Sunday, September 9, 2012
Random Law School Update 35
Washington, DC: July 9 - August 14, 2012
Tucson, AZ: August 14 - August 20, 2012
Boulder, CO: August 20 - August 24, 2012
Frankfurt, Germany: August 25 - August 26, 2012
Present Location: Barcelona, Spain
Arrival Date: August 26, 2012
Departure Date: December 22, 2012*
Next Location: Lelystad, The Netherlands
Arrival Date: September 13, 2012*
Departure Date: September 18, 2012*
I presently live in Spain. I arrived here two weeks ago from Denver via a delightful 20-hour layover in Frankfurt. I like it here.
I love my apartment. It is a five-bedroom, three bathroom spot on the segundo piso (third and a half floor) of an four-apartment complex that is very old as evidenced by the dark and disheveled wooden stairway that is barely wide enough to accommodate a piece of luggage. The apartment itself however looks like it came out of an IKEA magazine. It is clean, simple, and stylish. The kitchen is always clean. My four flatmates keep a low profile and I often have the place to myself. And the one that owns the apartment and is most present doesn’t speak english, so I get to practice spanish, which is wonderful. She, also, is wonderful.
I love my neighborhood, Barrio Gotico. It is right in the center of Barcelona’s old city--an incredible place filled with tiny stone streets where only pedestrians can pass. It is special. The buildings are all about four or five stories and are all connected to one another so that the city is comprised of small streets and plazas winding their way like a maize through a field of impressive old stone buildings. There are “supermarkets” on every street, which look a lot like convenience stores except that they sell awesome things: like fresh vegetables, a half-dozen types of soymilk, lentils, brown rice, and gluten-free products. There are plenty of health food stores including a vegan shop with bulk grains 150 meters from my apartment. Restaurants here are open past midnight, even on weeknights, but no one who lives here goes out to eat much.
I think I may have discovered why it is that Europeans stay so thin. I was at a friend’s apartment around meal time and, unexpectedly, it became time to eat. After assuring them that I was full so as to avoid any sadness about not being able to cater to my dietary restrictions, they brought out a beautiful macrobiotic stir-fry of sautéed vegetables and brown rice and start chowing down as if it was normal to not have any bread, processed foods, meat, dairy, eggs, or sugar in a meal. After dinner, one of the roommates grabbed a peach out of the fridge to snack on. Not a pastry, not ice cream, just a peach, which you can get here as easily as a bag of chips or a Twinkie, because they are sold at every market on every street. Brilliant. Having a lot of tiny markets everywhere means that what is healthy also happens to be what is easy, cheap, and quick to make at home.
In less happy news, our wonderful apartment in my delightful neighborhood was broken into last week. I was the first to discover the damage; as I went to insert my key into the lock the door swung open revealing two broken hinges and two locks busted out of their sockets. The feeling was the feeling that something had gone either wrong or very wrong.
**Interestingly enough, as I was just writing this my cell phone was stolen. A young boy came up to my table at Starbucks with an advertisement for contact lenses pretending to be deaf and holding out his hand as if asking for money the way they do in India and other third-worldly countries. I didn’t think too much of it--though noticed as he left that he had the same color iPhone case as I had. Twelve seconds later, genius struck, I threw my computer in my bag, and bolted out of the cafe. By the time I located the kid with my eyes, he had already managed to start crossing the street a block and a half over. I approached him quickly and subtly, gave him a look of death, and retrieved the phone.**
That makes two lucky close calls in one week. Nothing was missing from our apartment either.
I have been taking spanish classes since I arrived. Law school exchange classes start this week. Our first public holiday is Tuesday. I think I might go here.
Photos will be available in the usual place as soon as I figure out how to convince the new version of Picasa to save my captions. They are also on Facebook. Archived RLSUs and RTUs can be found at: http://randomtravelupdates.blogspot.com.es.