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


  1. i hate you. jk you're wonderful. but, i'm jealous. that looks magnificent. where are the little octupi?

    - karl


    jk jk im vegetarian yo