Friday, December 14, 2007

Off to BCN

For the next three weeks I’ll be posting, when I do, from my holiday destination of Barcelona. I’ll be there through the start of the year, enjoying the city and suffering through the annual Catalan Christmas showing of “Els Pastorets.” Gurldogg’s wife Pepita was born and raised in BCN, and her parents own a small home not far from the city center. This will be my 6th or 7th time traveling there over the last few years.

I have a strange relationship with Barna. Being a native of a small grey industrial town in the American northeast, I can’t help but be amazed by the color, creativity and cosmopolitanism of this old and beautiful city every time I visit. But as my wife’s husband, I am also very aware of the bitterness and poverty that have resulted from Barcelona’s somewhat recent “discovery” by international developers and tourists. Almost without exception our old friends from Barcelona have been forced by dim job prospects and ghastly rent increases to leave the city for much smaller surrounding towns, to flee Catalunya for poorer provinces, or, like Pepita, to leave Spain altogether. Even my charming in-laws, among the smartest and kindest old Catalans you’re likely to meet, have developed a seething anger about the sudden changes to their way of life. Everything is far more expensive than it used to be, far more crowded, and far less accessible. Family restaurants which had been around for generations have closed their doors to make way for boutiques and costly knick-knack shops. Old friends have seen their homes sold to German developers and have moved far from their old walking routes. And of course, the kids and grandkids have moved out to make room for the “giris,” or foreigners.

It’s far from all bad of course, and I never fail to have a blast when I’m there. True to legend, the Barcelones know how to throw a New Year’s party. Time and substances permitting, I’ll be blogging when I can.

1 comment:

The Corey said...

I hope you got on all right this morning that line looked ridiculous. I haven't had to check bags in so long I forgot how much of a bummer this part of the process is, not to mention you still have to fly with delays and cancellations. Good luck.