Wednesday, April 20, 2011

La Zona Alta

Just like any city, Barcelona is broken down into various regions, or neighborhoods, if you will.  La Zona Alta translates into the High Zone (as in elevation).  Looking at a map of the city, it's kind of on the Upper West Side - geographically speaking.  But demographically speaking, it's definitely Upper East Side - old money, old fashioned, nice & clean with some very high end stores.  

This is where my family has lived for decades, and when my mother moved here 10 years ago, she found a place within walking distance of everyone in the family, and all of the friends of the family.  They literally all live within a five block radius of one another.  

But to me, this area is not too exciting.  That's why I'm always heading south and east - down to the Barri Gothic, or El Born - where my friend Mick lives.  

Yet there is something that I have noticed within La Zona Alta that I found rather curious:  there are so many stores selling baby clothes.  My mum needed to get a gift for her friend who just had a baby - she asked one lady on the street if "Petit Oh!" was on this next block, or the block after.  The lady didn't know of that store - but named a different store on that block.  We found the right store, made the purchase, and moved on noting how there were two stores selling cute-baby-clothes so close to one another.

The next day on my own,  I saw this store:

Gladys goose!
What stole my attention was not just the one, but the two (2nd not pictured) goose-shaped lamps perched atop the display cases in yet another shop selling cute-baby-clothes (CBC from now on).  My friends back home all know about my goose lamp that I left behind.  It was something so absurdly whimsical that I loved... I digress.

This is now the 3rd CBC store in the area, and then I really started noticing a trend.  Just down the street is a chain called le Petit Bateau, another chain called Tartine et Chocolat, and 2 doors down from T&C is another CBC store.  WTF?

You know what I have yet to see in this area?  Any of those fancy-shmancy pet stores you see all over Los Angeles - like Pour la Pooch on Beverly, or Chateau Marmutt on 3rd, or that big one that just opened about a year ago downtown.  

Yes, I know there are dozens of CBC stores in Los Angeles - but I've never seen so many in such a concentrated area.  It really got me thinking - is this the norm?  And why are so many people in Los Angeles adopting dogs rather than starting families?  

As I was discussing this all with Mick earlier today (he lived in L.A. for 10 years until 2 years ago), he pointed out that Los Angeles is a very "ME" oriented city: "oh, look at ME hiking up Runyon Canyon with my dog"... and dogs are (relatively) easy to deal with. 

But starting a family? That requires commitment, and most people in L.A. are commitment-phobes.  Myself included.  

A part of me wants to run away in terror if I see another CBC store here in the Zona Alta because it's making me feel very self-conscious.  However I moved here because I wanted needed a change.    Maybe this is one of the parts of me that needs a change?  

Or maybe it was just a sign that I can find Gladys Goose for sale here in Barcelona...

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