Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gypsy Rage

Sometimes there are misleading messages in movies.


Aliens do not live in South Africa, District 9.


Cyborg-like robot killers do not exist, no Ahhnold they do not.


GYPSIES ARE NOT KIND HANDSOME MEN WHO PLAY NICE MUSIC WITH WHOM YOU WILL DISCOVER MUTUAL ATTRACTION THROUGH CHOCOLATE.  



Actual facts about gypsies:


Borat does not like them.


Cartman does not like them.



A technicality about gypsies:


Under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act of 1960 Gypsies are defined as "persons of nomadic habit of life, whatever their race or origin, but does not include members of an organised group of travelling showmen, or persons engaged in travelling circuses, travelling together as such."


Figure 1: Inaccurate, misleading, FALSE



Figure 2:  More accurate



Even more specific facts about gypsies:


In Barcelona, petty theft is rampant and no one (THE POLICE) quite cares.


In Barcelona, they can cut off your fanny pack with a knife and you won't even notice.


In Barcelona, they pretend to be tourists and ask you for directions, or they are flower sellers who come up and put a flower on you and then they TAKE YOUR POSSESSIONS. 


In Barcelona, they work in teams.  They take your stuff and even if you catch them they've already handed it off and it's GONE.



The most specific fact about gypsies:


Gypsies stole my pride and joy, my baby, my poor defenseless Mr. Camera, on the subway, and I didn't even notice, and they were so tricky they zipped the backpack back up, and they didn't even say sorry.  


For a few days I searched my living quarters in denial.


I moved on to laying in bed sulking because SPAIN IS TERRIBLE AND I WILL NEVER LOVE ANYTHING AGAIN.  


Every camera I have owned I've broken from dropping.  YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND.  I LOOKED FOR THIS CAMERA FOR LIKE 6 MONTHS AND TRACKED DOWN THE MOST LUDACRIS DEAL EVER ON BROOKLYN CRAIGSLIST AND SPENT MONEY I DIDN'T HAVE and it was FREEZEPROOF and it was DROPPROOF and it could GO UNDER WATER for up to 10 METERS and it was FORCEPROOF and I don't even fully understand what that means but I think we can all agree that THAT IS AWESOME.  


And then a gypsy TOOK IT.  And they don't even have a CHARGER.  They can't even USE IT.  AHHHHHHHHH.  


Monday:


KRIS: Sara will you talk today please?


ME:  mmmhhhmmmhgggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..... *whine*


KRIS:  (*this face*)




Tuesday:


KRIS: Sara will you talk today please?


ME:  no.


KRIS:  (*this face*)




Wednesday:


NEW KODAK CAMERA:  Hello, I am on your bed.  Your boyfriend loved you at some point, he vaguely remembers, before you turned into a miserable jaded human being.


Some final statements:


If you are, in fact, a benevolent chocolate-loving gypsy who lives on your river boat and just want to fall in love and have some pet dogs, I have no beef with you, fyi. 


Kris you are nice.





Thursday, September 17, 2009

God Loves Fun

When you buy milk you only chill it after you open it.  I keep opening my cupboard in the kitchen and staring at the large juicebox-like 'thing' of milk and quelling my urge to QUICK STICK IT IN THE FRIDGE.  Just doing my part to adapt culturally.  It makes sense, on a very technical level.  Milk is warm in a cow.  Milk is in a sealed container.  After you break the seal, germies get in, and so then it must be cooled.   Space also makes sense on a technical level, according to some people.  And also having children, to others.  Computers too.  


I will keep my focus on milk.  


(No seriously, just sit down some time and try to process exactly how the frick a computer works.  Or recorded sound.  Whatttt.  Whattttttttttt.  Whaaaaa... t)


Today Kris and I went to Trippydoobie.  Tittyboobie.  Abu Dhabi.  


There is an amusement park on top of a mountain and it is called Tribidabo.  I find it impossible to remember the name.  Also on top of the mountain is a cathedral.  



What??  Why?? 


A religiously fun experience?  God Loves Fun Too?  A way to harvest the prayer-power in all the "oh my gaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd!!!!"s of rollercoaster riders?  


Who made this.  Who.  


Additionally.  ADDITIONALLY.  The only way up to the amusement park is a "tram car" aka lurching old train-thing that climbs a hill so steep making sounds so foreboding that you are certain your intention to journey to fun, popcorn, + spiritual cleansing will only actually be replaced by sudden lurching death.  If you are the type who is drawn to the mountaintop by ferris wheels and other non-acrophobic pleasures, ok, fair.  Maybe this is part of the experience.  




Why would anyone go to church here.  (It costs 4 Euro to get up and back, too)


Why would anyone build a giant catherdral in a purposely inaccessible place.  A place that already host an amusement park.  I'm pretty sure that as a way to compete with Gaudi, this is a fail.  


Once we got up there, all the rides were closed.  


...


Hmmm...


...



Look at this amusement park!  Woooooooo!  Fun, huh?  Look, it is up here on this mountain overlooking the entire city, so you can see it allllllll the time and just wish to go.  And then if you DO succumb to temptation, and venture up the mountain, we will bring you up in terrifying metal boxcar and make you fear your life.  Once you are on the top, TRICK SUCKAAAAAA all the rides are fake.  And you know you are not getting back in that boxcar.  What else can you DO on this mountaintop?   




HELLO LOOMING CATHEDRAL.


A-ha.  Ahhhh haaaaaaaa.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Let Them Eat Pintxos


September 11 is a holiday here.  As a citizen of Estados Unidos, participating in festivities can't really be done without some kind of guilty conscience, but, hell,"When in Rome," right?  (1, 2)


1. Will Ferrell has so tainted that expression for me that I feel more faux pas when I use it correctly than when arbitrarily and nonsensically.  


2. Sometimes life is hard.  


Ahem.  September 11 is a holiday here.  It is Catalonian Independence day.  Woooo Party!!  I am not quite sure from who Catalonia won independence or under what terms or even exactly when... but I ventured into the morning sunshine... well, the noon sunshine... well, I woke up at 10:30 and made it out by 1 and that's a much more impressive effort than I've thus far mustered.  Ahem.  I ventured into the noon-ish sunshine wholeheartedly enthusiastic in my intent to participate in all festivities that did not require in-depth knowledge of Catalan language and culture.  I encountered the following holiday-induced abnormalities:


1.  People dancing in giant circles with hands held like ring-around-the-rosy, except high in the air, dancing the least physically exerting series of steps I have ever seen.  I considered participating, but upon examining the "dance" for a pattern, I could not find ANY in the combination of slow-baby-step-right, slow-baby-step-left, slow-baby-step-forward, begrudging semi-hop, subtle-toe-point moves.  But everyone was doing them at the same time.  So.  What does that tell you?  Secret.  Code.  Dance.   




Along with Centigrade, another local way of making tourists feel stupid and inadequate with minimal physical effort.  


I did not participate in the Catalan dance.  Harumph.


2.   People walking in giant throngs through the streets yelling Catalan... cheers?  phrases?  jokes? in loud flag-caped masses.  I stood and watched and grinned and nodded as if I a) Understood what was being said, b) felt similarly, c) would be participating in such behavior myself had my Catalan flag returned from the dry cleaners in time.  In fact, d) I was completely ignorant as to what was being said and to whether the sentiment was angry, sad, melancholy, happy, or perhaps polite yet aloof.  


Loud groups of people yelling things I do not understand make me nervous.


I did not participate in the potential Catalan riot.


3.  People eating and drinking.  Not that this is out of the norm, but I did imagine that I detected a bit more national pride in everyone's nom nom noming and drunkeness than usual.  


I did participate in the Yay Catalan Independence Food Baby Cultivation Program.


Kris and I found some Glorious Basque Pintxos place.  Pintxos being the Basque equivalent to tapas or finger-food, in this place taking the form of various combinations of Awesome Stuff Piled on Bread.  Think like fig and pistaschio on artichoke heart on bread and speared with a little toothpick.  We also did our loyal Independence-grateful part to help drain the grotesquely huge kegs of Sidra (Spanish cider - alcoholic, flat, acidic and very appley) the stand-while-you-eat bar was curled around.  





Wooooo Independence!  From someone!  At some point!!!  Cataloniaaaa

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Yes Yes Fanta Plz Nom Nom Nom







LOOK WHERE I LIVE!  This is me on my balcony.

We live with a lady from Pennsylvania named Jennifer who is in her early thirties and has a very serious three year old named Louie.  We have been speculating about the father's non-presence.  Is he a business man?  Are they divorced?  Is Louie adopted?  Is he a test-tube baby?  The housekeeper said last night after we plied her with bad wine: daddy was a Brazilian who unexpectedly flew the coop and lives back in Brazil.  So Jennifer and me and Kris and Louie hang out, and also Sonja, a 24 year old girl who is renting a different room and is here on a Fullbright scholarship.  There are Brazilian ladies who hang out here during the day.  One, Gigi, seems to be a sort of housekeeper, who I mentioned before, and one seems to be some cross between friend and Louie-watcher.


Gigi Louie-watcher

It is warm/hot here, but I don't know how warm/hot because they do things in Centigrade, which was essentially invented to make people like me feel stupid, since the conversion from stupid-American-degrees goes something like "Add thirty two, divide by 4.323897239478 and then minus 6".  I go to the beach and there are many top-nudie ladies and no one cares and I'm finally getting a (top nudie) summer tan.



Dublin was cool, but nothing to write home about, I thought.  We were only there for a few hours, and I bet Ireland you kind of need to see in a rural setting/drunken belligerence.  I don't recall it ever being renowned for its urban landscape.  They seem very politically angsty, or maybe that is just the lamp posts and building walls.

I really can't ask much besides "Hi, you call this how?".  I get about two sentences into conversation.  Most people speak English because there are so so many tourists or non-Spanish immigrants, but there is also a Catalan population of about 40%-60% who use Catalan as their dominant language. Sometimes I read buses and it makes me nervous that not one word looks familiar, then I figure out I'm reading Catalan not Spanish.  But I can still pretty much figure out that Barcelona Buses Run On Natural Gas To Keep Your Air Clean!  I am accruing crucial knowledge right and left.

There are big waves and the water is warm and everything is made of stone.  People are pretty lax about time, nudity, and most general laws.  I have cleverly deduced that the swarms of soda-sellers who sell soda for twenty euro are not just selling soda.  Sometimes if you tell them that no, you would not like a soda right now thank you, they ask you slowly if you would like some hash, justtttt in case you are a little too stupid to understand the actual transaction.  I probably have been asked 20 times since I've been here if I need a Fanta.

There's also all these Sudanese guys that carry fake purses and designer goods around on blankets that have strings tied to the corners.  They lay them out and if they see a cop coming they pull the blanket into a little ball by the corner strings and run off looking like a mob of African Santa Clauses.  Then they unfurl down the road and stand there with the strings in hand like covert little fisherman.  So if anyone wants a Dior purse with very slight dissimilarities with the real version, just let me know.


How you call this?  Bueno, bueno.