This is the Barcelona, above all, that I have come to know and to love in the past four years and more: the all-day and light-night vitality of my local café, Tris i Tras, in Plaça Molina; the chilled-out ambience of the xiringuito, El Bierzo, in the middle of the Nova Icaria beach; the Chilean waiter in Sant Gervasi who teaches me leftwing slogans in Mapuche justifying mass land-seizures; the Moroccan family I met on the beach at Barceloneta, who speak only Berber and Catalan; two Argentinean friends, expansive in their hospitality, who host me and my friends in their superchic cocktail-bar Mama-Shake, in Plaça Sant Cugat, one minute from the Santa Caterina market; my Australian co-author, long resident in Papua New Guinea, now a leading translator of Catalan literature, ensconced in her book-lined 18th-century flat in the Born, with the volumes of Joan Corominas as backdrop; my Icelandic designer friend, a formidable imbiber in her own right, who brings 40% proof liquor from her country; the Dominican hairdressers whose salon in Hospitalet is, on weekend afternoons, a social centre for the whole Latin American community, the sound of laughing women, merengue and bachata ringing forth; the Filipino waiter who, on advising me about the best meat dishes in his country, after indicating which can be taken with chicken, pork or beef, then whispers that, of course, the best is dog; my Catalan language teacher, a Palestinian from Los Angeles, whom I meet once a week for coffee and an exchange of linguistic and intercultural anecdotes; not least, my ever vivacious Cuban friend, who on her wedding-day declared to the guests that she was casada pero no capada (married but not neutered), addressing me as profesor gordo (fat professor). And many more.
Above all else, and to me the most universal, eternal and, in these precipitate 24/7 times most pertinent saying, is that philosophy of every Barcelona taxi-driver: O se vive para trabajar, o se trabaja para vivir (You either live to work, or work to live). This, more than any cascades of cava, baubles of Gaudi, or the forty-three varieties of pa amb tomàquet, is the message which Barcelona offers to the world. And, for which, many thanks.
http://www.opendemocracy.net/fred-halli ... real-thing