locals enjoy talking to me because they want to improve their English. I have enjoyed that attention over the last month.

Wish there was more to do around town. Maybe there is but you have to be there longer to figure what that is. Always looking forward to the next day though.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Day 22 - Bolivia Trip

My last full Friday in Cochabamba was yesterday and it was a pretty laid back morning. Some of the Staff was out of town so there was was thankfully no meeting yesterday.

I took the time to go up town and walk around the streets, found a good milkshake place close by and took advantage of it. It's starting to sink in that my time here is almost done and I want to try to visit every coffee of food place as I can.

Lunch came early yesterday and it was good. However, there is something strange about eating pasta in Bolivia. For one, it doesn't taste as good as back home and the other is I can have it any day back home and therefore having it here doesn't make it feel special.

Friday was cooking day with the kids. We made some kind of fruit salad type dish. I think it would have been good but I didn't recognize many of the fruits that were in it. In the second hour we played baseball with the kids. It was an a adventure to say the least. They changed some of the rules which I didn't really understand why.

After we were done, went back home and got a bite to eat. Saw more of the tennis on TV. Day seemed to be missing something.

Been starting to look for tourist stuff to buy but that has been a challenge because this isn't much of a city for tourism. Glad it's the weekend nevertheless.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Day 21 - Bolivia Trip

This wee is going by fast and pretty soon I'll be on my last week. Thursday's mean ESL for the kids and because last week they found English so hard we just decided to plan a memory game that they could have fun with.

Spanish lesson went well and lunch was soon after. Meat and rice this time around and like most of the time I have been here, I was wanting seconds.

With the kids, the English memory game worked well and the kids had way more fun than last week. We even finished with time to spare which is rare.

For sports yesterday we decided to play Capture the Flag which seemed to be revolutionary to them as I don't think they have ever heard of it. In the middle of the game, a Thunderstorm like none other passed by. It didn't rain much but the lighting show was amazing followed by loud crushes of Thunder. Rain was in the forecast and was much needed as the field was super dusty.

After dinner, I turned on the TV to watch the 18 year old Canadian defeat Nadal at the Rogers Cup. Great match with a exciting 3rd set tiebreak.

After that, the group watched Inside Out in French. However I was too tired to stay up and went to bed. Found out that this weekend is a long weekend as well but I'm not sure what for. Holiday Monday again!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day 20 - Bolivia Trip

Early in the morning yesterday, a dog came into my room and knocked my glasses off my night stand. That made me have to walk a half dozen blocks to the eye glasses place to get them fixed. No lineups at the place and quickly got them fixed without a cost.

Stopped quickly at a place for a breakfast sandwich before I made my way home. I couldn't pass up the amazingly cheap prices.

My Spanish lesson was followed by lunch which was pasta with a meat sauce. It was nothing special but it filled the belly just enough.

With the kids for the first hour we painted a picture. My picture was an attempt to paint Eastern Washington's Red turf football field but it more or less looked like some countries flag because my painting ability is below average and that is putting it lightly.

Dinner last night was at the local sports bar down the road. The Burrito I had was fantastic and the portion size was good as well which is rare down here.

Last night the local soccer team was playing on TV in a South American Champions League game against a team from Brazil. After winning the first leg 1-0, they tied last night 0–0 despite the other team having lots of great chances to score. The local team advanced to the Quarterfinals next month.

Pattern is mostly the same everyday but the events are different which make everyday still exciting.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Day 19 - Bolivia Trip

The new week was upon us yesterday as we begun our short week with the kids. It's sad that my time here is almost done as I have a have a 4 day week followed the weekend and another 4 day week.

The holiday pushed our meeting back to Tuesday and therefore that meant that yesterday was the only day that I had a Spanish lesson following the meeting.

Lunch was welcomed with big smiles as it ad been three whole days without having a meal cooked for us. I'm starting to notice a pattern in the way that the meals are cooked. Tuesday's ar usually soup and yesterday it was Patato Cheese Broccoli Soup and it was really good.

With the kids yesterday we made something that looked like a fortune Teller type thing with different colored paper. In the second hour, we did boxing fitness drills that looked similar to stuff at the NFL combine. Kids liked the fact they could be timed and also se their friends scores.

Quiet night back at the house at the end of the night. Caught the end of the tennis again last night before calling it a night at around 11. Stayed up listening to the Mariners game come from behind extra innings win on a radio app.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Day 18 - Bolivia Trip

With the holiday falling on a Sunday, we had the day off yesterday. Which was good because it's nice being tied down to nothing in a different country.

Unfortunately, I had a feeling that everything was going to be closed. Took it easy in the morning but the morning also went by fast because of how much I usually sleep in.

Found the Rogers Cup Tennis tournament on TV. It was good to get my North American fix every few days. I'm glad the sky isn't falling without me back in Canada.

After a few false starts by other volunteers in the last few days off, we finally made the trek up to the Christ Redeemer Statue. We drive passed it every day we visit the kids so finally getting there was a must.

In fact, being there is so amazing that it makes the Statue of Liberty boring. There is a option to hike but I didn't want to risk it with being at Altitude. The Gondala ride up was 10.50 Bolivianos. A unwanted 90 minute wait greeted us but was spead up by the workers asking for a party of 3.

The ride up was about 5 minutes, fast enough to make it seem like a ride but not too fast so you couldn't enjoy it. At the top we had to climb a hil, we passed a coke stand on our way to the top where I enjoyed a Powerade. The view from atop was breathtaking and gorgeous at the same time.

A few interesting things to read at the top but of course everything was in Spanish. We were able to pay 2 extra Bolivanos to walk in Jesus's body where spiral staircases led as to the very top. View was excellent as the sun was just about to set.

It took another hour to get to the bottom. Wish there was a gift shop at the bottom but I was out of luck. Went home and got a bite to eat a few blocks away before crashing in front of the TV and watching the Cubs and Giants on ESPN.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Day 17 - Bolivia Trip

Yesterday was Independece Day in Bolivia. On this day, a lot of the stores are closed and that creates not much to do. It was a slow stat to the morning as I slept in to about 9.

I was able to get a lot of small things down however, like cleaning my room and laundry. You know, the boring stuff.

There was a parade on one of the busy streets that was filled with different bands marching up the streets. A lot of police were in the parade as well.

It was really cool to see a lot of Bolivian flags out. A few cars had car flags. I Stayed at the Parade for about 30 minutes. I wasn't sure how long it was going to last.

After a bit of time at the house, me and another volunteer went out to see if the locals were getting ready for the fireworks. Unfortunately, all the drama was ending and people were packing up.

I don't get it, there are fireworks like every weekend by bozo's causing trouble in the streets. You can hear them but usually there to small to see from a distnce. Even last night, you could hear the fireworks but not see them.

Dozed off on the couch late last night watching the Mets - Dodgers game. It wasn't much of a game anyway.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Day 16 - Bolivia Trip

Saturday I felt much better. I slept in to about 10 and felt well rested. The weekend provides not much activity being the fact that a lot of places close down.

I spent a some time in the late morning  on the computer, catching up on everything. Volunteer house seems quiet with not many volunteers left.

I walked up the main street in the middle afteroon. I wanted to see how far I could go. I went about seven blocks and I could see people setting up for whatever event was happening on the streets tomorrow.

Some beach volley tournament was being held a few streets away. I decided not to check out the action because it was already getting kinda late.

Looks like rain is in the forecast for Monday which will be a much needed rain as I don't think it has rained in a very long time.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Day 15 - Bolivia Trip

The morning yesterday went by slowly. The meeting was alright but because most of it was in Spanish I can't really say I got anything out of it. I still don't undestand why we have them. If it were me I would have one everyday or none at all.

Felt quite tired through most of the day. I had a nap before lunch but got up to eat a bit. We had Strifry yesterday. Not sure if it's called that in Bolivia but that's what it looked like.

I decided to stay home and rest yesterday. I had another nap and woke up feeling better.Might be a minor cold if anything. Or really bad allergies but was feeling better in the evening.

Went out for dinner with another volunteer last night. Another chicken place but it was good. Fries were amazing.

Unfortunately the TV wasn't working yesterday and we decided not to watch a movie after all. Independence Day Sunday in Bolivia. Curious to see what kind of Fiesta the locals throw.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Day 14 - Bolivia Trip

Depending on if your counting my travel days and day in La Paz on the way back from Bolivia, I believe this was the halfway point of my trip. To sum everything up, it{s been great so far. Missing my home computer and stuff but it's nice to live a different style for a change.

Yesterday I got a chance to prepare a ESL lesson for a change which was really challenging because of the english level the kids are at. In fact, for some of the kids, English is their third lanuage that they will learn.

Lunch was par for the course again, breaded chicken was the surprise meat of the day with lots of Mash patatos.

At the school, the kids had even less of an English ability than I was told. We basiclly tagught them some animals in English which seemed super basic considering they had a poster of animals with the english name already in the classroom.

We did more basketball in PE, its when we play basketball I wish I could speak better spanish. Their missing a lot of key basketball tips I wish I could give them.

After we got back, I went out for Pizza. Tasted really good considering I never expected to see good pizza in Bolivia.

Went back to check email before I went to bed early because I was really tired.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Day 13 - Bolivia Trip

Day 13 was almost the halfway point of my trip. Slept in to about 9  as I was really tired from the night before. I was going to play basketball with my friend from Denmark but he we were both too tired. Yesterday was his last day and he had a lot to do before he was ready to go.

After my Spanish lesson, we sat down for lunch where we enjoyed another great meal. I am never positive what meat we are having but it was good. We also had a heavy brunch yesterday as well and therefore I ate well yesterday.

I found my favorite game to play with the kids and that game is Silent Ball. I enjoy it because I don't have to feel bad about speaking little spanish. For the second hour, we went outside and played dodgeball. Anything but socer is a bad idea according to the kids it seems.

Found a KFC type place close by for dinner last night. I am calling it BFK. Bolivia Fried Chicken. Still amazed by the prices and it will suck to go back to Canadian standards in two weeks.

Last night we watched Zootopia in Spanish. Stayed awake for the first bit before falling asleep.

One more day until the long weekend. Looking forward to watching a good fireworks show on August 6th.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Day 12 - Bolivia Trip

Tuesday morning started with going for a walk to try and find a charger. I am able to charge my phone and iPad through a indirect source but not through the wall right now.

After returning home, I had my first Spanish lesson. I feel like the Spanish complicates itself too much but I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

Lunch was Patato Soup again and I enjoyed it. Always seems to be a the same foods but in a differant way of cooking things which keeps everything a surprise.

Another interesting thing about living here instead of back in North America is that we have to put the toilet paper in the garbage instead of the toilet which is hard to get used to.

With the kids yesterday one of the other volunteers wanted to teach the kids boxing. Never realized  how tiring it makes you feel but to my surprise I had fun.

After dinner, we had a fundrasing evet at a sports bars, A lot of money was raised as there was a lot of people that showed up. Too many people showed up if you ask me. It was very hard and almost dangerous to try to get to person to person, The event lasted awhile as it didn't end until 11 and we wern't home until just before 1.

I didn't crawl into bed before 2am and it felt much later than that.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Day 11 - Bolivia Trip

Yesterday started with my charging thing running out of gas. Took awhile to figure out which part died but I think figured out what the problem was.

Quiet morning yesterday. What is interesting about Bolivia is that things close down during lunch and reopen in the afternoon. I guess that's why we get fed at lunch.

Lunch yesterday was par for the course. Some kind of meat with lots of rice and vegetables. It comes at a perfect time as breakfast is very light.

With the kids yesterday we played soccer again. My glasses got bent out of shape while playing but got them fixed after the time with the kids was over.

For dinner I had the left over rice that was in the fridge. Simple but effective. Definitely eating less
calories here than back in Canada but having way more Coke than I'm used to.

Haven't watched much TV in the past few days. Been easy to keep occupied lately. Super tired though.