Archive for the 'spain' Category

thank god for espn.com

just a little shout out for espn360.com.

with all the storms and freaky weather, cable here in NYC has been spotty at best- pixelated, intermittent, especially on HD channels.

they had the spain- italy quarter final streaming online for free.

thank you sports gods for saving me from missing even a second of the game.

oh, and vaya espana!!! ole ole ole ole… ole… ole…

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whuuuuu?

i just went on a date with a man who brought up juan carlos and chavez. 

my mind reels.

is this possible?

someone finally tells chavez to can it

and that someone is Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias, otherwise known to us as Juan Carlos I.  i totally heart the king of spain. 

i think i fell for him when i was living in spain and there he was on the news, walking to his mercedes in a leather bomber jacket and jeans.  casual, not euro-trashy, not pretentious.  no corgis, stiff waves and motorcades.  not for johnny.

i mean, Franco grooms the kid to be his personal successor (after killing his grandfather and putting the family in exile) for six years before karma finally kicked in and the generalismo kicked it.  two days later, he’s king, bucks expectations and trends and starts democratic reforms.   three years later, there are elections, a new constitution and bam! spain’s part of the western world again.

so, now, what does he do to top this?  he tells hugo chavez to shove it at last week’s ibero-america summit.  chavez can be hilarious (eg. his pro-chomsky, anti-bush/satan tirade at the UN last year, going to visit “his brothers” up in harlem to promise them cheap fuel out of empathy for their struggle, etc.), but he’s really kind of worn out his welcome. 

when paling around with castro and proclaiming all sorts of things, he seemed kind of like a crazy head of state who could provide more soundbites than international incidents.  after all, the venezuelans got themselves into this one.  they were duped, too.

so, of course, chavez starts blathering about spain’s recent prime minster, apropos of not much (of course), interrupting the current spanish pm, accusing them of being fascist (hello pot?  this is the kettle). 

then:

Spanish King Juan Carlos, seated next to Zapatero, angrily turned to Chavez and said, “Why don’t you shut up?”

sigh.

right on jc!  at long last.  it certainly needed to be said.  hopefully, it will be the first of many (escalating) reprimands.

would i lie to you?

not about the important things, friends.

exhibit a:

http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z55/donniebrusco/riogrande.jpg

yes, that’s my eye and earlobe in the corner.

please, no more applause.

ricky nelson, i salute you

enough of the brain problems, back to the fun.

we went back to the temple bar again the last night.  we’d gone to see casa mila (la pedrera) late in the afternoon and hadn’t accomplished much else that day.  because, as i explained to cs, that we had a problem.  we couldn’t leave our hovel because the sun was out there.  despite all this and our well-laid plans to go to bed early for our early flights, cs declared that it we had to go out that night.  it was our last night.  no fighting that logic.

we met up with the hilarious irish girl we’d seen the previous two nights and her cohorts.  she’d gathered some boys from roscommon and they asked us to join their group.  they twisted our arms by buying us a couple of pints of fat frogs and then two baby guinness shots.  i have since determined they were evil plants from the planet of teaching responsibility through reverse psychology.  just when i thought i was doomed to sink into an irish hole of drunk, maurizio showed up!  huzzah!  david was not with him.  boo!

maurizio came because he thought david might show- they have a very informal friendship and just meet up there sometimes.  he and cs bonded about italy, amongst other things, i’m sure, while i pined and wished for my imaginary boyfriend* to show.  alas, he never did.  to buoy my spirits, maurizio told cs a secret: david thought i was cute and tried to call me the previous night.  unfortunately, he only had my office number and not my blackberry.  curs-ed fates!

we all went off to find a disco and with maurizio’s guidance, found one on las ramblas, relieving us of a long cab ride to porto olympico and an 18 euro cover.  he couldn’t join us because he had serious research work to do in the morning.  we bid him a warm adieu and followed the irish upstairs.  of course there were many swirling, twirling lights on the dance floor, so cs and i hung at the bar.  it was hot.  i turn my head for one second and when i look back, cs is talking to three fine looking, but barely post adolescent, boys: jose uno, jose dos and alex.  and they were from?  tenerife.  seriously. we had to fly 2247 km (1,396 miles for those of you on the SI system) to find natives of tenerife.  it was no hoax.  they showed me their papers.

though they were all cute, and cs had her weary eyes on jose uno, we realized we didn’t want to be there.  we didn’t want another drink.  we were tired of sweating and breathing in the musty air.  we were tired period.  we decided to head home. 

on the way, we passed the slightly unhinged israeli girl we’d ditched on the way to the disco (mostly at the irish’s urging.  but they were right.  she was kind of crazy.  and very intense).  she was talking to a nigerian man selling trinkets on las ramblas.  we trudged up to our hole for the final time so i could pass out for a few hours and cs could shower in time for her flight to roma.

i left the next day and had smooth, uneventful flights home.  on a lark, i checked my email.  god is good, folks, because i had an email from the catalan waiting.  he wanted to know if i was going back to the bar that night- he’d run into maurizio who told him he’d seen us the night before and he wanted to see me (sniffle).   he wrote that he’d wanted to spend the night with me the other night and tried to follow us to the disco (sob).

unfortunately, i was now back at home, 6169 km away (hysterics).

i wrote him back and told him all this.  he said he was leaving on holiday that day, but would be on messenger at 22h on 2nd september.

sigh.  a girl has to have dreams, i guess.

so now, i’ve decided my immediate life goal is to emulate ricky nelson and have a man in every port.  this trip was a good start towards that end.

 oh, and BMW came over the day after i got home.  a girl has to eat.  more than once a month, too. 

*he’s an actual person of course, just not my boyfriend.  not yet, people, not yet. mwahaha mwahaha (curling imaginary** handlebar mustache). 

** the mustache is not real.  not since we went to el corte ingles, anyway.  zing!

homage to catalan(ia)

y’all, life was rough on saturday.  we got up around noon and decided to suck it up get some fucking french toast.  really, tortilla and cafe, but it helped sober us up.  it was time to sight see.

we wandered over to the picasso museum and surveyed its massive line and opted for the gift shop instead.  it was way too hot to stand there and since i’d already been, cs thought we should do some more wandering and head towards sagrada familia.  what i didn’t know until that moment is that ‘wandering’ means ‘buy lots of bags’ where cs lewis comes from, which is viriginia beach in case you were wondering (holla saltdogs and navy seals).  our long, scenic and scorching hot walk was broken by the comic relief of calling home to talk to cs lewis’s mother, ma weber.  she’s a lovely woman, and quite fun to party with, but she’s out of her mind.  i literally spit water all over the sidewalk listening to just cs’s half of the conversation.  which reminds me, if you have the means, hop on down to club web in vb, it’s a great experience.  book ahead, though, that place fills up.  especially when there’s a steel drum band scheduled for the weekend.

i digress.  in an unbelievable turn of events, there was no line to get into the cathedral, so we gladly pay the 8 euro to go inside.  i was pleased to see cs was as blown away as i am by this sublime monument and we took our time soaking in the beauty and divinity.  it truly is amazing.  i was also impressed by how much had been done in the ten years since i was first blessed by the sight of it.  putting it into context, it was started in 1883, so that much progress in a single decade was remarkable.  i can’t wait to attend a sunday service there one day, and have hope and faith i will have the opportunity in my lifetime.

we walked back by heading down calle mallorca towards casa mila or la pedrera, where the line equalled that of picassos museum.  knowing we had time tomorrow, we opted to come back and enjoy a stroll down la passeig de gracia. 

we hooked a left at plaza catalunya and headed back to the hostel, where my duty as the “official arbiter of cs’s spending habits on souvenirs” was put to its strongest test yet.

we relaxed, showered, and headed to bar gaudi for dinner, which is located two doors from our hostel.  knowing cs and me, going somewhere so close is shocking, absolutely shocking, but it’s true. 

the reason this is relevant is because the guy that stands outside and solicits patrons had been trying to get us to eat there for the last 36 hours.  he was pleased to lead us to a table where we enjoyed an amazing dinner, as well as the company of our waiter, tomate (i’ll explain later) who was quite taken with my face and language abilities.  i was too taken with my artichokes from the oven to notice, so his asking me out later went totally unnoticed.  i’m spastic, yes, but i blame this stupidity on these artichokes.  i was seriously picturing me in a wedding dress and las alcochofas in a tux and cummerbun.

leaving, we told the guy outside that it was great and i said “si podria casarme con las alcochofas, lo hare.”  it took me at least a half hour to put the subjunctive for that together correctly.  instead of applause at my proper tenses, he said “que bueno.  me llamo alcochofa.  do you want to be married and live here or in new york.”  he then told us he got off at two.

we smiled and wandered off for another pub crawl, which ended you’llneverguesswhere: the temple bar.  the scene of last night’s crime.  or the inception and planning of the crime, anyway.  we didn’t return in the hopes of meeting up with johhny b good’s stag do, so we weren’t disappointed to not see them there.  in short order, cs was chatting up a pack of scots and i was talking to maurizio (a venetian phd student in town to study) and david (tall, dark, handsome, catalan).  love. at. first. sight.

we were contentedly talking to our prospective prospects when the next thing i know, plan b is back and dressed like a school boy.  following closely behind was the rest of the crew in identical ensembles, replete with johnny in full harry potter costumes.  hilarious.  i didn’t see rio grande at first, which was fine, because david was a piece of pixie dust combined with a dream and i was happy as a clam where i was.  eventually, cs got folded into the stag do once again, but i resisted, excepting a brief interaction with justin timberlake junior (where was that guy last night???).  i finally noticed rio, who was squarely ignoring me (boo! bad form!).  we made eye contact later, i waved, he mouthed that he was really drunk and that was pretty much that.

after a few more hours of this, cs’s new paramour had talked her into going to port olympic and the disco baja beach with the whole do.  when they were throwing us out at last call, she was in the street yelling past the bouncer, “come on, come on, we’re going to the disco.”  i asked david if he and maurizio would come with and he said he’d love to, but we had to wait until m came back from los aseos.  i waved off cs lewis and waited.  when m came back, david disappeared.  I was like “what the? i thought you guys were coming with?”  m said yes, they would come.  i told him where we were going and to meet us there since i had to go out to cs before she popped an anuerysm.  they had my card and email, so we were insured.

 i got into one of the cabs and headed down to port olympic with the rest.  once there, i realized i’d been before and we didn’t have to pay the 18 euro cover to get in.  all we had to do was go downstairs to the beach level and grab an outside table at the disco, no cover at all.  only darren had the sense to listen to me and we scored a large table right by the doors to wait for the rest to figure it out.  eventually, herbs, jt jr, johnny, rio and plan b caught on and came to sit down.  we ordered a round, which i paid for (what the?) and still rio did not acknowledge me.  not a thanks, nothing.  i really didn’t want to be there, and was already cursing my seperation from david, so when they got up to go to the strip club down the way and asked me to join them, i begged off.  i was ready for home.  i found cs inside (still didn’t pay) and she was still chatting up the same guy.  i told her i was off and would see her later.

i got into a cab upstairs when i realized i had exactly 8 euro to my name and no idea how far i was from las ramblas, which means i had no idea how far i was going to have to trudge home.  the cabbie agreed to take me as far as the 8 would get me, which was exactly to my street, thank you jesus, st. george and the traffic-less streets of late night barcelona.

cs got home later with the guy (tim, i believe), who’d been chatting her up the whole time and planting soft, tongueless kisses on her all night.  when she asked what his hesitation was he replied “because i have a girlfriend.”  zunh.  i mean, zunh?

apparently, he kept chatting her up after that, took her home, and then asked if he could come up.  what the?  is this pretty woman?  what the fuck?

anyway, i was gutted about losing david and maurizio, but pretty annoyed by rio as well.  i didn’t go there to see him, and didn’t expect him to chat me up (though he did look disturbingly hot in his uniform) or not go home with a different girl, but some manners, please. 

luckily, david has my email.  fingers crossed.  i’ve already constructed a whirlwind trans-atlantic IM-based romance in my mind and i don’t mind telling you it’s fantastico. sigh.

fording the rio grande

oh, where to begin, where to begin.

we got to barca around four or five in the afternoon: hot, tired and thrilled to be amongst spaniards.  we grabbed some fabulous food and went up and checked into our hovel.  i mean hole.  i mean hostal.  we grabbed some rest, went out for a bocadillo in a sandwich chain (shut it.  it had air conditioning, which was desperately needed at this point).  then, we decided to hunt for a decent pub.  true, the proverbial bar had been lowered to the point we could shuffle over it, but we were in barcelona and we meant business.  this, of course, left only one choice: hogan’s, an authentic australian bar squai on las ramblas.

a pint of fosters here, a pint of fosters in an irish bar and the hunt continued.  we happened upon- get this- another irish bar.  ok, a few more.  but that’s not really the point.  the point is people, that we were in an irish bar.  which means the trouble was a-brewing.  i asked cs at the beginning of the trip what the over/under was on us being in the middle of stag party at some point.  we should have made some points, because before you could say “yes, i’ll have that fifth pint of fosters, please” there we were. 

they were even easier to identify than usual because they were all wearing matching soccer (ok.  football.  they were brits) jerseys with a picture of the groom as a four year old and their nicknames on them.  before i could say “how much do i owe you for that drink?,” we were in the midst of four of the eighteen members.  let’s call them herbs, plan b, rio and mark.  because that’s what they were named.  at least according to their shirts. 

quite quickly, and without warning, i had entered into a transaction with, um, rio, to meet up at three am at the hard rock cafe for a little action if neither of us got lucky before then.  i was totally kidding and not taking him seriously, of course.  i think he sensed this so he broke out the big guns: the pinkie swear.  now i was legally bound.  it was for serious a true blue straight up transaction.  no flirting or leg work.  it was a five minute once over from either side and then a contract.

alas, as chance would have it, we never got to frequent that fine, movie-themed establishment because we kept chatting at the bar.  rio asked if i’d like to accompany him to get some fags (cigarettes, not homosexual men).  i told cs i’d be back in ten seconds as i hadn’t yet decided what my involvement would be with this gentleman, but when we got to the newstand and he asked me how to say condoms in espanol, i figured what the hell?  he’s totally full of himself and british, but really hot (think jason statham) and i’m young, white and single.  so, i told the man “un paquete de condons” and off we went.  i rolled my eyes when he told the shopkeep “the big ones, please.” let’s come back to this later.

after a brief stop at my hovel (it was closer) during which we were kicked out and i remembered that i am far too old and well paid to be staying in places that don’t allow guests, we headed off to his fancy pants hotel and headed straight upstairs.  i think it was around the point that he held the door open for me that i finally decided that i’d probably hook up with him.  alright.  ok.  it was when he told me that he liked the cut of my jib two hours before, but let’s pretend.

anyhoo, all you need to know:
seriously.jpg
(seriously. more or less, this is what we’re talking about)

without getting too graphic, let’s just say that his little throwaway comment at the newstand was not only not a joke, but an understatement.  i thought we were going to have product relevancy issues.

he taught me several handy phrases in egyptian arabic which revealed that he was, in fact, egyptian arabic and quite pleased by my earlier statements regarding the US and UK’s treatment of muslims.

i was called, in all seriousness, a ‘naughty minx.’

i am totally hooking up with more self-centered playboys.  good god did that guy know what he was doing.

finally, i LOVE this transaction thing.  no nonsense, no time wasted.  which rocked, because it meant more time for play.

when i was ready to leave at seven am, he got dressed to walk me home, much to my surprise.  he was insulted that i even conceived of the notion that he wouldn’t be a gentleman.  i was like “take no offense, in new york, i’d be like ‘bag of peanuts,’ i’m getting on the subway.” 

he gave me his email and told me to tell him when i’d next be in london, which i readily, though very wearily, agreed to. 

cs lewis was happier to see me than anyone had been in my life.  my “ten seconds” had been more like four hours and she was concerned.  for a hot second.  then we hi5ed ourselves to sleep.

a motorway for rabbits

 cs lewis and i spent much of our first three days lounging beside the resort pool or on one of the beaches.  tenerife has black sand beaches, with a finer grain than those of hawaii, and a remarkable natural beauty and varied climate, which is marred and scarred by the endless strips of english snackbars and souvenir stands.  i guess this is inevitable in tropical isles that are developed, but it is disconcerting nontheless.

desiring to see more than ads for 1 Euro happy hours and packs of english families clutching the comforts of home and dragging them the thousand miles to this beautiful spot off the coast of africa, we decided to take an island tour.  no, not the most “authentic” of experiences, but a diversion and a chance to learn about the actual island itself was a welcome change of pace.

we boarded a bus full of the usual “excursion” suspects, with a wonderful and incredibly funny guide named pieter, who hailed from holland.  i won’t give you the digital version of your grandparents strapping you down for a slide-by-slide narrative of a trip to boca raton, but i will mentions assorted factoids and anecdotes (forgive me, my sweets).

long story short: tenerife was formed by volcanic activity eons ago, the island was once populated by prisoners from north africa, was taken over by the spaniards when eight of the ten kings were captured and the remaining two suicided, became a giant banana plantation, and then the tourism began. 

we got to see the dragon trees, los gigantes (or, as i like to call them: the cliffs of insanity!), the oldest town on the island (ovataro), puerto de la cruz and the black madonna of las candalarias.

cliffs of insanitycliffsofinsanity1.jpg

we had brits, germans, russians and a nice wee french madamioselle on the bus and pieter impressed and shamed us by speaking all fluently and with flawless accents.  i think that cs and i were the only ones to get his humor, or maybe it only worked in english, but this dude was hilarious.  cs and i were hysterical at nearly everything he said, not to mention our own ridiculous jokes (alright!) so we giggled the day away.  i’m pretty sure that pieter thought we were high and/or drunk, but it was like that the whole trip.  i must send a quick shout out to maya rudolph’s whitney houston impression for a good fifty percent of the laughs.  or cs’s version of it.  either way, it was amazing. 

eh, i just decided not to go into the whole day.  i’m sure everyone’s grateful.  i need to fully recover my senses in order to report on barcelona, alcochofa y tomate, rio grande and the catalan boy que deseé poner en mi bolsillo….


truth

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

truth

Upon common theatres, indeed, the applause of the audience is of more importance to the actors than their own approbation. But upon the stage of life, while conscience claps, let the world hiss! On the contrary if conscience disapproves, the loudest applauses of the world are of little value - john adams
December 2017
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from the man who taught me everything:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

bygones