Saturday, September 09, 2006


La Pedrera on its side...just turn it around in your mind

By the Beach in Callela de Mar

2 Old Men reading newspapers that I passed on a lazy sunday afternoon

You know when you go on holiday to a foreign land far away over the ocean, and it’s really exciting to taste the different flavours, to breathe air with spices and appreciate views of scenes that you only dream of. All of this comes part and parcel with experiencing things in a different language. When notation is curly and in a different script and people are babbling away in gibberish you also want to break the secret code and take delight in working out simple terms, and put on a foreign accent…

This is all well and good, however since I have been living in Israel now for over a year, and have to deal with this foreign language thing every day and also have to deal with Russian, Arabic and French, when I got off the plane in Espanya I was not excited to see everything in Spanish, in fact I was stressed. ¿Why? Because deciphering and having the feeling of not knowing 100% of what’s going on was what I was meant to be taking a break from. Not only that but it wasn’t only Spanish that I had to deal with but Catalan as well which is a funny unpronounceable mixture of French and Spanish – So I would break out into French or Hebrew in between Gracias and Amigos Para Siempre – What little Spanish I learned from watching ‘Strictly Ballroom’ repeatedly, and singing La Bamba in a Grade 4 school concert (which could be Portuguese for all I know).

¿Am I arrogant for wanting all signage to be in English as well? Considering there are more countries in the world where Spanish is the official national language over English – Probably. I think that the community of the blind tourists had a harder time than me, I noticed that there were a few signs that had Braille underneath them, but I had no idea, how blind people knew how to find these in the first place. Bearing that In mind I figured I could brave this language barrier so I plucked up my courage as I remembered Fran sayingVivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias! (A life lived in fear is a life half lived) and ventured out onto the streets of Barcelona!

In Short: La Ramblas, Port Veil, lotsa shopping on Passeig De Gracia, La Pedrera, La Sagrada Familia (an absolutely ridiculous construction), the beach, the bars in El Born, Musee Picasso, Montjuic and the magic fountain (Susie has an incriminating video of me pretending to be a ballerina there, luckily it was pretty dark when she took it ) oh and I treated myself to the Ballet at Teatre Liceu…did I mention Shopping in the back streets of El Raval, Jazz in the Park, Park Guell, Park Citudella, Place de Reial etc…you know you hate following the tourists everywhere but you do it anyway…One day we went off the beaten track after shopping all morning, we went to a Spa where they had this Turkish bath infused with Eucalyptus…With my eyes closed I relaxed and breathed in gum trees. I had just finished reading The Service of Clouds and had images of the Blue Mountains at the edge of my mind and this room swashed them a bit more as my whole body sweated sweet eucalyptus. Something that I really didn’t expect to feel in the middle of Barcelona.

A funny vignette: We bumped randomly into one of my friends, husband’s, cousins who I had never met before, even though we were both at their wedding, he was staying in my Pensione. He is a pilot. After he mentioned that, Susie and I went to town. We tried very, very hard to get him to say his Captain’s speech, you know “Welcome aboard Qantas flight Boeing 747 to Sydney this is your Captain speaking”, but even after we got him drunk he wouldn’t budge – he did however admit to always calling up during a flight to get sports scores….A true blue Aussie he is….

I can’t end without a funny Susie story…..
Susie: You know what’s great about Europe?
Me: What?
Susie: No one is wearing Crocs and there’s no pregnant women! It’s really weird!

A few seconds later as we arise from the Metro the first person we see is wearing Crocs and the second is pregnant.


Blogger Me said...

I can't believe you refer to me as a 'friend' rather than giving me a mention by name on your blog! Soooo tight with the mentions Gila - that's the last time I airmail you Alannah Hill!

Did 'the pilot' tell you about the time we 'found' him at The Sheaf?

9:27 PM  
Blogger Wisey said...

"Amigos Para Siempre" that's all you got as word currency??!
Shocking Gila, shocking.

A little bit of muchacho, areeba and aye caramba would have gotten you real far!

10:30 PM  
Blogger gils said...

Oh Darling Debbie Dinnen! I am not afraid of mentioning you on my blog, just thought you would appreciate the privacy! Yeah he told me the sheaf story, pretty funny stuff...he's really embarrassed about it...rightfully so...
Aunty Wiseman!I got far enough with amigos...don't you worry!

8:07 AM  

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