Saturday, September 30, 2006


London was fabulous, my darlings! I found it too funny how often I heard people say darling, cheers, fabulous and mate.

Kings Cross – Juliano, my friend that I stayed with lives two
blocks from the Kings Cross underground station and train depot. Kings Cross may sound familiar to you. It was the origin station for the London bombings that occurred in July of 2005. It’s a cool area and has become a key clubbing area within London.

Hyde Park – It’s an amazing park right in the heart of London. Apparently, it’s also the park that George Michael got caught coming out of some bushes with another guy. It reminds me a bit of Central Park in NYC.

SOHO – This is the place to be seen. Lots of cafes, bars, clubs, restaurants.

I won’t bore you with the details, but I also saw Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Square, Tower Bridge, British Museum, London Eye, Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral and the new County Hall (which looks like an alien head with a space helmet on).

Interested in buying a simple leather belt for 1,000 dollars? How about the $30,200 mobile phone? If so, contact me immediately and we'll talk business. Seriously though, I was looking at a belt that I thought was pretty cool. I was going to buy it, until I saw that it cost 500 pounds. Ouch! London is an extremely expensive city for American’s to visit. The exchange rate is 2 dollars for every one pound. To illustrate the outrageous prices, an extra value meal in London is around 5 pounds, or 10 dollars.

Curry has become the de facto national food. Being a fan of curry, I knew that I would enjoy the food. Still, I was absolutely blown away. Amazing!

Culture & People
The diversity within London is amazing. It’s very similar to NYC in that regard. I found London to be a lot
cleaner, more charming and thought it had a more polished feel to it.

Shopping & Fashion
Retro is back. In both Barcelona and London I’ve noticed a lot of bold patterns and striped, tight outfits. They look straight out of the 60’s.

It was London Fashion Week while I was there and saw a lot of women and men that were obviously models walking down the street working the money makers. Sadly, I didn’t attend any of the general open events.

On Sloane Street in Knightsbridge there is Prada, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Luis Vuitton, Dior , etc….the wealth displayed is absolutely amazing!

Harrods – The food hall is legendary, and I understand why. It’s impossible to explain and is like no other.

Selfridges – “The quintessential London luxury department store”. Like Harrods, it’s breathtaking.

London is world famous for its party vibe and non-stop nightlife. It is seething with after hours drinking and discos of all shapes and sizes. From the pulsating dance floors of the super clubs to the chilled intimacy of smaller bar-clubs, London has it all.

Legendary A-list DJs kept me moving for much longer than I can to admit. The following songs will be forever associated with the London discos for me. I listen to them now and just smile. :)

Supermode - Tell Me Why (Vocal Club Mix)
The Egg - Walking Away
Fedde Le Grand - Put Your Hands Up For Detroit
Vinylshakerz - One Night In Bangkok
Beatfreakz - Somebody's Watching Me
Tv Rock Feat- Seany B - Flaunt It

London is an absolutely amazing city that I will visit again. In fact, I may go back in mid November. I’m able to go for 30 euros, roundtrip (including all fees & taxes) because of the Ryanair special.

More photos will be posted shortly. Look for the link on the left side of the site.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tailoring Your Coffee Drink

I just read this very interesting article on coffee via NPR. It is defiantly worth a read if you're a coffee drinker. A lot of the things you may have thought/assumed about coffee may be incorrect....

For example:
"Caffeine content varies from brew to brew, so it's hard to know how much you're getting. It depends on everything from the roast and grind to your barista's technique

Roast: Darker roasts actually have less caffeine than light roasts, even though the flavor is stronger. Roasting burns off some of the caffeine, so opt for a dark French or Italian roast for a less jolting cup.

Espresso vs. Coffee: Despite its eye-opening reputation, espresso actually contains less caffeine than brewed coffee, due to its deep roast and quick brewing. You can actually drink three shots of Starbucks espresso and get about the same 195-milligram dose as a 12-ounce coffee."

How London (almost) didn’t happen

Late Wake Up

I knew when I woke up to quite serenity that I was in trouble. I actually started to panic. I set three alarms knowing that I would have a difficult time getting up at 5:30 am for my 7:00 bus to the Girona Airport. Unbelievably, must have turned all them of them off without actually staying awake.

Due to divine intervention, I woke up without an alarm at 6:30 (with my throat feeling a lot better). I immediately knew that would not have enough time to make the 7:00 bus. That's when I remember seeing that another bus left at 7:30. Still, I was very concerned that wouldn't leave enough time to get to the airport, check in and board the plane.

I grabbed my (huge) suitcase and stuffed it with very few clothes, grabbed a few pieces of fruit and ran out the door. I knew my (neat freak) roommate was going to be upset because I didn't even have time to my still drying laundry I had setting on our balcony. Somehow I don't think he enjoyed moving my socks and underwear into my bed room.

Delayed Metro

Compounding my issues, the metro line I needed to get to the Nord bus station was delayed due to a defective train. I was freaking out.My actual transportation to get to where my friend lived was the following.

Apartment --> Barcelona Nord Bus Station --> Girona Airport (Barcelona) --> Stansted Airport (London) --> Liverpool Street (near the heart of London)

It's a lot faster and easier than it may appear.

Finally, I got to Nord at 7:25, but still needed to buy my ticket and board the bus. Thankfully, the lines were nonexistent and I made the bus about 1 minute before the bus left the station.

Unnecessary Hysteria

All of the rush, craziness and general hysteria ended up being for nothing. I ended up having a lot of time because my flight was late. The plane could not land because of some visibility issues. For a little under an hour, I relaxed in the terminal, almost feel asleep several times waiting for the plane and then decided it might be a good idea to get some espresso.

I just got back last night and I’m still reflecting on all that happened (a lot). I’ll get into more detail in my next post, but London is an amazing city, I had an unbelievably good time and I’ve determined that I would enjoy living in London at some point in my life.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Quick Update before London

I think the irregular sleep patters are starting playing with my body. I've been pretty tired the past few days and my throat started to feel sore yesterday. I bought myself some amoxiccillan (it’s OTC) and started taking that today. I need to make sure that I've feeling good for the trip tomorrow.

Another thing that got me worked up was the hair cut I got yesterday. I don’t like how short she cut it. The woman spoke English, so there was no language barrier to blame it on. This continued my sore throat initiated funk. I’m probably overreacting because I’m crabby from the sore throat.

Today I got all the necessary details settled for the trip and rested the majority of the day. The sleep has helped a lot and I’m already feeling much better. My bus to the Airport leaves at 7:00 AM. I had to get a lot of information for the trip which will make my all other trips much easier because I’ll know what bus to take, what time to leave, from where, etc…

I’ve been looking at prices and I can fly to Italy for 30 euro (including all taxes & fees) using the popular Ryanair. They have a special for the next 2 months where all you pay are the taxes and fees. My tentative plan is to fly into Florence. I'll stay in Florence for a few days and then train it to Rome.

Anyway, I'll be incommunicado for the next week or so. Rako out!

Random Observations

American Music
I just don’t get it. English music is played in bars, clubs, shops, gyms and grocery stores. Give this; one would think that more people would speak English, or at least be able to understand it. Oddly, that is not the case. So why do these places play it? Is it in some strange way cool or hip to play American music?

The Lip Piercing
It seems to be very hip to have a steal ball piercing either slightly above or below the lip towards the corner of the mouth. I think it looks very silly, but a lot of people my age with them.

Wiskey & Redbull
Wiskey & Redbull is a lot more popular than the typical vodka redbull that has become so popular over the past few years within the U.S. Actually, wiskey is more popular than vodka, period. I'll be curious to see if Wiskey Redbull is as popular outside Barcelona/Spain.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mullet Mondays

Today I bring you a very sexy mullet found directly on my street. Notice the care taken with the strategically placed blond highlights. The George Michael style earring is another nice touch. Wow, that chica is very lucky!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Graffiti, Torre Agbar and La Sagrada Familia

I purchased a Flickr Pro account. It's an online service that allows me to easily upload, backup, view and share all my photos. Clicking on the links below will display the photos in a cool slideshow format. You can see high resolution versions by clicking on the photo. A navigation bar will appear on the top of the slideshow if you put your cursor over the slideshow. The navigation bars allows you to go forward, back, pause, etc.

I'll use this exclusively going forward when sharing photos. Enjoy!

Graffiti photos that I've taken while walking around the city. Check them out - they're all really interesting.

Torre Agbar (aka, giant dildo). "The Agbar Tower is a 21st century skyscraper. It was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. It opened in June 2005 and it was inaugurated officially by the Kings of Spain on 16 September 2005. The building resembles an enormous missile, but many people see it as a giant dildo or suppository" More Info

La Sagrada Familia - "La Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family) is a large Roman Catholic basilica under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The formal title of the basilica is the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família or Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family. It is the last, and perhaps most extraordinary, of the designs of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí." More Info

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I'm going to London

London is on my list of places to visit and I want to go before it gets too cold.

I've met three very cool people (all through Carlos) since I've been in Barcelona that were here on holiday and live in London. All three offered to let met stay at their apartment. Given this, there may be no better time to travel London. London is extremely expensive, so any way that I can save money will be a great help. Consider this: it takes nearly 2 American Dollars to get one British Pound. The average dinner in London will cost at least 10 pounds, and that is for "cheap" food.

As you can see below, I'm leaving the 20th of this month (yes, this month) and I'll arrive back in Barcelona on the 27th. I think one week will suffice.

Notice how the tickets were only 35 Euro. However, taxes and other "fees" added an additional 45 Euro. What bullshit. Still, it's difficult to complain when the total was ~80 Euro.

You can expect lots of photos! :)

From Girona(GRO) to London Stansted(STN)
Wed, 20Sep06 Flight FR9805


From London Stansted(STN) to Girona(GRO)
Wed, 27Sep06 Flight FR9808


********35.00 EUR Adult
********33.46 EUR Taxes,Fees & Charges
********11.08 EUR Aviation / WCHR Levy
*********0.00 EUR Car Rental
*********0.00 EUR Insurance
********79.54 EUR Total Paid

My Myers Briggs Type - ENTP

There are a total of 16 personality types according to Myers Briggs. According to the Myers Briggs personality type, I'm an ENTP (Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving). This means that I'm have extraverted intuition with introverted thinking. 3.2% of the population falls into the ENTP category. Below is an overview of my personality. It is shockingly accurate.

Want to know what personality type you are? Take the test at the bottom of this post and share your personality type by posting it as a comment...come on, it'll be fun. :)

ENTP Profile

You like to chase the novel and complex. You have faith in your ability to overcome any challenges you face...highly independent...value adaptability and encourage and value change...

You need freedom for resist hierarchy and push against all odds to further your projects with your entrepreneurial can argue and find the flaws in any position...

You rarely accept things just as they like to test new meanings and relationships..when you don't get what you want, you use your cleverness and ingenuity to bring people around to your point of view...when you choose a career, you tend to set flexible goals that allow you to incorporate new information and accommodate to new circumstances...

"Keep your options open" is your middle name... you like to explore the "road not taken." Your flexibility can look like indecision to others who don't have a clue about take advantage of realize potential of many things because of your ability to see connections and relationships between SEEMINGLY unrelated cannot be ordered around, but rather handle things best when they are *suggestions* posting more on the Storm Palace BBS you love excitement...

Competence is key to you.. you don't take advice or respect someone you don't see as want work to be're a relentless learner. Knowledge is important to use your enthusiasm to get others involved in your learn through give-and-take discussions and by questioning and challenging like challenging your teachers and colleagues...limitations are mere challenges to take initiative, and once the ball is rolling, you like to turn it over to someone else...

You like to organize logically and strategically....your work space might not LOOK organized, but underneath it all is a system that works for you. You like to have an need a job that allows you to be innovative. you like to take risks and open calendar for the weekend is really're often "in on the latest things..." like travel, 'cause it allows you to open up new vistas and horizons (corny, huh?).

Falling in love happens when there's a good "fit" with another often know after the first meeting whether there's any "real potential"... you may not like to commit until that right person comes along...therefore you probably won't settle down don't like to lose at ANYthing you're a born enterpriser...

Things to be on guard for: you have a great fear of looking dumb or incomp- may tend to think you have the perfect solutions for problems, and may become competitive when others challenge you... you might start to think that you're the only one who's in on the truth of things, so you might not like to listen to the input of may have the tendency to overextend yourself as you jump in on lots of ideas without considering how long it takes to work 'em through... commit to too many projects? are a rebel.. you find it difficult to accept standard operating procedures.. and hate HAVING to follow exact rules or policies...learn to work within the system.

ENTP: "Each New Thought Propels"

Let yourself be heard

Did you know that you can leave comments on all my posts? I have comments enabled, so you'll notice a comments link at the end of all posts. This is your chance to tell the world, er, I mean the 100 people or so that currently read my journal what you think.

I would be especially interested to hear from my readers in Turkey, Hong Kong, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, UK and the Netherlands. I'm happy you did, but I'm also extreemly curious where you initially got the link...? Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys the site - wherever you may be.

Detailed information on leaving a comment can be found on this page.

Note: the pie chart below, along with the geo map above illustrate the locations of the regular visitors to this journal. I find it extremely interesting how the internet allows someone from Slovakia to read a journal created by a guy from Milwaukee, WI, USA.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Parc de l'Espanya Industrial - Barcelona

Very close to Sants Estació, this modern park was designed by Luis Peañ Ganchegui. The tall futuristic objects are watchtowers that can be used for viewing of the park and act as lamps at night. It's an extreemly cool park and it's only 5 min away from my house. I've gone there several times to relax as I'm listening to my Spanish mp3s.

It's hard to tell in the photo, but the enormous metal art piece is shaped like a dragon and can be used as a slide.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mullet Monday

Most American's view the mullet with a combination of awe and disgust. Many Europeans view them as a beautiful extension of the body.... an extension that must be pampered, groomed and cared for like a child. Starting today, and every Monday going forward, I will celebrate the hideous European mullet by posting one photo of a mullet seen on the streets of Barcelona by yours truly. You'll see long mullets, shorts mullets, colored mullets and even mullets on children and babies.

Power to the mullet. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The cost of fun

I've mentioned before how inexpensive food and booze is if purchased in a grocery store. That is not true if you're at a restaurant, cafe or bar. The price can skyrocket very quickly. The price of a mixed drink at most discos is 8 Euro. It's difficult to buy a drink at a bar knowing the cost if purchased at the bar. Granted, drinks are always more expensive in bars, discos, restaurants, etc. The difference is the absurd disparity between the price at a grocery store vs. at bar, discto relative to the U.S.

Below illustrates my point pretty well.

Corona at grocery store - - .17 euro cents per bottle
Corona at the disco - - 5.00 euro per bottle

My rip on the Mastercard commercials.

1 bottle of amazing wine: 1.29 euro (cost in U.S 12.95)
6 pack of bottled Corona beer: 1.03 euro
The cost of getting drunk in Barcelona: essentially free*

*No, I'm not spending all of my time getting drunk.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Barcelona Beach Photos

Barcelona is known for its amazing beaches. The boardwalk allows you to easily move from one beach to the next. The photos below are from several of the beaches (Barceloneta, Olimpica and Bogatell). I've never been darker than I am right now. In fact, I'm much darker now than in these photos. Life as a beach bum is rough. Perhaps I need a job. Yes, yes I do.

Daniel from London (he is Carlos' friend)

The 500 euro per night hotel right on the beach.

Me & Carlos

Barceloneta beach

The sail boat harbor (sailing is very popular and classes are always happening)

Is it just me or does look very similar to the new apple store in Time Square? It's actually just a restaurant with a very nice entrance. The functional purpose of the big metal art sculpture is to create shade for the restaurant right under it.

Dropping Knowledge

This is pretty interesting stuff. On September 9, 2006, 112 intellectuals, artists, scientists, activists, economists, social entrepreneurs and others renowned for their innovative contributions to society will meet in Berlin’s historic Bebelplatz square to engage with 100 pre-selected questions generated by thedropping knowledge ‘Ask
yourself’ question outreach campaign. Seated around a vast round table, participants will answer questions simultaneously, each responding into an individual camera and microphone. In an open environment free of censorship or the need to self-censor,participants will answer according to their consciences, drawing on their personal background, experience, opinion, visions and professional expertise as they see fit. The responses of the participants, recorded as individual audiovisual portraits, will create the foundation of the dropping knowledge archive, Living Library, film and exhibition.

Ask Yourself

In a world of complexity and contradiction, apathy has become a sort
of survival technique. How could you face the
evening news without it?
Another famine, another flood, another terrorist attack – if we truly
identified with the pain and suffering of others, it would paralyze us.

And so our apathy extends not only to those on the other side
of the world but to our families, friends, neighbors, selves.

When was the last time you questioned the way things are?
The last time you refused to accept the unacceptable?

The last time you turned your apathy into activity?

Ask yourself. When you ask in order to understand, when you answer in order to share, you are already practicing dropping knowledge. Find out more at dropping knowlege.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Outrageous Bus

I was staying with a friend when I first got to Barcelona. One night, he was visiting a friend in a nearby city, which meant that I needed to find a place to sleep for just one night until he got back. I settled on the Sun & Moon hostel. The location could not have been better. It was right next to "Las Ramblas", one of the craziest and most popular streets in all of Europe. It was also pretty cheap, which meant that I had to sleep with 7 other people in a tiny room. The hostel experience was interesting and I met a lot of cool people, but I brought it up because of "The Outrageous Bus". Below is how it is described on their website.

"Imagine going to sleep in your hostel bed in Prague and waking up the next day in Rome. That's of course if you decide to sleep at all. The Outrageous Bus is the world's first traveling hostel and documentary, combined into one unforgettable trip."

It happened to be in Barcelona and was trying to recruit people at the hostel that I was staying at. I recall that they actually got a few people to sign up. Sadly, I went on the site today and they updated how the bus broke down in Barcelona, so they had to stay for at least 4 more days. I thought it was a pretty interesting idea and would make for a crazy adventure. They plan to end the trip in Munich for

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Barcelona Apartment Photos

My 300 euro Barcelona€ Apartment
It's not like back home, but it does have a lot going for it. First, it has apatioo. Second, it's in an excellent area.Third, it's cheap. Fourth, it's clean. I looked at a lot of places, and this was the best one by far (for the price). So who's coming to visit? :)


Living Room


View from the patio


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Settling in

I'm happy to report that I've secured an apartment. It's located in the Eixample barrio.

"Eixample is famous for being home to the majority of Barcelona’s art nouveau masterpieces, and a high-class residential and shopping area. The right side of the Eixample is the older and therefore has more of the impressive architecture, but really there is not a huge difference between the two sides.Passeig de Gracia is the heart of Eixample and the line that cuts the area into two form "Eixample left" and "Eixample right". Here you will find most of Barcelona’s international designer shops such as Chanel and MaxMara. Also along this road is La Pedrera and Casa Batllo, two of Gaudi´s characteristically dreamlike buildings. There are many interesting art galleries in the area and if art appeals then be sure to have a look in Fundacion Antoni Tapies which is just off Psg de Gracia and has a permanent collection of this Catalan artist’s work. Eixample is a safe and residential part of the city but there is also a vibrant nightlife and a thriving café culture. Eixample is a beautiful barrio to wander round, take in the glorious architecture and people-watch one of the many terrace cafes.
It is in Eixample that you will find some of the best, and most expensive, restaurants in town. This combined with some internationally known bars such as Dry Martini makes the area a very pleasant place to spend an evening. Transportation to and from the area is good. Eixample is serviced by several metro stops, as well as the FRG train. However the area is very central and most other parts of the city are within walking distance"

It's a great apartment in a great barrio and I could not be happier. I'm living with 3 other people. One from London one from Mexico and one from Ibiza. One is a soccer marketing director for a local team, one is starting his MBA at the University of Barcelona and the other is an undergad student. They're all very nice and we'll get along great. Two of the three speak fluent Spanish and English and they're happy to help to help me learn Spanish. I´ll take photos and post them soon.

Here is a map of the city showing my
apartment in relation to the entire city. You can zoom in and out on the upper left side of the page.

I'm becoming more familar with the city every day. It's an unbelievably
cosmopolitian city. I feel a lot more comfortable knowing that apartment hunting is behind me and I look forward to exploring the city and enjoying everything it has to offer.

Side note: the grocery stores are amazing. I'm going to take photos and post them soon. Amazing food is very very inexpensive at grocery stores. One could be come an obease alcholic with how inexpensive food, beer and wine is (don´t worry, I won´t). 12 bottles of high quality beer is only 4 euro. Wine that would cost 25 dollars in Milwaukee costs 4 or 5 euro. That is about 6 dollars. Cheeses that would cost 15 dollars per lb are 2 or 3 euros. I'll be eating and drinking very well.