Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Alive and Well

No, I'm not dead. I've been very crazy busy moving into my new apartment. Yes, I'm moving out of the apartment I just moved into. I lived there for less than 1 month. Basically, the guys I moved in with ended up being un poco loco.

I'm moving most of my stuff into the new apartment tonight. Will update once things settle down in a few days.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Carnival in Sitges

Sitges is infamous for it's Carnival party. The streets are extremely full of people of all ages. Floats navigate through the narrow streets throughout the city. It's hard to capture the energy and craziness with a camera. You really have to be there to feel it.

I was told that I "had" to go in costume so I decided on Rambo, while Jose was an Indian and Keyan was a Sailor (right, not typical at all..jajaja). People seemed to like my costume, which was nice considering it was completely last minute and the only thing I bought was some black paint and the toy gun. The rest were clothes that I already had.

The parade ended around 3:00A.M. at which point people fill the bars and discos to capacity. We went to a bar first and then went to a disco until 8:00 A.M. Crazy fun.

I couldn't help but notice how it looked like a bomb went off in the streets of Sitges. The lines for the train back to Barcelona were too long so we decided to wait and hour and watch the sun rise while relaxing on the beach.

Below are a few of the photos. A+, highly recommended!

5,000 photo views

My photos on flickr recently hit a milestone: 5,000 views. I currently have 1,465 photos spread out over 35 albums that were viewed 5,008 times.

If you haven’t yet, feel free to view my photos. As always, direct links to photos from my trips are located on the right side of this page. -->

Marrakesh, No > London, Yes

I've been extremely busy the past few days. I went to the small beach town of Sitges with a lot of friends for the huge Carnival closing party. The closing party is infamous and it did not disappoint. I'll get into the details later so for now I'll just say that it was complete craziness.

In other news, the
Marrakesh trip is canceled, er, delayed. I received an email from Ryanair (which has awful service, btw) saying that all flights from Spain to Marrakesh were canceled due to Spain's slow implementation of he new EU Openair Act. I am very disappointed and Jose and I are looking for other tickets that are not outrageously priced.

The good news is that I'm once again going to London from April 12th-16th. This will be my third trip to London since arriving in Europe. Even better, I"m going with 3 friends from Barcelona. London is calling...

Finally, I got word today that my Mother may be visiting in April. Very, very exciting news.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Spanish Fashion Tribes

Lets talk fashion. More specifically, lets talk about recent trends in popular Spanish fashion. Recently, I've been feeling as though I’m on an Austin Power movie set as I walk the streets of Barcelona. Like every country, Spain has multiple fashion tribes. The Spanish tribes include the heavies (goths), muscu-lucos (muscle marries), pijos (preps / yuppies) and fiesteros (fashionistas), among with many others that I’m probably unaware of.

The one that intrigues me the most deals with Spanish women and does not fit very well into any of the tribes described above. Perhaps a new tribe called “Chica Americano de 19060s” is necessary.

Members of this tribe would be required to have long hair with huge bangs that are cut straight across the forehead. Their clothes should be very bold with lots of stripes, polka dots and flowery
patterns. The required accessories include hair bands, big boots, massive earrings, colorful belts of all shapes and sizes and finally, what I call "slipper shoes" due to there similarity to everyday slippers. Basically, they would need to look like an American female from the 1960s. See the photos below (click to see large) and more on my flickr page.

Then you have a certain subset of Spanish men (more Catalan) that feel it's not only ok, but cool to do the unthinkable and combine the mullet with dreads. The horrific end result is shown below.
I’ve been thinking of a name and came up with two: Drellet or Mullad.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Berlin Photos

Below are a few more photos taken in Berlin. Additional photos are available on Flickr. I also created a set dedicated to the Berlin street art photos.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Taste of Summer

In the middle of February it was sunny and hot in Barcelona. It actually got up to 20 C or 68F for several hours. As you can imagine, smiling people were everywhere outside soaking it up. The temperature back in my home town (Milwaukee)....try -9C or 14F. 'Nuff said

Friday, February 09, 2007

Does Age Quash Our Spirit of Adventure?

In a recent NPR interview, distinguished neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky answers the question, "Is there a certain age when the typical American passes from the novelty stage to utter predictability?"

It's a fascinating look into the complexity and oddities of human nature.
Very much worth the listen.

Listen via NPR.

Berlin, Germany

PEOPLE AND CULTURE Thankfully, almost everyone speaks English and I found Berliners to be very nice and happy, even eager to help a stranger. I received unsolicited help on several occasions due to what must had been my confused facial expressions.

After the collapse of the wall, a huge number of Turkish “worker immigrants” flocked to Germany. As a result, the Turkish population is huge. Sadly, I read that the unemployment rate among Turkish men is an extremely depressing 40%. Yes, that is not a typo.

The bar and club scene in defiantly more “rough” than in other areas of Europe. The fetish, leather and other nasty activities that I’d rather not discuss are all part of everyday life in Berlin, whereas they are more “outlier” or “extreme” activities in other cities. Darkrooms are pretty common in Europe, but HUGE darkrooms dominate ALL bars and clubs where all kinds of nastiness happen (use your imagination). Fliers for sex parties are so common that they’re posted in very public places like poles and the U-Bahn. Due to all of this, it takes a lot to surprise your typical Berliner.
Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of “normal” clubs and bars, whatever that may mean. Jose and I partied Thursday though Monday morning, so we had our fare share of craziness. The clubs we partied at were Kinzo Klub, Panorama Bar, Berghain and GMF @ CafĂ© Moskau. I was there for an additional 3 days after Jose left so I also went to Tom’s Bar and SO 36. On Thursday night at Kinzo Klub, Jose and I saw what was probably the most disturbing drag queen show that I’ve ever seen. I hope to get a copy of it from Jose and post it here. Watch for it…

My own pervious food experiences in Cologne and stories from friends didn’t raise my expectations all too high for German gastronomy. Thankfully, I was extremely impressed. I didn’t enjoy the German food as much as I enjoyed the food found in Germany. I say that because Turkish dishes dominate the gastronomy in Germany. Currywurst and Doner Kebabs are just two that immediately come to mind. The Turkish restaurants a lot offer a very reasonable value proposition for the amount of quality food you got. Of course, I readily took advantage of this.


Shopping is world-class. I was especially impressed with Kurfurstendamm. This s
treet is where you’ll find everything and anything that you’re looking for. I spent over 3 hours in KaDeWe, the self-described “Harrods of Continental Europe”.

The U-Bahn is extremely efficient, well-connected, fast and overall a joy to ride. Thankfully, the weather was much warmer than I expected. That didn’t stop it from being cloudy, though. Most of the time it was warm enough where I left my winter coat in the apartment and walked around in a sweatshirt and light jacket. The last night I was there it finally snowed, which was a nice surprise (and very pretty).

The apartment that Jose and I rent was basically brand new, very nice, clean and well located (Kreuzberg).
Jose made an interesting observation that most of the tourism is based on a multiple horrific historic events. This leaves you very sober as you explore the city. It’s not a “happy feeling” city by any stretch of the imagination.

Many of the streets are unbelievably huge (wide and long).

I felt like I wanted to experience more of Berlin, so you can bet I’ll go back in the future.

More to come soon on FlickR.


"We act as though comfort and luxury are the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about." - Charles Kingsley

"To raise someone's expectations then not fulfill them is worse than mediocrity." - Seth Godin

"Leave the house before you find something worth staying in for." - Banksy

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Berlin > Barcelona

I am back in Barcelona after 8 great days in Berlin. Thoughts and photos will be posted once I'm caught up on email, reading and all of the "other" stuff that pilled up while I was gone.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Berlin Update

Keeping busy and having lots of fun in Berlin. I have limited access to internet so no updates until I return to Barcelona on the 8th.