Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spanish Indignos Revolt

So begins the revolution....

They're calling themselves indignos (indignant people)...

...and Generation Tahir:

They're normal people, fed up with the disengaged Spanish government and it's inability to do anything about the unbelievable unemployment rate (41% for young workers) among other economic crises. They're camping out in Plazas across Spain, demanding the government do more:

Ted and I, along with friends from Oakland, Rebecca and Martin, went down to Plaza Catalunya last week to check out the scene. We couldn't help but smile to see so many people, united, peacefully demanding the government change, do something to help it's people.

But yesterday, the peace was abruptly broken at 7AM when the "acampada" in Plaza Catalunya was stormed by helicopter squads and attacked by policemen armed with rubber bullets and pepper spray. Sirens and screams could be heard all over Ciutat Vella - it felt like the entire city was under attack.

Police claimed they needed to clean the Plaza before tonight's Barca / Man U game, but this only enraged the protesters and prompted many more to join the fight. They barricaded exit roads and came at the police from all sides:

Photograph: Emilio Morenatti/AP

By 2PM, the police had surrendered and made a strategic, speedy exit. More people descended upon the Plaza, with groups setting up on the streets, blocking traffic and any further attempts to disassemble the camp:

This morning, the indignos responded to the attack by scrubbing the Plaza and refortifying the camp:

Photograph: LaVanguardia
The people, determined to maintain peaceful demonstrations until their voice is recognized by the government, are inspiring. Viva la revolucion!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Barsa Fever: Update

Maybe you don't have Barsa fever exactly...

but we know you've been waiting anxiously for our impartial update on what happened during those thrilling 18 days of four consecutive FC Barcelona (yay!) vs. Real Madrid (boo!) games, so here you go:

First up, La Liga, the first division league in Spain:
...long story, short, we (Barsa) are the Champions! 

The game vs. Madrid was an 1-1 empate (a tie), but the La Liga goes by points, and Barsa earned one more point than Madrid which prompted the Catalans to rage all, night, long:

The fight for Spain's Copa del Rey was a different story (who cares about that league anyway!) It was more of a brawl than a match with Madrid's players trying harder to injure our guys than pass the ball. Here we are at the end of 90 minutes of very tense, very rough play. Score: 0-0:

But in overtime, Madrid's Christiano Ronaldo slipped one past for a 0-1 loss:

BUT, there was a sliver lining to it all: 
Madrid's Sergio Ramos actually dropped the trophy from atop the party bus (agast!) and THEN the party bus smashed the Copa to smithereens (jajaja!) Watch here to see the sweet, sweet revenge:

Finally, the most important games of all - the Champion's League duals...

During the first match, on Madrid's turf no less,
Messi scored twice, Madrid's aggressive defender, Pepe, was finally red-carded for his outrageous fouls and Madrid's mercurial coach, Jose Mourinho was ejected from the game for mocking the ref:

It was magical. All of Madrid's pathetic antics finally caught up to them and the win sealed the deal for Barsa moving on to the Final Championship against Manchester United on May 28th. 

This is definitely one game not to miss.
Catch the fever! Go Barsa!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Views from Asturias

(northeastern Spain near Galicia),
is mostly rolling green hills and the occasional happy cow...

But also has beautiful old cities by the beach....

Water flows freely...

 As does the sidra, an alcoholic beverage made from apples which is poured like so:

Or like, so, if you have a porcelain Asturiano man siting on your table:

Our friend, Jano, invited us to his hometown of Gijon, for the weekend:

In Gijon, people of all ages gather in the plaza to share sidra...

 And more sidra...

And nobody goes home until the wee hours of the morn. This is the lively scene at 4AM, when I was ready for sleepy time:

  But the next day, if you're lucky, Jano's Mom will serve you up a hearty lunch. Here we're eating Fabada, a traditional stew of many pig parts, white beans and a kale-like vegetable. !Riquisima!

We had a great time with the Silva family in Asturias.
!Gracias por todo!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter in the Country

Last weekend, we were invited to the country, to Terra Alta, a beautiful rural region, two hours south of Barcelona, to spend Easter with friends - Nuria and Pau - and their families. 

Upon arrival in Gandesa, we realized why Nuria goes to her pueblo so often: the lush green flora, dramatic mountain landscape and tranquil country roads make Terra Alta a true Medeterrian Paradise:

We were greeted by her exhuberant father, who gave us a tour of the world though his liquor collection:

And by her mother, who made several traditional meals rivaling only those my grandmother's Texas cooking. Unfortunately, we didn't snap any photos of the squid with white beans or slow-roasted chicken or home-made lasagna with beschamel sauce she made. Cheers to Senora Cid-Puey!

The next day, we headed to Pau's family house in Horta de Sant Joan, a town famous for it's beauty but also for having hosted Pablo Picasso for several months in 1898 when he and a friend lived in a cave and painted like madmen. This could have been the view from their cave:

Before arriving, we stopped off in a nearby medieval town, Valderrobres, to see a traditional Good Friday procession of Nazerenos:

As soon we saw these white cone hats, Nuria and I were ready run for the hills:

Nazarenos pre-date the KKK by a thousand years, but they still have a dominating, oppressive presence, especially, when the scary creatures start banging very loudly, in unison, on large drums:

Fortunately, we had a nice, cozy house to go home to. This is Pau, his mother and his 91-year-old grandfather:

On Easter morning, there were no colored eggs or hunts of any kind, but the Bunny did come:

And we ate him!

During the reminder of the five hour lunch, Ted received more hazing by the Fortuno brothers, Pau's father and uncle, who appreciated that the American knows a thing or two about home-made liquors:

Later, we wandered around the medieval streets of Horta,

And realized why the young Picasso stayed here so long.

Sunday also happened to be the day of Horta's Annual Fast Painting Contest, which may or may not have anything to do with Picasso. Every year, hundreds of painters set up their easels around town and paint from 9am-6pm:

I could have stayed all day, watching the painters work and admiring Horta's beauty. Picasso once said, "Everything I know, I learned in Horta."

This is the view from Pau's kitchen window:

And this is "L'Horta de Saint Joan" by Pablo Picasso.

It was a wonderful weekend and one Easter we'll never forget!

Bones Pasqües! 
I moltes gràcies a l'Cid Puey-família i la famíliaFortuno-Estrada per un cap de setmana bonic.