LONG LOST GP COLLEAGUES SURFACE IN EXOTIC SHANGHAI, etc!

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 EDITOR’S BLOG

 

When we went online last year we actually feared we’d lose so much for leaving behind our long (and cherished) tradition of being a print magazine and gain little to compensate.

Then simply for being out there on the web we began hearing from friends we thought we’ve forever lost touch with. And we realized there’s much to be said for going online after all!

Besides, we’ve found out that ceasing to be a print publication didn’t mean losing our essence. Basically we’re still the Guidepost which started out 55 years ago to serve Madrid’s expat community. The only real difference is that we’ve grown much broader in scope and now enjoy a highly interactive exchange with our readers and former colleagues living near and far.

Catherine, we borrowed this photo from your Facebook page. Hope you don't mind.

Catherine, we borrowed this photo from your Facebook page. Hope you don’t mind.

Sometime ago we heard from Catherine Tindle Ortiz who found us on the web and “wow, what a blast from the past!” she said. Hearing from her was a big surprise and what a wonderful blast from the past for us too. Catherine used to write entertainment reviews in Guidepost but somewhere along the way the communication between us got broken.

Remembering those golden days when GP folks partied in the office on a weekly basis – and still managed to keep the mag going week after week, miracle of miracles! – Catherine went on: “When there were tuna sandwiches at Wednesday lunch for the weekly copy deadline. When the word copy, in that sense, was only used in publishing, lol.) Good to see [GP] is still around.”

Don, on the top floor of the 9-story North Temple Pagoda in Sozhou, a town west of Shanghai.

Don, on the top floor of the 9-story North Temple Pagoda in the Sozhou town west of Shanghai he and his wife Liz  visited recently.

And here’s one from Don O’Toole who, by way of (re-)introducing himself, wrote to us:

I was an editor, writer and photographer for Guidepost from 1979-1981. I just recently discovered that the magazine has successfully moved to the web. I am very pleased the publication that Dan Lowell founded all those years ago continues to serve the ex-pat community in Madrid. I am now a resident of Shanghai. The years I spent in Madrid working for Guidepost and teaching English provided an excellent introduction to life as an ex-pat. I often draw upon the lessons learned in Spain to guide me with my life as an ex-pat in China.

We wasted no time replying to Don telling him how glad we were to hear from him. And he went and reminisced in the only way an outstanding editor of Guidepost would – that is, vividly – about his life in Madrid:

Edificio España on the right.

Edificio España, right.

I almost literally lived in the magazine’s office. My apartment was on the 8th floor of Grupo 1 in Edificio España so I just had to go to the ground floor and walk over to another elevator to go to the office. I was an avid photographer during those years. I convinced Dan to let me convert one of the bathrooms in the suite to a darkroom; it had previously been used as a storage room. I often worked on photographs or on my articles until the wee hours of the morning. I felt like such a sophisticated journalist. My work at the magazine gave me access to some amazing personalities including a bunch of great musicians: Stan Getz, Paco de Lucia, Al DiMeola, Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie and Joan Baez, among others. I still have my Guidepost press credentials from all those years ago. That card got me in everywhere.

Fast forward to the present:

Lanson Tower, center, don's apartment building, Shanghai.

Lanson Tower, center, Don and Liz’s apartment building, Shanghai.

There has been a lot of water under the bridge since my time at Guidepost. I will celebrate 30 years with IBM next year. Currently I am Director of Technical Enablement for IBM’s Growth Market Unit. I lead a team of system architects and IT specialists across China, the ASEAN nations, India, Russia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America. My team is responsible for working with regional software companies to optimize their software on IBM’s hardware. My career at IBM has allowed me to travel all over the world including my current assignment in Shanghai. I frequently think of my first international experience in Madrid. The lessons I learned during those years have helped me to be a better citizen of the world.

The North Temple Pagoda, Suzhou.

The North Temple Pagoda, Suzhou.

Gee, thanks for telling us all these, Catherine and Don and others. Will you drop in on us someday? If you make it a Wednesday we’ll make sure tuna sandwiches are on the menu. We’re not in Edificio España anymore. The building was sold to an investment firm. But we’re in the same barrio. We don’t want to stay too far away from where it all started, with all those wonderful folks making what Guidepost was and what it has turned out today.

Rose

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Except for the Edificio España and Catherine’s photos, Don kindly shared the rest with us. Top photo: Liz O’Toole with the giant Buddha in Suzhou.