news update links
March 05, 2009

Malibu, Ca - Los Angeles, Ca
By Laurie Flarity-White

Marcelo, Michael and KO got up early and set up the solar array to charge at 7:30 AM this morning, outside of the Malibu Performing Arts Center. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day! After this, everyone ate breakfast, yummy cinnamon buns! After breakfast, the team went to work on different things. Marcelo read and replied to his huge amount of emails, KO went to a coffee bar to do her own computer work on a more comfortable chair, Michael had college homework to do and Jos slept in a little. When Jos finally woke up, he tried to find a place for everyone to shower for the day and made some contacts for Marcelo and the support crew.

A very nice man named Cary O’Neal came outside to talk with everyone, he is very personable. Marcelo asked if there was an elementary school near by, Cary suggested Webster Elementary and makes the call to set this up. It is decided that 1 PM will be a good time to do this presentation. Cary is a very friendly man and all the support crew really enjoys visiting with him. He knows a lot of celebrities

About 12:30 PM, I arrive to join the group with a photographer, Michelle Steinbroner. She has kindly picked me up from the airport and driven me through a very scenic route to Malibu to meet up with Marcelo and the rest of his crew. She is a wonderful person, I really enjoy talking with her. Her brother, Paul, is one of my husband’s really good friends and wants to promote Marcelo on his TV station. David Kirschner, a cinematographer, joins us to take videos and interview Marcelo. The plan is for them to follow Marcelo and the solar car around this afternoon to get some good video footage and also an interview to post on Paul’s EnergyRush.TV web site right away.

The total crew for this day is 4 as I have joined Michael, Jos and KO. The number of photographers is 2, so Marcelo has 6 people with him for the afternoon!

We all go to Webster Elementary around noon. Michelle, David and I go in a separate car to try to get photos of Marcelo entering the elementary. We forget to take radios for us, though and go to the wrong part of the school and miss his entrance. The kids at Webster Elementary are thrilled! Marcelo gives a stirring performance and everyone loves it! A young teacher named Kimberly is so enthralled with the presentation that she follows us out the school to thank us for it several times. We get a good picture of her with Michael.

We decide to go to Santa Monica pier next, so we shuffle everyone around in the cars again. David has a sunroof in his car and wants to videotape Marcelo, so it is decided that Michelle will drive him around so he can stand up through the sunroof and get some shots of him in the solar car. We get some pictures of David doing this, of course! Michael drives Michelle’s car so she can have it wherever we end up today and I go with him so we can zoom ahead and get some pictures of Marcelo driving by at several different locations. KO and Jos drive the support van and trailer behind Marcelo. It is nice to have so many people today, we can get lots of different pictures!

We arrive at the Santa Monica pier and have some trouble figuring out how to get Marcelo and the solar car up on top of it to drive around it. Before we get it figured out, we have a very happy and excited group of school children from Vancouver, Canada stop and see the solar car in the parking lot. They are so happy and proud that Marcelo is a Canadian.

We are about to leave the parking lot for the pier when an amazing thing happens. An Australian named Larry comes by with his wife and tells Marcelo that he made one of the first solar cars in Australia in 1982, with a man named Hans. Unbelievably, Marcelo has met Hans and knew who this man was! He also started the World Solar Challenge, which Marcelo had watched on TV as a young man in Brazil in 1987, it had inspired him to dream of his own solar car some day. This wonderful man Larry is at least partly responsible for Marcelo’s dream! Marcelo and all of his support team are so thrilled to be able to meet him and shake his hand. Larry is both excited and honored to know that he has helped to inspire such a wonderful dream in someone else. It was a very special moment for Marcelo; it is rare that you actually get to meet someone who was really unknown to you, but so important and instrumental in your life! We took a lot of pictures of this momentous occasion.

We finally head to the pier and get some photos there by the edge of the water. David finally gets a chance to interview Marcelo, and 2 unusually colored men come and say hello. One is all silver and the other all gold. We joke that we need to paint Marcelo in a similar fashion, all green!

We realize that time is passing too fast and must stop the interview to get the car to the Canadian Consul’s residence. Tomorrow is a very big day! We say good-bye to Michelle and David, and take off about 4:35 PM (1635 hours) for the road. Right away, we realize we have programmed the wrong address into the GPS, we thought the residence was a lot closer; we are going to be late!

Michael drove the van, Jos navigated, and I phoned consulate officials to let them know of our error and tardiness. KO tried to tell us she knew how to get to Hancock Park, but we didn't follow her instructions. We were a bit stressed, but the reactions of everyone through town made it all worthwhile! There were so many people in fancy cars; BMW’s, Mercedes, convertibles, Audi’s, etc. So many of them had cameras, too, after all they were probably tourists and/or looking out for celebrities! Marcelo got more pictures taken of him than I have ever seen so far to date!

After a few wrong turns and stops to check the map, we arrived at the Consul General’s house at about 6:10 PM (1810 hours.) Angel let us all into the residence to park the car in a secure place. He is a wonderful man, we really enjoy talking to him. We are hungry now, some of us had skipped lunch, so he gives us advice about where to go after we put the tarp on the car.

Marcelo, Jos, KO, Michael and I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant that is nearby Hancock Park. Jos entertains everyone by showing us and all the employees (including cooks and waitresses) how to make a flower out of a paper dinner napkin. It was fun!

We have to take Jos and KO to the airport now, they are returning home to the Bay area. Marcelo takes some pictures and we all say good-bye and thanks! We will miss them. It will be just Michael and I until Rob arrives tomorrow afternoon.

We decide to get a hotel near the airport as it is already late at night and Marcelo and all of us have a very big day tomorrow. While we are unloading all of our gear, a man comes up to us and asks for $13 to catch a bus to Newport, which is over an hour drive away. His girlfriend has left him without transportation and he did not have enough money to get home. Marcelo offers to take him there in the van (over 2 hour round trip), but Michael and I talk him out of it as he has such a busy day tomorrow, we give the man the money and he is very grateful. Marcelo is such a generous man, he always wants to help people out whenever he can! But, he needs his sleep tonight! Michael is still tired from his long plane trip from Netherlands and I had stayed up too late the night before, so the 2 of us go to bed as soon as we can, it is near midnight. Marcelo stays up even later, he must be too excited to sleep? It was a wonderful, fulfilling and exciting day, we are all looking forward to our big day tomorrow!

Bottling sunshine into XOF1's batteries, batteries fully charged in about 4 hours from California's powerful rays

Michael, Jos and Marcelo being filmed by David Kirschner for
Jos helping take the solar array down
Cary, Jos, Marcelo, Michael and KO looking pretty
At Webster Elementary all kids are fascinated by the solar car
Marcelo telling the kids about his bear encounter, great laughs from the audience
A quick practice to energize the solar car, "1, 2, 3, solar car!!!!"
Off it goes!
Thank you everyone for such a wonderful reception
92kg (202lbs) of Michael up in the air but not for very long

This one was lighter, it stayed in the air a bit longer
Okay, this one was easy

Human powered transportation
zoom zoom....
XOF1 on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway)
The perks of driving a solar car, no charge for parking at Santa Monica Pier parking lot
Beautiful shot of XOF1 with the pacific ocean on the back ground
A snap shot from inside the solar car of people staring at the solar car
Two colorful mimes checking out the solar car
Crowd pleaser
Photos of people taking photos of the solar car, smile!
Marcelo was beyond words meeting his "voorganger" (that's Dutch for predecessor).
Hans and Larry built a solar car and drove across Australia in 1982, 5 years later the 1st WSC (World Solar Challenge) took place, the news of the solar car race inspired Marcelo to start XOF1
Larry Perkins and Marcelo
Smile, we got your photo too!
Its bird?
Its a plane?
Its the little green man with the solar car!
Ko, Marcelo and Jos
Too much Mexican food does this to you!
KO, Marcelo, Jos, Laurie and Michael, last supper
Happy Laurie, got a paper flower from Jos, ahhhhh!
At the airport saying goodbye to Jos and KO at LAX.
It was great having you on the team, bon voyage!