"Do you think" I said to Thieu yesterday, "That Spanish kids who can´t lisp have to see speech therapists?" Thieu rolled his eyes and ignored me but I persisted. "They might get teased at school by the other kids." We were walking around the fort on the hill (Montjuic) which is one of those places that if you try to head towards you never seem to reach, but if you are planning to go somewhere else suddenly you round a corner and there it is.
A man rode by on a bike followed by a stream of stray cats. He dismounted and pulled several tins of food from his bag. I wished I could have introduced him to the pigeon-loving man who, of everyone in the square, had chosen me the day before to sit next to and start feeding pigeons. Not just the scattering crumbs on the ground kind of feeding, but the cover yourself in crumbs and let them crawl all over you sort. Most unpleasant. If the cat-loving man got together with the pigeon-loving man he could drastically reduce the cost of pet food.
The weather was turning nasty by the time we walked back down the hill and we stopped for dinner at an Indian restaurant playing a Bollywood movie set in Sydney. My head started to swim. Thieu chose lamb and I thought of the meaty creatures I´d observed in the market that morning - whole but skinned, as if they´d accidently stepped outside without their coats, their eyeballs staring wildly off in different directions.
1.Everyone smokes in Barcelona - the chefs smoke as they deliver food to the front counter, the waiters smoke as they serve the food up onto plates for you, customers light up while they wait in delis, babies puff on cubans in their prams. You wake to the hacking coughs of birds.
2.The best time to walk around is early in the morning, when the jetlag has insisted that you´ve had quite enough sleep for one day. None of the shops open until ten, and even then you sense it is with a certain amount of reluctance. They begrudgingly stay open until 1, then close again for a couple of hours.
3. No matter what direction you head in, you always end up on the main street, La Rambla. There are many human statues on this street. Human statues in Barcelona are no better than human statues in Melbourne.
4. The beds are too short for anyone over 6 foot. Thieu is currently sleeping with his feet resting on a chair positioned at the end of the bed.
5. The Gaudi buildings look a little like hobit holes inside, but with more light. They actually look like they would have been very comfortable to live in. The fact that the early 20th century Spanish public loved his buildings is a testament to their open-mindedness. I doubt if he would have received the same reception in Australia or even England.
6. Some Gaudi houses look like they´re made of gingerbread. With icing. And smarties.
7. All the walking is making me constantly hungry.
8. Barcelonians are able to walk vast distances in short amounts of time. The young guy at the tourist info centre yesterday told us that he was able to walk a 900 km stretch of the Pilgrim´s path in 20 days. How was this possible? we wanted to know.¨"I was meditating" he told us "And when you meditate you fly." Thieu thought this a remarkably economical way to go. "Perhaps we too could try to meditate and then fly?" he said. The young man looked at us distainfully. ¨"No. That´s just for me."