Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Today Is Wednesday. PST 8:34 AM. March 18, 2009

Less of a post title, more of a method for re-acclimating to Western Hemisphere time and space. Please feel free to write and tell me that jet lag is a mind numbing, knee buckling, booty kicking journey in to atypical confusion. Following Chicken Abroad with a high school field trip-road trip to an international robotics competition in Phoenix, AZ... Crazy. We are doing this, but I am not sure how. A leisurely eight hour drive home after seventy-two hours of robo-mania... would be ideal, but Geoff has a flight to SF first thing Sunday morning, so we gotta haul bot out of Arizona...

I don't know why I am posting right now, except that I like bogging... I like pouring out my thoughts, sorting my feelings, sharing all the stuff, even if I do look like a focused, absorbed, hunkering dork, tapping away at my keyboard.

Someday I will write a great book about being Chicken, Abroad and how to cope with nameless dread, fear of flying and opportunistic cabbies, and it will be full of great pictures and my happy reflections on how the world is amazing and full and interesting and amusing... it will be awesome.

Cool dogs.

Faces everywhere.

Beauty in unexpected spaces.

Real life time travel.

Visual feasts.

New places that become familiar and dear, the world is smaller.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tomorrow Home
Even though we did not make it the Chocolate Museum, our time here is almost up. We have seen art and grime, we have heard melodies and crack of dawn bells and sirens... we have had a very good time. We feel Metro confident now. We know Gaudi and where to have a delicious meal, with comfortable ambience. We pay sincere homage to Mc-D's and their free wifi, clean bathrooms and the fact that they serve beer. We did not order the beer, but the wifi and bathrooms that were much appreciated. Gracies Senor McFlurry.

Tonight we packed and organized, after finding one open shop that sells bags to people who bought a bit much... no names, just initials: NAVV, a.k.a. "Craky-Lu." Next we pick up a few snacks for the 15 flight, then a farewell Sangria and night-night.

Chicken Abroad thanks you for comments and support, for your faith and encouragement.
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.