Archive for March, 2009

h1

Barcelona night life

March 27, 2009

Ok. So far, not a whole lot to report. I have already managed to lose something, which should surprise no one. Fortunately it was not my camera, passport, money, sunglasses, thyroid medication, external harddrive, mini laptop, ipod, phone, shoes, patience or sanity. Though, that last one could be argued.

No, I lost my book. It was the book that I planned to read throughout my sojourn. No, in case you’re jimmy reading this, it is not a malazan book. I didn’t bring those. They’re big and space consuming and if I only brought one and finished it, I’d need the next and seriously..too much maintainance. No the book I had is one I’ve always wanted to read and the other day walked into the my sister’s closet on the drive and there it was.  Le Deuxieme Sexe by Simone de Beauvoir. I wasn’t even through the introduction and I left it on the first plane. I know what you’re thinking, yes it’s an easily replacable book. Get on with it.

Okaaaaaaaaayuh.

All that sightseeing I planned to do in Barcelona? Sagrada famila et al? Will have to wait until the next time I’m through. Cuz I slept through the afternoon and well into the evening. Mind you, it’s not like it was wierd when I went out for dinner at 10 pm(after spending an hour ransacking the room looking for my key which was under the television for some reason).  And from there wandered the streets alone, never being afraid for my safety, camera, wallet or virtue. (damn! I mean, oh happy day.)  If this one sojourn into late night barcelona was any indication, the men here are waaaay less sexually aggressive than in france. It could be argued that the warm temperatures make them lazy. Or the heat in their blood gives them the arrogance that it’s only a matter of time before you come to them, they don’t need to push. Either way, I walked all over the place completely alone, and was never harrassed once. Whistled at, called to, smiled at, certainly. But left alone.  And I wandered down some reeeally deserted streets.

Had dinner at a sushi place around the corner from the hotel. Very hip, atmospheric, good music, womderful people, patient as hell with my non existent spanish. (I keep accidentally using Italian, it hasn’t caused any international incidents…yet.) Great sushi, tuna with avocado and mango roll? Wassabi that comes in a perfectly formed cube? The manager making me wait because he had to run to a store and get change so insisted that I have a shot of whatever I wanted on the house?

After walking about, marveling at how picturesque everything is, how old everything must be and how lived in the city feels, I got thirsty.  Barcelona is  like a place you’ve lived in for so long, you can’t really remember what it looked like before you moved in. And it’s a place you love. (editor’s note. I’ve only been here a matter of hours. My opinion might, can and likely will change with continued exposure) I found myself on Carrer de Comtessa de Sobradiel outside a place called Harlem Jazz Club. OkAY! 7,50 to get in, a blues band playing standards to make any intimidated, nervous and slightly homesick girl (it’s just culture shock, it will pass. I don’t ACtually miss anyone yet. Tho there are a few I wish were here) feel as comfortable and delighted as can be. I danced with numerous people who spoke to me in crazy mixtures of  spanish, french and english. And while yes they hit on me like mad (you dance for me? I buy you drink? Where you go after now? I know a disco…we can go sal-saaaaaa) when I waggled my fingers goodnight (buenas noches) at 2 am there was no insistence that I stay or go somewhere else. They just waggled back.

Spain is very strange for me. I expect it to be like france, because they’re close and I’m accustomed to the strangeness that is french culture. But it’s not. It’s much different, how exactly I can’t say yet (aside from the obvious language, food, haircuts, eyebrows, fashion style, etc. ) I’ll have to do more exploring. It’s all very scientific you see. I’m on an anthropological expedition. It’s a macro and micro at the same time, that is to say, it is an experiment on how trish interacts with humanity on it’s own turf, coupled with how humanity acts on it’s own turf. I feel up to the challenge and appreciate your confidence.

I took lots of nighttime pictures, but I think I will have to wait to upload them. The interweb here (L’internetto for the linguists..just kidding, I have no idea how to ask for tea in spanish yet, much less interwebidity) is slowish and stalls every time I try to post pixtras.

I have a wakeup call in 2 1/2 hours, so I shall sleep because manana, it’s off to Malaga! And a week long detox retreat thing that I am very excited about. I don’t think there is internet access there except in emergency, so it might be a time before the next one. But until then I will take copious pictures, post them when I can and have adventures worthy of writing about in excess. How selfless of me.

Advertisements
h1

March 27, 2009

!estoy finalmente en barcelona!!!

We landed at 1pm after a 2 hour delay while they changed a flat tire. The american girl next to me complained to her friend, but I thought they made good time considering the size of the tires they’re workin with. I wandered out into the sunshine and balmy temperature, beautifully unoppressive. I wandered over to the taxi stand and got a driver who speaks no english whatsoever. And the only spanish I could remember was I like your eyes, followed by a not so subtle wink. Never got a chance to use it tho, he never took off his sunglasses. I reeeeeally wanted to talk to him, but was much too wrapped up in the scenery around me. And oh! it’s dreamy. All 6 story buildings with wrought iron railed balconies and wide avenues filled with cars in lanes that don’t seem big enough for that guy to go flying past us at that speed. Intersections I couldn’t even begin to make sense of. Women with big sunglasses, tight black pants and hair streaming out from under their motorcycle helmets weaving through it all like spanish valkyries or something.

And me with a dead camera battery. meh. (note to self..always get 2 batteries) But it’s okay, the battery is charging,  I will venture forth and gather pictures. Sightsee. Eat. Drink. Bask. Basque? Perhaps after a nap.

(crikey! a bell just chimed somewhere outside!)

And so here i am lying on a bed in el hotel Hesperia Metropol which is in the centre of barrio gotic (old town..superold town) and about a block or two from the beach. Which of course is where the mediterranean sea lives.

(eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!)

I’m surrounded by old old old stone buildings and archways and ambiance and yes I could have saved myself the cab fare and found a hotel close to the airport as I fly out to Malaga early tomorrow. But c’mon! One night in Barcelona and I’m going to stay at the spanish equivalent of the airport delta? Right. The room I’m in is small and the window overlooks walls of a courtyard that is tiny and uninteresting. When I first got in here I thought about going and asking for a room with a view, but I think it’s better this way. While it would be fun to sit and look out over the city, this will inspire me to actually go out into the city. How much snazz does one really expect for less than 100 euros in the centre of town?

ahora debo ir practicar mi espanol…mas a venir!

h1

A beginning

March 24, 2009

A flight 10 am thursday, march 26.

Landing in Barcelona, a highly anticipated beginning to a long awaited journey. I have wanted to travel alone through the world since I was very small. When my friends were playing house, doing counting games that would match up boys names to dwelling types and number of kids born, I was plotting and scheming to backpack across Africa. When they were poring over magazines to see what clothes flatter the figures they would grow into, the makeup that would enhance features most ably, I was imagining walking barefoot and eating mangoes from trees. Never wanted marriage, never wanted children, except in passing once in a while, it was always the dream of movement that made me reel with joy.

The list of names, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Byzantium, Skantzoura, Sumer, Samarkand, Katmandu, Belize, Oaxaca that would roll off my tongue as I dreamed away recess, lunch and nearly every class inbetween.

Anytime I thought of the career I would have it involved travel. I would be a marine biologist and dive the world’s oceans, swimming with dolphins and manta rays. I would be a famous dancer like Josephine Baker (I even briefly changed my name to Josephine in grade 4, my teacher was very understanding) and travel the world dancing in the best clubs. Or sing like Nina, Billie, Shirley, Ella and tour extensively the jazz clubs and speakeasy circuit. By the time I hit puberty my ideals evolved so that I most wanted to emulate Patti, Chrissie, Debbie, Siouxsie, Poly, et al. still singing, still travelling, waaaay different clubscene.

I could become a lighting tech for cirque du soleil’s travelling shows. Read books for audible from a studio (beach) somewhere. Rehabilitate tropical birds displaced by rainforests torn asunder. Plan strategies for anarchist revolutions in banana republics.  Teach guatemalan children to hulahoop. Teach penguins to tango. All truly selfless acts that enable momentum. Or at least lunch somewhere I’ve never been before.

Or I would hitchhike and write, a la kerouac. Rushing headlong into adventure with the horizon at my back. But sometimes the adventuring gets in the way of the chronicling. Kerouac always insisted it was Neal Cassidy who was the Dean Moriarty, the one who existed to move, to flow, to go with it, whatever it was and wherever it went. Sal Paradise followed and kept track of it all.
Then there was Miss Tallulah’s take on it, ‘Only good girls keep diaries, bad girls don’t have time.’

I shall attempt to strike a blance, as I like to do with all things. Everything has a pivot point, a happy medium.

Move as a Cassidy, write as a Kerouac.

Live as vivaciously as Tallulah (perhaps less random nudity, perhaps not).

Adventure as fearlessly as Margaret Fountaine.

And so my trip to Europe and by extension the world begins with hope and delight.

I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

h1

Have fun, will travel…

March 23, 2009

3 more sleeps until I set off on an international adventure.

I’ve worked and saved money.

I’ve aquired the things necessary for travel. (Insurance, tickets, backpack, good shoes et al)

I’ve read every blog that exists about women travelling alone.

I’ve pored over atlases(atlasi?) and world maps and flickr pages and what to pack lists and travelsite forums like  a fiend.

I have a notebook that is quickly filling with addresses of friends and family who desire postcards.

I have a notebook waiting to be filled with tidbits of travel, anecdotes of adventure, instances of insanity, details of detours and as much folderol and bafflegab as one can cram into a page at a time.

I have an extensive list of countries I want to see.

I have time.

I have created a budget that will allow for a very satisfactory and thorough trip.

I have no doubt that reality will manifest itself quite differently.

As far as it goes, the updates here will likely be verbose, if not frequent. The pictures will be linked through flickr. The postcards will be sent when it’s possible. If anyone wants a postcard from somewhere in particular (if it happens to coincide with someplace I am or will be, so much the better)  send me your address and I will reciprocate.

The list of countries to be visited, and it grows every time I look at an atlas, is in more or less the order I’ve written it.

Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Iceland (ICELAND!!!! whooo!), England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain again, Italy, Greece, Istanbul, Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Croatia….ok, yeah, I’m pretty much writing down the name of every single country I can remember now.

Like I said, it remains to be seen how the manifestation of my desire to travel everywhere coupled with the reality of my budget will look when their love child makes an appearance.

Either way, it’s still a love child and it will be awesome.

Enough awesome to fill a blog with, surely.

h1

Rights of spring

March 20, 2009

It was the kind of rain that doesn’t need words to have an identity. It was a rain as intensely saturating a city rain can be without oppressing. A rain too intense can depress the energy level to a stay inside frequency.  But a rain that’s just right. A cleansing, refreshing downpour of newness and growth. Functionality waiting behind a curtain of street light infused constancy. As reassuring as a city rain can be,  it doesn’t leave any guesswork with regard to encompassing all. It soaks as it soothes. It drips as it drenches. It eases in, clouds move quickly and quietly, taking advantage of the varying shades of grey in order to camoflage their approach. It is a westcoast rain I’ve grown up to love, the first sounds it makes on a bright yellow sleeve. The hood around my ears crackling with the echo of raindrops. Boots testing the edge of puddles, then leaping and coming as close to the middle to have  the best splash.

It’s the kind of rain that doesn’t apologize for itself. It’s a truly beneficial rain, necessary without being self-important. It would suggest that you not walk too far with holes in your shoes, but a little bit of irresponsibility in the name of welcoming spring and all her aspects can be good for the soul. It’s not all tulips and sunshine, after all. Sometimes it’s little black rainclouds and water lilies and tadpoles who become frogs and ducks who can let anything slide off their backs.  Which is never a bad way to be.

There’s something beautiful about walking home in a rain like that.

Dry feet are important, but good puddles must be paid their due now and again…

And Happy Birthday Kayo, I had a lovely time at your party.

h1

Forward Movement

March 19, 2009

No more ranting. The intention is to convey an experience. Beliefs change, evolve. What’s true right this second may have no bearing whatsoever on what actually happens sometime in the future.  Not that I think there are babies in my future, quite the opposite. But that’s no reason to dredge up judgements regarding the mating patterns of humans to fill space with the written word. To each their own.

h1

Babies and cake

March 9, 2009

When I was younger, I always marveled at how my mother could so easily give up the bigger piece, or in some instances, that last piece of cake to her children. To me that was the epitome of what defines a mother. That extreme act of selflessness, of sacrifice, to ensure that her child never wants for cake.  I think this was likely my first inkling that children might not be at the top of the list when considering how my future might play out. And not because I want all the cake. I just don’t like the idea of feeling obligated to share.

And perhaps it would be different if I did have a baby. Perhaps my love for this larval progeny I’ve created would overwhelm any feelings I have of eing unfairly manipulated into giving over my dessert. But it stands to reason that the mere fact I tend to refer to babies as progeny, larvae, brood, etc would suggest that my maternal tendencies are somewhat lacking. And truly, I have no concious desire to procreate. Friends tease, they tell me that I’m 32, my biological clock blah blah blah. As though I’ll suddenly be overwhelmed by the need to have some parasitic entity squirming around inside of me for 9 months until it pops out and pretty much ends any chance I have of seducing a 27 year old flamenco dancer on my 42nd birthday while vacationing in the south of spain.

Of course, I am not immune to the genetically imprinted biological yearnings the species has to propagate.  Like all women of childbearing years, I ovulate, so for approximately 12 hours every month I have an incredibly strong urge to copulate with the best the species has to offer. Fortunately, I’m not unaware of it, or a slave to this idea that women must have babies. That’s what we do. Because we can.

I call bullshit.

Don’t misunderstand. The very fact that something which starts off as a single cell, and grows to be an incredibly efficient computing machine (even if it only fulfills a small portion of it’s hard and software potential) is amazing to me. Couple that with the fact that every single one of these entities is unique. The set of cells that compose me will disappate once I die and they will never recombine to form anything quite like me, ever again. It’s quite fantastic.  It was fantastic all 6, 752, 099, 100 times it’s happened to get us to the population we’re at right now.  It’s likely much more than that even since I’ve typed this sentence. Whether it’s bang on accurate or not is beside the point, reasonable estimate will sometimes do in a pinch.  I get my information from worldometers, of course. It’s good to have perspective and interesting to see the categories they’ve added as a result of what’s become culturally embedded as an everyday occurrence. For instance, blogs written, google searches and money spent on obesity related issues in the u.s weren’t there a year ago.

What does all of this have to do with a decision on my part to not have children? Why would I? There are millions already who have no one. And still, every minute there are more being born.  Single moms of octuplets aside, what about 14 year old girls dropping out of high school to have a baby because the school advocated abstinence, rather than sex education that actually applies to kids in a practical fashion with all their raging hormones, need to experiment and insistence that pregnancy won’t happen to them.  If I’m susceptible to forgetfulness in the heat of passion at age 30, how likely is it that a 14 year old girl will be responsible if she’s never been told it’s an option.  And giving it up for the first one who’s remotely nice to her. Yes, I was once a 14 year old girl, desperate to fit in, to be liked, to be thought pretty. It never occurred to me to want to be respected, to be admired for something beyond the flesh. Fortunately for me, it didn’t take long to realize that mating rituals between men and women as dictated by society’s standards are a farce, and I escaped relatively unscathed.

A farce? But that’s a crazy huge number of years evolving and refining techniques in order to best find a suitable mate! How can I call it a farce?

Take peacocks. Female peacocks are grey or brown. Not especially impressive. Male peacocks are blue and green and gold and flashy with tails and fluffy head things and loud cries and dance moves like wow! They are desperate to impress upon a girly that they be the best chance of the species going in a healthy and sane direction. She doesn’t need to dress to impresss, her genes are being carried on no matter what. There’s never any need for a maternity test.

And the human mating rituals? Women spend countless hours on getting all gussied and prettied and shaven and painted and fitted and tucked and enhanced and for what? To go out and all too often ingest copious amounts of alcohol and hope the person she wakes up next to isn’t completely repulsive. Because it’s better to be with someone you don’t find completely repulsive than to be alone. Although, to be fair, these days there’s certainly an increasing trend towards men spending a good portion of their time prettifying themselves to some extent. It seems just as silly and wasteful when they do it.

Cynical with regards to human tendency towards excessive and unnecessary procreation? Yes. By all means yes.

This selfish idea we have of needing to see what a mini version of us and someone else would be like so that we can selflessly give it the last piece of cake? There doesn’t seem to be any balance there. Especially when there are an insane proportion of children who don’t have water, food and safety from being blown up by mines in their backyard, much less cake.  If I had any maternal tendencies whatsoever, I would certainly do my best to emulate Josephine Baker and her decision to adopt 12 kids from  different countries. Her ‘rainbow tribe.’

All that said, would I consider myself cynical towards companionship and love? Not even a little bit. I understand the need for social animals to act socially. It’s the socially irresponsible behavior that makes me rant so. It seems so reasonable to me to take care, to ensure that the decisions I make have as sane an impact on those around me as possible. And strangely enough, when I express to people  ‘no, I’m not feeling pressured to meet someone and settle down because I don’t want to get married and I don’t want children’  it’s me who is considered odd.

Whatever. It takes all kinds. That’s likely why there are so many different flavors of cake.

%d bloggers like this: