American Amigos

Last week we had a lovely time visiting with friends from home, showing them all the colorful sides of Barcelona while our European friends had a wonderful time listening to the great Minnesota accents. Especially our friend Swiss Jonas (Or as Jen would say Yawn-us).
P.S. Happy birthday Jonas.


He's Baaaaaack!

On an afternoon run the other day, Eric ran into Barcelona's most infamous resident. (At least in my eyes.) That's right, the Bare Barcelonian has not fled the city with the current pick-up in tourist activity.

Instead, he was making the rounds to local tourist attractions, sporting only a pair of sneakers and a practical visor, chatting up the crowds and posing for a slew of cell phone cameras. Eric reported that he was as comfortable as ever, gracious and polite to the group of tourists surrounding him.

It's like "Where's Waldo" but instead of desparately looking for the iconic man, you're running from him.

The only question is, if I run into him with a camera, do I shoot?


Happy Mother's Day Mom

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."
- Mark Twain


American Tape

While running errands the other day, Eric and I passed a Ferreteria, a Spanish sort of hardware store marked by a large black and yellow sign, and remembering that we needed to replace a light bulb in our apartment, stepped inside.

Once we communicated our need for said light bulb to the extremely helpful clerk, he proceeded to discuss the benefits and virtues of choosing an energy efficient light bulb, which as it turns out is much better for the environment and lasts on average 8 years, though more expensive. We explained that as renters for only a couple of more months, we would decline the obviously superior bulb and instead go for the cheapest and crappiest bulb they had to offer.

Light bulb procured, we looked around the Ferreteria for anything else we might need, and remembered that we were in the market for some duct tape. One of our suitcases is falling apart and what better way to whip it into shape than to use the greatest invention ever to grace the planet Earth. So, naturally, we asked the clerk for tape to which the responded by leading us to the glue isle.

"No," I said. "We need tape. The really strong kind. You know, duct tape."

"For sticking something together?" he asked.

"Exactly," I responded.

"Then may I suggest this fine glue," he continued, and began a dissertation on the different uses and types of glue as well as the efficaciousness of each type the store carried.

"No, we really would just like some duct tape," I repeated.

"What for?" he asked. "What do you need it to fix?"

Eric and I turned to each other and almost simultaneously responded, "Everything."

The poor clerk couldn't understand what kind of tape we could be talking about that would fix everything, and when we explained our intentions I'm sure he pictured a large piece of luggage flimsily held together by standard scotch tape. Finally, I picked up a cloth belt wrapped in circle that was lying next to the glue and held it up to the clerk and simply said, "It's like this."

You could see the energy efficient light bulb go off in his head and he smiled knowingly. "Cinta Americana," he said. American Tape. He then led us around the corner to where the light bulbs were kept and pointed to a row containing many different sizes and colors of glorious duct tape.

Cinta Americana. American Tape. Mission accomplished.


May Day

We were at the grocery store the other day, the one two blocks from our apartment that we frequent several times a week and at which the clerks know us as "the Americans," when the teller at the checkout began asking us about May Day.

"Do you celebrate the first of May?" he asked, in Spanish of course.

"Um, not really," replied Eric.

"You don't have a day to celebrate the worker?" asked the clerk incredulously.

"Of course," replied Eric. "It's during the first week of September."

"But why not May Day?" he asked, as the line of people behind us continued to grow steadily.

Eric began trying to explain to the clerk how for a long time in the United States May Day was seen as a communist holiday, therefore prompting the government to distance itself from it, but it began to seem very complicated. Finally the clerk just waved a friendly "Hasta Luego" to us and we gathered our groceries to head out to the street.

Happy May Day everyone.