There are times I feel as though I’m in a Third World country but I remind myself it’s Spain.
Barcelona is the rebellious cousin of Paris that somehow spawned in its image across the sea what one takes away as original from New Orleans and Havana.
The people are beautiful in every hue humanly imaginable. Beautiful, even if they don’t smile. Nowhere on earth have I caught so many eyes, at length, undoubtedly processing nano thoughts, yet expressionless.
At least a New Yorker ducks his face to the pavement. A Bostonian doesn’t have the time for you and an Atlantan wishes you a good morning.
Upon my return to Barcelona I am overwhelmed by the hordes of young, idle men, loud, drunken hipsters without a cause. Yet I join 80, maybe 90,000 of the faithful in a football stadium and nary a beer in hand do I see. In fact, a football crowd oddly devoid of typical atmosphere.
I wonder often what Hemingway would think?
By day a somber lot, even at the Match. By night they excessively smoke and drink like him but their fire seems to have lost any spark.
Marijuana is legal here now. It’s possibly more prevalent to the nose than even in Amsterdam.
Its in your face, as the attractive young lady with roach lodged in lips asks if you have a light? The anecdotes are many. A flurry of bad examples but one stands out; we stood near an overly crowded Tube entrance unable to enter. The exiting football stadium mob filled the entrance to the station at Collblanc.
There were two fathers, a son each leaning against the wall, waiting out the crowd as well. They stealthily shared drags of strong smelling weed, as they’re two beautiful sons, perhaps four or five years old stood obliviously between them.
How oblivious will they remain as their young lives move forward in a turbulent time for Spanish youth? Will they join the Barri full of young hipsters seeking individualism, less employment since there seems little.
Will they be the next generation of children sitting all about the dirt and container debris, oblivious to the smell of trash and urine that they lay down with in the streets?
The municipal management of Barcelona is nothing short of phenomenal. Armies of svelte, handsome workers in green day glow jumpers sweep and power wash these streets 24/7.
The juxtaposition of the smell in the night to the washed sanitized situation of the day is mind boggling, much like the amount of recyclable debris left behind by the slovenly, carefree hipsters who have no use for the numerous, finely sorted recycle stations throughout these streets.
It’s all really contradiction on so many levels here.
However allow me to excuse myself, which has obviously not been a trait taught these people. Nonetheless I will assume the demeanor of my hosts. I’ll sit, smoke, and stare while I sip my cafè con leche, perhaps discuss a suicidal independence, do nothing about nothing but enjoy the Sea breeze in the shade from a hot sun.