Tuesday, August 30, 2005

OK, OK, Barcelona sucks a little bit

The original intention for creating this blog was to try to drive fundamental changes in my country Catalonia with the objective that it becomes a leading country in trade, education, technology, communications and social fairness. I have some ideas about how to do it and I wanted to steer Catalonia’s future from my blog. I was hoping that the politicians that rule our country, to be frank a bunch of useless individuals, would take note and start the required reforms.
After reading Ale’s insidious remarks about my city, I decided to start my blog with a different objective, fight back!.
I think that, by now, I have already put the record straight, everyone believes now that Barcelona is still on the biting edge of fashion, architecture, food, style, music and good times.
I do not think that anyone can take seriously the comments of an American woman who expects everyone to wave and smile at her when she goes for a stroll in Barcelona, dressed with a crop top, low cut jeans, pierced belly button, a tattoo on her lower back partially hidden by a purposely misplaced thong and a one meter radius (40 inches, someone asked for translations) Mexican hat (that’s precisely what Ale would describe as orthodox Vogue style).

Going back to my original intent requires some criticism to my city and my country to Ale’s delight.
So yes, Barcelona sucks a little bit. Its airport gets on my nerves. Whenever I arrive, I have to wait for my baggage for half an hour, it always appears in the wrong conveyor and many times the monitors do not even show the right flight. If you ask someone with uniform, they will always tell you that they work for another airline. They should simply fire the operations manager. At the airport, newcomers get the first impression of the country and I have to tell you, the impression is NOT good.
In coming weeks, I will highlight other areas of opportunity, but one thing is clear, I still love my city Barcelona and my country Catalonia. And after all I think Ale has good intention, maybe they lost her baggage at the airport and that biased her during the whole stay.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Those who say that Barcelona sucks suck

This was my reply to SemprePrimavera's posting titled "Barcelona STILL sucks!!!":

I am from Barcelona and live in New England. I am just back from Barcelona and I have to tell you that it is still a great city. I have been gone from Barcelona for 13 years, and the only thing that shocks me when I go back is how few native people are left in the city. I did not meet any waiter or waitress who were either Catalan or Spanish.

If you were looking for "fiesta" the Andalusian way, you went to the wrong location. Barcelona is Catalonia. Flamingo and bullfighting are staged only for "guiris" like you, but have nothing to do with our culture. If what you are looking for is the southern warmth, go back to Sevilla, or go to Cadiz, Malaga or Huelva. Great people, great climate, great food. As a Catalan, I recommend to everyone to visit Andalusia, as well as many other regions in Spain.

Regarding your taxi driver from Sevilla, most propably he did not tell you that his kids feel 100% Catalan, that they support Barcelona soccer club and vote for CiU (the Catalan nacionalistic party) and that he loves to go back to Sevilla every year for a few weeks, but after that, he is looking forward to going back to the organized life in Catalonia.

Finally, being from New York, how do you dare give lessons of friendliness? Next time go to Antarctica. Penguins are really nice and really southern.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Global, not provincial

I am a Catalan married with a Chinese lady with American kids, living now in the States after having lived and worked in 3 other continents. Wherever I went, I learned the local tongue, including Malay/Indonesian, Mandarin and as much as I could Suzhouese. I also speak at different levels 7 European languages.And I can tell you, Catalans are not the problem. We have the democratic right to wish we were independent, we have the right to speak our language and expect that people who want to join our community learn it. We have the right to proclaim that we are not Hispanic (that's theoretically my "race" in the USA), since we did not participate in the colonization of America (I remind you that Catalans, Valencians and residents of the Balearic islands were not allowed to go to America freely until the 18th century) and we do not speak Spanish as mother tongue. We are respectful and I agree we should do much more to promote English as a third language in Catalonia, while keeping a very high standard in both Catalan and Spanish. We should be very pragmatic and have multilingual offerings in our Universities that attract top students and make use of the language to promote our economy. My formula is very simple, if you come to sell things to Catalonia, make sure that you are able to communicate your message in our language, if you come to buy or invest, you can speak swahili that we will manage.