# 14 – goodbye Barcelona (memories of Barcelona a year later – a series)

Sorry for the delay. Life got in the way a bit. Here’s the last installment.
~~

27 September 15

I was ready to be home, simply for the fact that there was no more time to do anything.

We tried to find something to eat but it was so early, there weren’t many places open.

Sonia & Eric drove us to the airport and came in with us, which initially annoyed me. (This will be a running theme for the day).

Barcelona is an amazing city, but the airport leaves a lot to be desired. It is chaotic and a bit of a nightmare. However, we finally found where we needed to check in. We didn’t quite want to say goodbye, but there wasn’t really anywhere to hang out. So we said our tearful goodbyes to Sonia & Eric and got in line for security. I was no longer annoyed that they had come in with us.

It turns out it was a good thing we’d gotten in line because it was for passport control and was super long, and by the time we got through it, it was almost time to board.

Mom was wearing sunglasses as we waited, which annoyed me (I told you). But then we realized that she was crying, and I felt terrible. While I was just eager to start the long journey back, my mom was leaving her homeland, and she was sad. I calmed the ‘f’ down, and we finally boarded to head to Atlanta.

We had 3 seats together in the middle aisle. Between the two flights, I watched 6 movies, but I only remember 4 of them (Inside Out, Get Hard, The Wedding Ringer, and Into the Woods). I was trying to stay awake because when we got to LA, it would be 7 pm.

When we got to Atlanta, we had to go through security again. That’s when we discovered that Mom had put the oro de Toledo letter opener in her carry-on bag. I had to rush back to a counter to have it checked. I told Mom & Sandy to go on and that I’d catch up with them. Atlanta has a huge airport, but I made it just in time. We were the last ones on the plane (again).

Mom & I had aisle seats, and Sandy was next to me at the window. I don’t remember much from that flight. I probably watched some of those movies I mentioned.

When we got to LAX, we got our luggage and found a taxi to take us to La Mirada. Mary & Dewey were there with Dad. It was good to see him. We were tired, but we chatted with them a bit. It was difficult to encompass two incredible weeks to chit-chat. We went to bed around 9 pm.

The next day (Monday, 9/28/15), we caught up with Dad. He had had to go to the ER once. Mary ended up taking care of him better than the nurses who came by. We told him stories and showed him the album that Sonia had made for us. Suddenly it was nearly time to leave to take Sandy to the airport and for me to drive back to San Diego. There were teary goodbyes all around. And the vacation was over.

 

# 6 – Bus Turistic & Tibidabo (memories of Barcelona a year later – a series)

Here’s today’s installment!
~~

19 September 15

I woke up with a cold 😦

Today was the day we would ride the Bus Turistic, thanks to the free tickets from Melanie. We went to Farga to get something for breakfast. Since I wasn’t feeling too great, I opted for orange juice to go with my magdalena. Before the bus, we stopped at the pharmacy where, after hearing my symptoms, they gave me a powder anti-histamine. I poured it into my OJ and drank it down.

I need to make a quick aside about the magical pharmacies of Barcelona. Remember my leg pain? After a day and a half or so of using the cream I’d gotten at the first pharmacy, my legs were completely cleared up. Plus I wore compression socks everywhere from then on (the day I got the rash or whatever it was, I hadn’t worn the socks) and didn’t have any issues. Then this anti-histamine was also miraculous. You’ll read below, but seriously, there’s practically a pharmacy on every corner, they have things to deal with just about anything. Mom had gotten some stuff to manage her blister, too, which was helping, but it was still there, and huge.

Back to Bus Turistic. We started out on the top level of the bus. It was kind of a cooler morning, but it was still nice. It’s an audio tour, so as the bus drives around, the audio tells you what you’re seeing. I took a couple pics.

There are three routes of the Bus Turistic. We started on blue, then we changed to red. The bus is a hop-on/hop-off tour so there are multiple buses running all the time. When we switched to red, the top of the bus was full, so we sat in the bus. It was not as good. The windows are decorated or wrapped and it impedes the visuals out the windows. I think on the red route, we went up through Olympic Park. I was feeling rather miserable. We didn’t hop off anywhere. But then we decided to change to the green route. When that bus came, there was room on top, but since I didn’t want to be in the open air with my cold, I stayed inside while Mom & Sandy went up top.

The green route is kind of boring, no big sites, so the bus was pretty empty. It was awesome for me because that’s when the anti-histamine kicked in. It was not a non-drowsy formula, so I snoozed on the bus. I did manage to get these shots either between catching some winks or after.

We decided to get off at Port Olimpic/the beachfront to have some lunch. Mom remembered going to some restaurant with her mom before and was trying to figure out which one. We went up and down the area where the restaurants are, looking, checking out the menu del dia. Finally, we selected El Cangrejo Loco (The Crazy Crab). I was starting to feel better, but then lunch came and everything was better! This meal was one of my favorites. I had for primero a big ol’ plate of Iberico ham. Gah! So good! I also had calamares and then spaghetti con shrimp. For dessert, crema catalana which is like a crème brulee but is lemony instead of vanilla-y.

day-6b-el-cangrejo-loco3-crema-catalana

We also had a great view!

day-6b-el-cangrejo-loco1-la-playa

We all really liked this restaurant.

day-6b-el-cangrejo-loco2-grupo

By the time we were done, it was like I’d never even had a cold (miracle pharmacy!) We hopped back on the bus, this time on the red line again. It was much less crowded so we were all on top. I took lots of photos!

At one point, we hopped off near Paseo de Gracia because that’s where 2 of Gaudi’s most famous structures are located: Casa Batllo and La Pedrera (more on those later)

We hopped back on, and I took more photos of the amazing architecture all over the city.

The bus also stopped at La Sagrada Familia, another Gaudi work. We didn’t get off the bus because we knew we were going to come here another day. Still, when it’s right there, you can’t not take photos. Lots more on that later, too.

We ended up back on the blue route which took us back to where we’d gotten on the bus in the morning. The bus handily stopped right near where you get on Tramvia Blau to go up to Tibidabo. So many memories came to me on this ride up the mountain, and then on the funicular up to the top. The tram/car that goes up the street to the funicular passes through some cool neighborhoods with gorgeous houses. Maybe Mom told me this, but I thought of this neighborhood as I read “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The funicular is exactly the same as when I was a kid. It’s equally fascinating and scary. I don’t know if Mom & Sandy were having similar thoughts.

We weren’t going up there to ride anything but just to look at the city. We hit the jackpot. It was clear and not too dark yet. We took photos of the park itself (so old-fashioned!),

of the view,

a nice person took photos of us,

and then the light was hitting the church in such a way that we were crazy trying to capture it.

We also had churros and walked around a little bit. We went down the mountain around 8 pm. We bought some bread. We went up to El Putxet again, then we went home, had sandwiches, and went to bed. Saw so much of the city today. I am so in love with it.

a reading

In late February, I was featured at a reading, along with some other poets. It was at a house. Think house concert, but with poetry. It was really cool.

The host was an old poet friend of mine, Adrian. I honestly can’t remember how, where, or when I met him, but he was a Taco Shop Poet and he’s friends with my former professor, Quincy Troupe.

I was excited for this reading because it was a new crowd for me. My friend, The Becky, attended with me. They had homemade tostadas for the crowd plus beer and wine. It was a great spread.

He said I would be kicking off the show, which was fine with me. The bummer was that right before I was to go on, and I mean, literally right before, I developed the beginnings of a cold sore. I mean WTF? Why then? I didn’t feel especially nervous or anything. I just suddenly got a tiny little bump on my bottom lip. I felt very self-conscious about it, but I don’t think it was quite visible yet. But so weird!

Anyway, I gave my reading, and I was totally on. I read some old pieces, but they’re very familiar and they were new to most of the audience. I killed. Here’s a photo of me at the mic. He had musicians there to back up the poet if he/she wanted it. I had them play on a couple pieces. I don’t really like it, but it wasn’t bad.

Adrian's It was a fun evening, and it felt good to be so well-received.

Just a little highlight from February!

poetry friends

Today, after binge-watching the second half of the last season of “Parenthood” and prepping dinner for tonight, I drove up to Escondido to see an old friend, Rick Lupert, perform his poetry at an art gallery. My friend, Robt, hosts the reading. I was a little late, but I caught most of Rick’s feature, then stuck around for the open reading.

I read the poem I wrote for this year’s Star of India show. The photo is from the day of the show as I was finishing it.

Rick is a very funny poet, but he also has poignant moments. I can’t say that we’re very close, but there’s something between those of us who were coming up in the late 90s in the poetry scene in Orange County. True, I lived down here, but I’d drive up a bunch, and I’m happy to say that I’m friends (at least on FB!) with many of the poets I saw and read with regularly.

And of course, Robt, a partner in crime. I don’t get to see him very often, but I know he knows I love him, and I know he keeps up with me and Han and what’s going on with us.

After the reading, I drove home and just relaxed, took a shower. Han got home, and I put dinner in the oven. I made a chicken parm casserole that was a little weird. I don’t know if I’d make it again, but the flavor is okay.

Back to work tomorrow. I had brought my laptop home thinking I’d be productive, but between unraveling and binge-watching, the laptop didn’t get any action.

pre-juice

There’s nothing like knowing you won’t be able to eat something to make you want to eat ALL OF THE THINGS.

But our juice arrived today, and we start tomorrow. Should be interesting.

I had therapy today, and it was kind of rough. I think I may have realized something today. I’m not ready to talk about it. And may not ever talk about it here. But I hope it will be good. Anyway, it kind of left me in a daze and I was totally unproductive at work, so when Han said the juice had arrived (in 2 huge boxes), I came home to make room in the fridge and to try to relax.

Now, Han is off doing some listening so I’m catching up on work and I’m flipping between two baseball games: Padres vs. Dodgers, and D’backs vs. Giants. Both Padres and Giants are behind. Hope to do a bit more watching/listening to games this season. Padres finally have a decent team, and the Giants, like the Pads before them, seem more like family in an indirect way because of the Flan connection.

today’s draft

Digging for Air

tears came quickly today
the aftermath heavy
like wearing wet wool
into the deep end

if you take the plunge
you have to be ready
for the rush

water covers your ears
so you can’t hear anything
except the ringing echo
of nothingness

your eyes are closed
so you can’t see anything
except the wavy blackness
of isolation

you try to keep your mouth shut
but the act of leaping
makes you scream at the last minute

you forget you can’t swim
and you find yourself clawing
kicking, thrashing
trying to find the surface
escape the nothingness
abandon the isolation

aching for music
yearning for beauty
digging for air

MIA

Sorry folks. April 10 had a terrible backache. April 11 was just tired. And tonight, April 12 was tax time!

The back is better, still tired, but I’m getting a refund.

I’ll try to catch up on poems this weekend. Until then, please discuss this stop sign cozzee that somebody made. It’s right on my street.

20120412-225651.jpg

20120412-225714.jpg

20120412-225726.jpg