Sunday, March 15, 2009

Que Mas?
Today is our last full day Abroad. Que hacemos, what can we add to our memory banks before we return to Gringolandia? Maybe more Gaudi. Maybe the Nativity face of Sagrada Family with the morning light. Would Golum come out on the Sabbath? Will anything be open on the Sabbath? We also need to organize everything for the flight, for the l o n g day. It may require buying an extra bag. tee hee I haven't mentioned 'shopping' very much, but I seem to have... uh... found just a few cosas. I maybe should have bought a whole, live, sheep, instead of all that wool!

Our first days here there were relatively few tourists... it seemed busy, but now we know busy. Steadily since Friday, the crowds have been swelling and last night the groups and caravans of visitors were a massive crush of revelers and sightseers, drinkers, smokers, foreign speakers from many nations. All ages are well represented, but I think this is definitely a younger persons destination. And it is certainly a dress-up and be sophisticated kind of place.

Of course I am comparing it with our most familiar and frequent vacation destination, Hawaii. Aloha spirit is lacking here.... which is not to say the place is devoid of friendliness, but I would not call things here laid back. I haven't heard anyone say no worries or seen any flip-flops, or random acts of spontaneous giddyness. With one exception, the woman from the Canary Islands... she was bubbling, a gregarious fountain of rhythm, humor, amor and artistic expression... effusively stating her beliefs and daring us to believe for one moment that she is from here. In a lilting, and confiding voice she asks, 'Cres tu que soy de aqui? Haz me favor!' 'Do you actually think I am from here? As if!' She impersonated every sad and stern tourist that comes in to her shop. She admonished the dour, complaining citizens of her adopted state, and she implored us to be happy, to not worry, to express our art and amor. She showed us her own dance. She hugged us rigorously. I think she would love Hawaii.

I have taken so many pictures! It's true about them being worth a thousand words... not that I have a pro's skills or that my images are singularly special, but each image evokes a memory and prompts a story. I like using the camera as a kind of shorthand travel journal. So I took a picture of the T-shirt hanging in a shop window: “Dolce and Banana,” with a fashionly iconic, big yellow banana. I took a picture of womens' shoes... just typical pairs walking on the boardwalk, so I will not forget that so many of the women and girls travel up, down and all around in impossibly high, slender heels. I did not get a picture of the young man in the declarative T-shirt...I am Muslim. Don't Panic. I took several pictures of Bambi, the sweet faced doggy riding in her master's rolling suiting case. He was an older gentleman, in a suit... the kind of daily suit that all men used to wear, out for a stroll, pulling his canine companion behind him.

Am I going to be impossible to live with? Am I going to be Chicken Abroad, the woman who can't get over herself, because she went to two Old World countries and ate the best croissants ever? Oh dear. Of course I am changed. Of course I am filled to the brim with new stories and a thousand reflections... but will I be snobbish, a bore? Will I interject my vastly sophisticated and worldly perspective and narratives on unsuspecting victims? Oh dear. If I do... if I ramble on about how they do it France, or say things like, “It's better in_____,” then look me in the eye, and say kindly, “Hey, Craky-Lu, get over yourself.”

And about those croissants... they were good, but I think the flavor was greatly enhanced by being in my mother's company, by the long walks and the beautiful, and amusing and different and surprising and new sights. Alex makes very good chocolate croissants. I think when he makes them again, we should eat them on a walk, at the beach or downtown... walking and talking... the six of us enjoying each other's Aloha.

After breakfast... observations, deep thoughts and other musings...

This morning, about 8:30, it was quiet. For three minutes I could detect only an ambient hum, but no voices, no horns, no engines or sirens, no laughter, or indignant shouts. I could not hear buzzing Vespas or rattling motorcycles, no clack-clack-clack of stiletto heels. The silence rang out, unique and rare.

If I made you believe that I was through with museums, I am here to insert an addendum... we are going to the Museu de la Xocolata. According to the literature we are going to learn the complete history of cocoa and then see the Sagrada Familia en xocolata. It's totally educational. We need to be thorough in our appreciation for Spain, for Catalunya, for life, the universe and everything. I wonder if there's a gift shop.

.... Mc-Blogging... the 30 minute wifi and fries is way cool, especially with the Familia Sagrada in full view.


Anna Banana said...

Hola Chica,
Will you be coming to MNO on Tues. at Vera's? Somehow I doubt it!

judy in ky said...

Natalie, I love the way you describe your experiences and express your feelings about what you are seeing. I am very much enjoying all this through your words.

You have put into words what I LOVE about Hawaii, too. "Random acts of spontaneous giddiness!" I love that... it describes perfectly what I experience when I am on the Hawaiian Islands. It's what I seek every day of my life but rarely find. I think that will be my goal for every day... to experience random acts of spontaneous giddiness!