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Barcelona: impressions revisited

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Barcelona, the host city of the World Mobile Congress taking place from 2-5 March, 2015.

Disclosure: I’ve never liked the city before. Difficult to drive in pre-navigator era, pickpockets, and little else as just a big city.

Nevertheless, a business project brought me here.In somewhat inopportune moment when the the congress takes place. 90.000 persons come to the city for the congress. My neat hotel raised prices an exact 2.3 times for the exact days of the congress and back to regular price just as from evening of the day the congress ends. And I have nothing more to do with “mobile” than any other everyday person.

Well, I should not complain too much. This time I somewhat even enjoy the city. Reminds me of London. Spanish-speaking London. Ok, Catalan-speaking!? Not really. 80-90 per cent of time the language I hear is the language I understand. And I understand Spanish, but not Catalan [at least, not yet]. And, yes, Catalans are 100 per cent bilingual. Actually, more than that – my feeling is that most Catalans have some functional level of English as well – a big difference from the rest of Spain.

What are the impressions? What instantly comes to mind are episodes like a man in suit and tie going on “motto” with a backpack. Motto is a scooter. And, of course, the scent of the city. What is the scent of Barcelona? Marijuana, what else. One call smell it almost everywhere. The pollution from cars in the city is not that high. You can breath most of the time. Its a privilege, not in every big city one can breathe.

What else? A lot the cafés run by Chinese. The only ones open at night. Often stinky, but surprisingly not ignored by locals. Think about movie Biutiful, the movie with Javier Bardem. No proof that reality is any better than the movie. Take a jarra, i.e. a pint of beer, in a bar. Then check Wikipedia for “hepatitis C” — is it true one can contract “C” from dirtiness.

But this is very subjective. I have a friend here. Drives €150k+ car, lives in an apartment with nice sea view, goes snowboarding to Andorra every second weekend, speaks almost no Spanish or Catalan. His perspective is probably very different from mine. Or may this is the way to go. In Barcelona, or elsewhere … Well, lived like this before in a different climate zone, it brings you down, although may be not in Barcelona … Barcelona is still a part of Spain where the average life expectancy is 82 years (ok, 79 yrs for men). And Spain has always impressed as it seems to be the only country in the world where it looks like everybody drinks and smokes all the time and, nevertheless, lives longer than almost in any other country in the world.

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Written by A.S.

March 5, 2015 at 12:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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