Sunday, July 22, 2007

First Impressions from Spain (not Mars)

It's midnight here in Barcelona and it's 6:00pm where I came from. I'm a little, uh, confused right now. After the seemingly undending soporific waves, I seem to have fought my way into the Spanish lifestyle okay. I haven't even been here 24 hours, so I won't make grand assertions or rash generalizations; what I will do is make broad observations and baseless assumptions. Wait, those are the same. Anyway, here's some things I've noticed about Barcelona so far.

1. The taxis don't know where you're going unless you point to it and they can read it. I was dropped off at the wrong hotel because I misprounced (Duques de Bergara). How dare I!

2. Las Ramblas is where you can find, at 9:30am on a Sunday, Brits stumbling blindly down the street after a night at the clubs and Spanish hobos pissing on trees in the middle of the walk.

3. People babbling in foreign languages is much easier to ignore than people babbling in your native tongue. The plane was full of Spanish-speakers but I didn't have much trouble getting to sleep.

4. Immersion is the fastest way to learn any language. I came to Spain only 16 hours ago with a broken understanding of it. After only a day, I've managed to have at least four long conversations with people involving an exchange of information leading to an answer entirely in Spanish, the last of which the American-ish couple next to me didn't even realize I was from the U.S. Everyone figured out I was from the U.S. after I told them and so I had to eventually apologize. They're not fond of Americans.

5. The "WALK/DON'T WALK" transition lasts about 2 seconds, leading any elderly person in certain peril if they're not careful. I've seen 4 geriatrics get nailed by Vespas already today.

6. Speaking of, everyone here rides Vespas or bikes. It seems more practical, but this is a far different city than anything in the U.S.

7. Las chicas son buenas.

8. Everybody smokes everywhere; even the metro smells like smoke.

9. Don't stand near the sewers, they smell like a port-o-potty.

10. You owe me $50.

11. Spain is a generally homogenous society. There's a few black/darker-skinned people, but all in all everyone's the same, kinda. It's a whole lot different. It's also a good thing I got something of a tan (while death-camping) before coming here.

12. There are powers of the Force you can't even begin to imagine.

Anyway, enough of this self-referential cultural screed. I'm going to bed. Buenas noches.

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