Sent away from home. The beach house where Salvador Dali painted most of his work. Made from fishing cottages collected one-by-one, crazy knick knacks, white courtyards spilling pink geraniums, quirky statues, the perfect blue water. And the perfect next door neighbor, the Cap de Creus Nature Park. Wild and scruffy, windy, wonderful.
I don’t look twice anymore when I see a whole leg of Jamon in a shopping cart. Around the holidays, Ignacio and Marta usually get a couple as gifts from generous clients. They tell me that they can eat one up real quick, a couple weeks, three max. It’s a household staple, even if they cost a fortune and are almost as big as the small kitchens here. Very yummy. We started with and the left behind the Serranos. Now working our way through the Ibericos (pata negra, black pigs), still trying to figure out our favorite Bellota (free range acorn fed), buying them by precious “cien” grams at a time. Soon we will have something to show for our work. Someone else has clearly already figured out their favorite!
Rioja... 5 car hours from Barcelona. A bit far for a weekend, but we did it! Laguardia and Haro for basque tapas and old-timey ambiance. Bike riding in the vineyards out the back of Villabuena de Alba.
I have made so many mistakes. It started our first night pouring sweetened “plain” yogurt all over a savory dinner dish. And it never stopped from there. I am used to it now. Even so, it was nice to be reminded that great people falter too. I love Frank Gehry’s Disney Center in Los Angeles. I enjoy the form of his building in the tiny village of Elciego, Rioja. But, his bungle was landing it in the scruffy, humble wine country. And swathing it in strutting gold, silver and...eek, bright purple. The excuse being that we should see flowing wine in the big dash of color. But that is a shade of purple that only a jug of kool-aid could love, no? So head-high with your own little bloopers, we all make them!
Meg? How can she come to Barcelona and not tell me? Hmmmmm. Wait a minute. Meg has one poodle. Meg has a different kind of poodle. Meg has a different color poodle. Meg is taller, skinnier and prettier. I am seeing things. I must miss my friends!
Sing it Mick! “but if you try some time, you just might find, you just might find, you get what you...need!” We waited three months for our couch, four months for a coat hook, and are still waiting for the window cleaner’s bid, so we get it now. Bike helmets never arrived in our shipment, and the weather now is perfect for a ride, so quick to the bike shop to replace them. Four bike shops and a bunch of rejected bike helmets later. Lady, you want blue? Mister, you want one that looks like something a boy would actually wear? No pasa nada, two weeks to order! Never mind we say. Khaki is sort of like a shade of blue, and the bandana one is black, boys can wear that right? And who cares if the box is damaged and it’s probably been on someone else’s head. We’ll be safe with these. You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need! Is that also why when I ordered an orange juice and a coffee at 9:00 this morning, the waiter brought me an orange juice and a beer?
Modernista. Signature Barcelona. Absolutely gorgeous. And noble too. My friend Benedicte is a Hollywood wardrobe stylist turned urban archeologist. Now she hunts and rescues antique floor tiles from construction site dumpsters, puts them through a museum-style restoration, then art directs them into really amazing tables. Or simple wall memories. And all kinds of other things. Way too pretty to leave behind. www.mesabonita.es And, check this out, the store Sadur in Sarriá makes elegant wallets, purses and shoes out of leather embossed with Barcelona’s modernista sidewalk tile designs. You walked on it, now you can wear it!
Today marks exactly six months since we arrived!
Bubble, splash, eyes up, eyes down, quiet, exuberant, tranquil, jubilant, graceful, arrogant, fancy, petite, up town, down town...the fountains of Barcelona.
After six months, I understand Spanish pretty well, and for speaking, stumble all the time, lots of hand signals, continue to rely on mime and use a lot of remote synonyms. It’s taken 80 hours of tutoring and oodles of homework to get here. I returned Rosetta Stone long ago.
My bicycle card did not show up in the mail as it should have a couple weeks ago, so I sent a simple complaint in the best Spanish I could grab. Then, of course, I got an overly complicated response:
“En relación a su consulta respecto a su alta, queremos indicarle que ha sucedido una incidencia en el registro y no nos consta en nuestra base de datos. Comprobaremos si el abono de la subscripción se ha realizado correctamente y una vez hecho procederemos a restablecer el registro y al envío de la tarjeta de abono del Bicing. En caso de no haberse producido el abono se lo comunicaremos a fin que pueda repetir el alta. Lamentamos las molestias que este hecho le haya podido ocasionar, quedando a su disposición.”
So I copied and pasted the whole thing into Google Translate and this is what came out...
“Regarding your question about your discharge, we tell you it happened a bearing on the record and we recorded in our database. Check if the payment of the subscription was successful and once done proceed to restore the registry and send the card for payment of Bicing. In case of absence of the fertilizer will tell you can repeat to discharge. We regret any inconvenience that this may have caused you, being available.”
Hmmm, pretty sure I didn’t write in about a medical condition or a problem with my garden, so with my ugly, but most excellent dictionarywww.wordreference.com/es/translation.asp, slowly learned that this is what the letter had actually said...
“Regarding your question about membership, we would like to tell you that there has been some problem in the registration and you are not recorded in our database. We will check if the payment has been correctly posted and then we will try again to get you your Bicing card. In case we cannot find the payment, we will let you know, and then, if you wish, you can repeat the registration process. We regret any bother this may have caused you and remain at your disposal.”
I am proud to say, I got my bicycle card in the mail today. And I’ll just keep at those Spanish lessions!
By Maia Pay Ozguc
Barcelona Impressions. Be curious. Be present. Be Barcelona!