Saturday, July 02, 2011

Barcelona: Is it Just Me or What?

We've fetched up home again after two weeks on the road including two cancelled flights, one hairsbreadth sprint through customs, and one undocumented night in an airport hotel.  Is that the luck of the draw, or the new face of air travel, or just American Airlines?

In Barcelona, we ran into more hassles than you might expect from what is in so many ways one of the pleasantest cities on earth--terrible internet connections (sorry about those dead links) and two (count 'em) neighborhood blackouts.  Also a three-hour search for the landlord to get access to our prepaid apartment,  mostly spent standing on streetcorners wondering what the devil to do next.  I still love Barca but I did find myself remembering George Orwell in my copy of Homage to Catalonia that an old girlfriend (now long dead) gave me on my 19th birthday:

In Spain nothing, from a meal to a battle, ever happens at the appointed time. As a general rule things happen too late, but just occasionally—just so that you shan’t even be able to depend on their happening late—they happen too early. A train which is due to leave at eight will normally leave at any time between nine and ten, but perhaps once a week, thanks to some private whim of the engine-driver, it leaves at half-past seven. Such things can be a little trying. In theory I rather admire the Spaniards for not sharing our Northern time-neurosis; but unfortunately I share it myself. 
 Maybe it's unfair today; maybe it always was unfair.  Still it sticks in my mind from a barely retrievable past; a time when I scarcely knew what or where Catalonia was.

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