Monday, January 10, 2005

The holiday season is particularly busy in this town. Added to that are the last minute tidying required at work. Luckily, one of those last minute untidiness required me to make a quick jump to Barcelona. A near perfect town. I was only there for three days but it was still enough to eat a drink myself towards bliss. I am a fat man in a skinny body. I love to eat. I wish I had less socialization that would allow me to reach over a stranger’s table and shove a handful from their plate into my mouth, as I remain leaning over their table humming in bliss of the flavour of the pilfered nourishment. “Mmmmmmmm”.

Until then, I am content to eat from my own plate with appropriate silverware I am at those Basque tapas bars where the bill is tallied by the toothpicks left on your plate. These places are easy to fin just look for the ‘x’s in their names. Besides endless fantastic food and drink, the city itself has a great texture. The museums only contain a fraction of the town’s art. The streets themselves contain the vast majority. You can wander through the old town, look at the tiny gallery or artisan shops, never see the awe inspiring sites such as La Sagrada Familie, or Parc Guelle, and still feel you made a great visit.

Christmas time is also a great time for Barcelona. They have unusual Christmas traditions in Barcelona, and the Christmas market near the cathedral is the place to become acquainted. First is the caganer which I believe simply translates as the ‘shitter’. It is a Catalan tradition to have in every manger scene a guy behind the bushes taking a shit. That’s right. Baby Jesus. Mary. Joseph. The three magi and some guy smoking a pipe wearing a beret laying ass cable. Nowadays, you can get caganers in the form of a businessman, politicians, and even a bishop. The nativity scene is a pretty serious business. Some of the kits cost several hundred Euros and with these high-end manger scenes come a very well crafted caganer. The turd still dangling from his ass cheeks looks very realistic. I opted for the cheap plastic one. I queued up behind a young and sharply dress couple buying their first nativity scene for their new house. When they had finished their transaction. I stepped up to the elderly Catalonian woman. I gave her a smile and said in the best Spanish I could muster, ‘One shitter, please.’ The other tradition that I had explained to me at dinner later after seeing several stalls selling nothing but logs with two legs and painted on eyes. His name is uncle Pepe. Catalan children at Christmas find the uncle Pepe filled with candies. The children then take a stick and beat the uncle Pepe log. Eventually the candies begin to fall from (guess where? that’s right!) its ass. They also sing a song as the literally beat the ‘shit’ out of this log. This is a culture I can do business with.

Ahh. But now. The holiday season is over. I’m back in the office and back to the usual grind of procrastination and mouse clicking my way through the Internet.

P.S. Today I taught my spell checker the words; turd, shitter, and Pepe.

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