Sunday, October 23, 2011

...and the radiator is "on" for the season

It had to happen.  Eventually.  And it did. 

The unseasonably warm weather has finally given way... and Autumn has befallen.  Not gradually, either. 

It was just 10 days ago when I was leaving my friend Mick's place down in El Born - and heading to the subway when I glanced at the giant neon thermometer near Plaza Catalunya and saw that it was 24 degress - at 23:45, no less! (Translation:  upper 70s at 11:45pm.)
Halfway to/from Vegas? not quite.  I always feel like craps when i pass this.
I knew it was gonna end soon - the lovely weather.  That's why I opted to continue walking from Plaza Catalunya up Paseo de Gracia and over onto the Diagonal to my home.  Well, reality is that I missed the last train, and figured that I should walk-off all that wine (or was that the night of the Cynar?). 

It always amazes me how many people are out and about walking the streets so late at night - sitting at cafes or tapas bars or just walking about.  All demographics, too!  From old people to teenagers and everything in between, tourists and locals alike. 

Barcelona truly is a beautiful city, with amazing architecture and grand boulevards, and a fabulous public transportation system, and vibrant cafes on just about every corner.  If you get tired, you can just sit right down at a bar or terazza, and get a cheap cana (beer), or a copa (wine), or an espresso or something for about 2 Euros... and they just let you sit there for as long as you wish. 

Turo Cafe - evening special - 1/2 cana & patatas bravas for 2 euros.
That week, I clocked in with about 12 hours of walking and I probably covered over 20 km (it sounds so much more impressive in kilometers, so i'm sticking with it). 

Today, however, it was cold.  I was listening to the weather forecast and it was talking about how it would be chilly with a chance of showers later.  I was thinking how they got it right because it had jsut started to rain until i realized i was listening to KCRW - and that was the weather report for Los Angeles. 

And then I saw this:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Heavy Metal

It's hard to keep my jeans looking streamlined when I have so many coins in pocket.  Why are there so many different Euro cents? 

Having a 2 cent coin is absolutely ridiculous.  Abolish it. 

What's wrong with quarters?  4 of them get you a buck.  Why have 10 cent, 20 cent AND 50 cent coins?

I'll concede that the 1 Euro coin is a good idea, and that the US paper $1 bill could be phased out (I'm sure exotic dancers in the US would rejoice as this would probably lead to $5 minimum tips). 

2 Euro coin?  Fine, we can keep it. But it's not necessary.  It just makes your purse, or pocket so damned heavy after a while!  Meanwhile, waiting for your change to be dispensed is rather obnoxious - going through all those denominations of coins.  And watch out because they pinch pennies here and there (or more like dimes or, uh - what do they call 20 cent pieces?).

As for the different sizes of paper bills, I will say that's a great idea.  It's friendly to the blind... you can feel how large your paper bills are, and know that you're not being cheated when someone's giving you change. 

Sticker Shock

Import vs. domestic.  Oh, how the tables have turned. 

Keep in mind, the prices are in Euros which at the current conversion rate is 1euro = $1.32 (which is much better than last May when I visited and it took $1.47 to buy a euro).

Usually an Import... at under 15 Euros... ok

Jack Daniels is now an Import to me... and it's more than Jameson?? ouch!

Jim Beam was cheaper than Jack - but not as cheap as 4 roses...
Jameson's is alright... But I like Bourbon... so Four Roses is what I bought for the house.  My mom asked "Who drink's whiskey?".  She's incredulous that people out there (me) like whiskey.  Coming from someone who drinks some bizarre god-awful sherry called Tio Pepe (gag!). Spaniards have strange tastes in booze. 

I'm an American girl through and through.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The smaller the car, the bigger the coffin

Did I ever tell you how it took me about 10 years to finally transfer out of Santa Monica College? 

It's a 2 year community college. 

I was lost. Had no clue what to do with my life.  So I took lots of random classes.  Hoping I would find my calling along the way.  Some semesters were disastrous, and there were many withdrawls & incompletes as I realized I hated the class after it was too late to drop it without a mark on my progress report.

Just in the "A"s alone, I took Astronomy, Accounting, Anthropology, Art History (which eventually became my major), and Automotive.


Yes, Automotive.  I figured if I lived in Los Angeles, I needed a car.  So I might as well learn a little something about this piece of machinery that was such a big part of my everyday existence.  I was trying to be practical.  I was one of 2 girls in the class of 25... and I had to work much harder just so that I wouldn't get laughed out of class by the "boy's club". 

Our teacher was definitely into old fashioned big American cars.  And while he respected the quality & the get-in-and-go of the Japanese imports, he always cautioned us "the smaller the car, the bigger the coffin".  He considered small cars to be deathtraps. 

But I still adore the cuteness factor.  Give me a totally impractical but stylish little MG or Alfa Romeo spider - swoon!  Here's my newest discovery:

What did my little eye spy?

The Chatenet Speedino - from France
Made in France, and popular in Italy - convertible, and totally up my alley... the Chatenet Speedino...a total deathtrap... and not too big for a coffin either...

I see lots of small cars here in Barcelona... and remarkably enough, I haven't seen an accident... yet all cars seem to be scraped up and dented - just surface issues from rounding tight corners and the like.