Friday, November 09, 2007

Withdrawal Therapy for a Catalaniste

Barely 48 hours back in San Francisco, I've been looking reminders of Barcelona that are here, and surprisingly there are many more than one would realize. Although I consider most of the architecture here to be absolutely hideous -- too many pastels, overwrought Victoriana, and incongruent wrought iron -- sometimes there are points of beauty and subtlety. And, of course, this is a Mediterranean climate, and today was almost identical to what I was experiencing 72 hours ago as I descended Montjuïc and strolled through Poble Sec, a working class barrio that could almost pass for the Mission albeit a much cleaner and safer version of it.

Fortunately I'm off to have dinner with a couple of friends at Las Ramblas. This afternoon while running some errands in Union Square, I stepped into Zara. Besides liking about 90% of the items downstairs in the men's department, it was thrilling to be surrounded by male customers and staff, all of whom looked as if they'd just stepped off Passeig de Gracia and none dreary cargo-panted/vertical striped tedium of H&M or Old Navy or, for that matter, the $650 shirts at Barneys that could pass for $39 knock offs at Nordstrom Rack. I had to resist saying "Sí, pagaré con el plástico" as I put my items on the counter at the register.

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