Friday, October 23, 2009

Barcelona Afternoon

Our hostess told us there is a wonderful food market just off Las Ramblas, just around the corner from the pension. We got there just before it closed, too late for tapas but still time for the wonderfully refreshing fruit drink/frappe for 1 €. Perfect.

We spent the rest of the afternoon rambling in and around Las Ramblas, through the Barrio Gotico, looking, smelling, and planning dinner. The hostess recommended avoiding dining on Las Ramblas as the prices would be higher than other places.

We found a popular, fairly touristy but nice place, La Fonda. We fell for the tourist menu (gazpacho - a creamy version garnished with hardboiled egg, and paella - way too much, and not as tasty as we hoped) but the people at the table next to us had wonderful fish and other things. We got to talking with them, ended up sharing another bottle of wine with them over dessert (or was that dessert) before toddling home to sleep for 11 hours.

1 comment:

Johnny D. said...

I am not sure how many other people spend their vacations looking at raw food they have no intention or means of cooking. Well, we do.

The market was fascinating and there were plenty of little bars that were, unfortunately, just closing when we got there. Too bad, it was hot and I could have murdered a beer.

The couple next to us at LaFonda were very unusual. The man was an English ex-pat now happily living in Switzerland. He loved Switzerland for all of the reasons that someone might i.e. it was orderly, quiet and the trains ran on time. It reminded me of a character in one of John Le Carre's books who says "Thank God the Swiss are only neutral, know what I mean?"

Considering that they have stayed "neutral" for many centuries while unthinkable atrocities were occurring in their back yard begs the question of where neutrality ends and cowardice or self interest begin. The Swiss clearly collaborated with the Nazis and with people who did business with the Nazis and are even now still cooperating with shady folks. Even the Swiss guy admitted that the primary force in their economy was "money laundering". His words, not mine.

He also was fairly gloating about how strong the Euro was against the dollar and how cheap it was traveling the U.S. now. And, he was overjoyed how Guiliani had cleaned up New York. Personally, I though Times Square was more interesting when it was porn shops rather than now when it has Banana Republic and looks like any mall anywhere. On the other hand during my brief sojourn in the Big Apple was during the time of Bernard Goetz the Subway Vigilante so I can see the upside of the clean up of New York as well.

The English/Swiss guy was charming enough but after awhile the subtle anti-American nature of his attitude began to wear on me a tad. Or maybe it was just that horrible greasy Paella, I've had better food out of a can than that crap.

Last century was clearly the American Century. Politically, economically, culturally and in almost every area you can name our country either dominated or blazed a trail on how the rest of the world thought and behaved. Will that last, who can tell?

But for those of you, my Swiss friend, who chafe under the sometimes oppressive yolk of what you perceive as Yankee Imperialism careful what you wish for. Clearly China is going to play a major part in world politics and if you think Americans are not exactly your cup of tea I have the feeling that the Chinese are going to scare the bejesus out of you. I have been there and from even as a casual glance that I got you can tell that this is a nation that is not screwing around. What ever phrase you have for "I'm already punched out" or "It's not my job" does not exist in Chinese. And individual thought and action is not exactly prized either.

How did I get here from Paella?