Power surges

I hear temperatures are rounding 100 degrees on the East Coast these days. That sounds like the kind of heat where you walk outside and the air slaps you in the face like you just told a rude joke.

It is not 100 degrees in Barcelona, gracias a Dios. But, it does hit 85 (maybe more). The warmer temperatures combined with limited A/C (one library I went to still didn’t have it on last week and my house-HA!-definitely doesn’t have it), you feel really warm. Aside from sausage toes, which is one inevitable effect of the heat, I also feel utter and complete exhaustion at the end of the day. Case in point: yesterday, I came home at or before 7 pm, laid down in bed, got up to brush my teeth, fell asleep at 9, woke up again for an hour or two and then made it through to this morning. Dinner? Nah. I melted.

Saturday, I went on an hour and a half walk up around Horta-Guinardó, which surprised me with both the view and the heat.

photo 3

I think someone had a little face-shaped anxiety that their view was being blocked.

photo 5Post dozens of stairs: This view. (And don’t be fooled by the green-this is the DRIEST little park I’ve seen).

Cold showers help, but they are notoriously uncomfortable. I think the city itself could use a cold shower. Yesterday, we had four power surges in my flat. It might have been the whole block, but at least our building. (Yet another compelling reason to take the stairs!) Thankfully, it clicked back on within a few minutes each time, but I guess the lucky few with A/C have been indulgent enough for the rest of us…

And so, like my building, my own lights flicker off and on as I endure the xafogor

Thankfully, there have been several refreshing things this past weekend, most of them liquid.

1. Ice cold orxata with N.

N. and I had two girls’ nights last weekend. One involved a glass of tinto in the new-er market plaza in the Born (they’ve just restored this finisecular market and plaza, which makes for a great view and even better runway for passing skateboarders, cyclists, and strollees).

photo 1

After, we wandered onto neighboring streets and ended up at a tiny-but-cute tapas joint with a French waitress and cat-women on the wall. Meow.

photo 2

Olivez and Catz

The next night N. and I met at her office, saw the last of the Pride parade, and got an ice cold orxata, chased with an ice-cold juice at my favorite spot for arepas, La Taguara. As we were sitting on this little bench on a side street, a man out of our line of sight on the neighboring wide street kept yelling “guapa” to passing women out of his window at semi-regular intervals. As we were leaving, we decided to look around to see where this shameless voyeur had posted himself and discovered it was coming from some little Catalan association, one floor up from the main street his personal catwalk.

photo 3

L’Ajuntament, city hall, dwarfing the kinda small rainbow flag they chose.

photo 1

Much more exciting and vibrant flags were found on the street!

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N. + our rainbow juices (mine is almost out of the shot).

2. Ice cold everything in Valencia.

On Sunday, I took the bus down to VLC in an experiment in cost savings. Though the first bus left with a half-hour delay, overall the experience was acceptable. (They ALMOST stopped and asked for passports for everybody though. Who needs a passport to take a bus within the country?!? I smoothly moved to the line where the woman wasn’t asking for such I.D., because all I had with me is an old driver’s license.)

Valencia, as usual, feels like a ghost town in comparison to Barcelona. It feels charmingly rickety and the graffiti and empty solares (lots) reminds me now of parts of Berlin. I was totally spoiled when C. and A. picked me up from the bus station, saving me the mile walk into the center. We stopped for a gassy water at a café near the old library near Maldonado and it just so happened that another of the Dutch girls I know was in town, too. So it was a two for one! (Or three, if you count meeting the new bf of C!)

photo 4

photo 5Rambling down another sleepy street, we stopped at a Spanish-fusion sort of restaurant for a menú. C. had been there before and recommended it. TOP NOTCH. My favorite thing was the bowl of chilled tomato-melon soup with a scoop of rosemary (and thus savory) ice cream on top. It was fantastic. (Next time, I’ll owe her lunch!) We stepped into another café up the street so we could arrange for her to “meet” D. and after that, it was already 4:30 and time to meet I., my profe. 

I think our best meetings are in VLC, away from school, lines of other students waiting to talk, and with no time constraints because neither of us is running to class after. Plus, in the background is a BOWL of juice from the most delicious zumería I’ve ever been to.

Talking to her made me feel great. That article I was trudging through in Berlin? She gave it the thumbs up. And, in a non-intimidating way, she asked me to sketch out some other ideas for another article “like you’re writing in a journal” (or this blog), code for: don’t stress out because this is not something formal. We both agreed to put “Arte” on the background and let it rest a bit more before resuscitation.

Anyhoo. Between C. and I. in Valencia, I was treated like a queen, escorted to and from the bus station, and kept very well hydrated.


Row 1 in the bus means you get a picture of the view on the ride home.

In other news, my Catalan classes continue to be bizarre. I corrected the profe’s spelling on two words yesterday. At the same time, I did learn some other vocabulary. Let’s just file this into the “Spain Spanish State is different” category and call it a day.

I thought this was going to be short, but alas. Thanks for hanging in there.


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