Monday, September 22, 2003

Gosh, golly and gee whiz. No lines, no removing of shoes, no improper questions. Nada, nada. Except an endless trip and 28 hours without sleep. Never, ever, children, fly Ryanair unless you live in London. Nuff said.

Barcelona is, I must say, amazing. Where are the potholes? Where is the litter? Why don´t people jaywalk? These are valid questions. And whoever heard of a city with a happy hour that´s from 11:30pm - 1:30am? And, as a tried and true New Orleanian, how the hell does everyone stay so thin? Little bitty waists! And small feet! Big time gris gris, that´s the only responsible and logical answer.

Sidwalks 11 inches wide, and streets only 13 inches wide, give El Raval a noise quotient that´s unbeatable. El Raval is the architecturally beautiful but breathtakingly noisy, rowdy, bonkers part of Barcelona that nestled yours truly for the first 4 nights. He´s outta there, folks, and up, up town to Gracia. Deemed too trendy by my Irish ´host´in El Raval, it´s just perfect for the more refined sensibilities that all know I maintain.

Though I´ve incurred several anxiety attacks since arriving, they´re lessening in intensity now that I´ve found my comfort zone neighborhood. Imagine actually having a reason to go to the Bywater and you´re just scratching the surface. Beaucoup little shops of all types, restaurants, bars, placas (plazas for the uninitiated), kids and soccer, aromas and cave. All, just simply all, except an abundance of tourists.

But to regress, Parc Gruell - disappointing. Sagrada Familia - blown far far away. Las Ramblas - Bourbon Street over Mardi Gras but magnified into 2-3 miles of insanity. All night concerts, bagpipe marching bands in full regalia, grandmothers, festivals with costumes 20 feet high. Unique controlled insanity. Toddlers dancing salsa and voluptuous Latin laughter and passion.

But I´ve just had 5 beers and a bottle of wine, so this session - though delayed - will continue tomorrow.

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