Thursday, November 19, 2009


"Ah, coke and whiskey," said Christoph as we sat down at the bar. "this is what preserves my faith in America, and humanity. There is nothing, absolutely nothing natural about this drink, neither the Coca Cola nor the whiskey. Yet it works so perfectly together. America invented it."

Christoph comes from the country that contributed the Jager portion of the Jagerbomb, also another concoction which has absolutely nothing natural about it. He's been living in Spain for about four years now though, and took it upon himself to kindly show us around his adopted town as the perfect tour guide.

at first i thought he was suspiciously taking us down an awful lot of narrow back alleys, until i realized that a large chunk of Barcelona's Gothic quarter is full of narrow back alleys. Both Christoph and our hotel dude assured us that Barcelona is perfectly safe, minus the odd pickpocket. i was relieved to hear that, until i watched a guy get stabbed with a guy holding a broken beer bottle in one hand and a belt buckle in the other. we decided to give him some space.

my Barcelona weekend was a pretty exciting adventure though, featuring:
  • a flamenco show, featuring an amazing flamenco guitarist that reminded me of Inigo Montoya, a singer that literally brought tears to my eyes, and this very very intense male flamenco dancer that scared the audience with his, well, intensity. the bar was totally packed with an entire cross-section of the local population, from the young hipsters literally hanging from the rafters, to the old Spanish ladies squinting to catch a glimpse over my shoulders. this is where i came to the sudden conclusion that flamenco actually does equal sex, and that there is nothing wrong with men who grow their fingernails long.
  • Tapas. one of the best concepts in the world. the only way it could be better was if it was free, which is apparently is in other parts of spain. my favourite part of tapas is the beer you drink with it. We also tried Basque tapas which was gluttonously delicious.
  • La Sagrada Familia. I have seen a lot of amazing things in my life (and i know that Leila thinks i overuse the word "amazing"), but this Gaudi-designed building is possibly the most amazing building I have seen in my entire life. it's huge. i'm also in love with the idea of it, this building that is taking almost a hundred and fifty years to build. because it's still not complete, you watch the building in progress. it is literally a story being told. the story of Jesus, in one respect, but also the story of, well, a building being made. because it's taken so long, it's got a really interesting blend of styles, from gothic to more modernistic styles, depending on what angle of the building you look at. i just can't describe it. here are some pictures.

  • Gaudi's Park was also pretty mind-blowing as well. it took us forever to climb the hill to get there, up the stairs of Gloria (i'm not kidding, that's what they're called). By the time we reached the very top, the sun had just set so we were treated to a beautiful view of the Barcelona cityline at dusk. it was very romantic for me and rob...and Christoph. exploring the rest of the park was no less exciting in the dark. one day i am going to come back to this park during the day time and i will shoot a music video here. the surreal structures will be so overpowering and beautiful that no one will notice my crappy music that is set to the scenery.
  • Strolling down La Rambla, where, to my satisfaction, i did NOT get my wallet stolen and also found tacky souvenir of the Shitting Shepherd. I loved the palm trees that lined this walk. Palm trees are essentially my Prozac.
  • We snuck into the backstage of a noisy outdoor Latin jazz concert. There's a heck of a lot going on in the Barcelona nightlife.
  • paella. much more satisfying for me when there aren't creepy prawns staring at me as i work around the rice.
  • We checked out the Market which Christoph warned me was not for the faint of heart. Spaniards, for whatever reason, don't like to cut the heads off their meat, whether it be chicken, duck, pig, or bunny. luckily i was practically raised in Chinatown so it did not bother me. What bothered me was one of the vendors throwing ice at us, accusing us of stealing her sole (yes i said sole, not soul). i wanted to explain to her politely in Spanish that i had no interest in her sole, but the only Spanish words i knew for that context were swear words.
Our crowning glory, however, was the last night, where we went to a bar where there were taps at each table and a giant TV screen showing how many litres each table is drinking, sort of to foster a friendly competitive spirit between tables. we were in the lead until twenty-five Dutch teenagers walked in. there was a moment of tension. i'm proud to say that even though there were only four of us, we still won.

(and the night was only beginning...)