[Title of this post derived from Zhaobin's new word]
Just got home from Barcelona. Gorgeous place. So full of out-of-this-worldness. Take for example this disgustingly huge landmark known as the Sagrada Familia temple. It looks like a monument drizzled with tons of molten wax, and adorned with sculptures enacting tales of the Sacred Family, as well as a dude made out of gold who sits on a beam, lording over all the tourists that gawk skyward at him. The most amazing thing about this temple is neither its scale nor its imposing facade, but the fact that it has been under construction for nearly a century, and yet still looks to be that way for another half a century more. Forever a construction in process account.
There's also Park Guell, which is almost paradise on Earth. In it there's the famous little Gaudi dragon, a mosaic-covered water-spewing reptile that is never left alone because tourists are all over it for photographs. It's cute, but slightly overrated. I thought it would be huge and gaudy, but it's just little and gaudy. Years of intense sunlight have also faded out some of its resplendence.
Another of Gaudi's works is this. The Casa Batllo (in Spanish and Catalonian a double L is read with a Y sound). A marine-inspired apartment building that happens to be shoulder to shoulder with a booby Guess model. Guess was smart then, to place such a conspicuous advertisement next to a building as curious-looking as this. Plenty of people flock to take photographs of this architectural masterpiece. When they review their pictures, they probably go 'Oh the not-so-subliminal messages! I am going out to buy Guess products now!'
Of course apart from the amazing history and architecture of this colourful city, Barcelona is also notorious for its thieving little pickpocket scum population. The deftest and most feather-fingered professionals trawl the streets and public transportation systems looking for easy targets. Apparently they considered Melissa one of them (in fact I did too; just the night before we left for Spain I told her I wasn't going to stand near her because she looked like she was definitely going to get something stolen from her) and made off with her purse within two hours of us landing in Spain. Such a spain in the neck when you have no credit cards or money left.
It was marvellous though, that pickpockets come in all shapes and sizes, much like faeces does. The one that got her wallet was probably some batty old fart (the bus we were on was crowded out with frail folks with curly white hair and bent-over spines). Shame on them. So here's what not to do, if you're going to Spain, or most parts of Europe for that matter, where the artful dodgers live.
1) Put your back against the wall at all times when you're stationary. That way you can see those buggers approaching.
2) Quit yapping so much with your friend, because then you lose focus. Pickpockets love distracted targets.
3) Same thing with taking pictures; just don't be so absorbed. Unless you're intending to photograph your suspect.
4) Hands in your pockets at all times (it makes you look cooler too lol). This also draws attention away from the inside of your jacket, where your wallet really is.
5) Diversify. Applies to investments too. Financial markets are pickpockets too, if you haven't realised how many fortunes have been lost.
6) Conjure up a nasty disposition so thieves keep away. Nothing does a better job than a facial expression that promises a retribution worse than death.
7) Keep 'F*** you' notes in your pockets so thieves get a piece of your mind. That way even if they're successful, you get back at 'em. In a way.
8) Inflate your loss amount so your insurance reimbursement compensates everything, including your inconveniences.
What I really liked about Spain was also the whole concept of a siesta. You can get away with napping every afternoon and not have to worry about being labelled a sloth, because, like all great practices, it's simply explanable as culture.
And, because I just got back from Spain and am still adjusting back to my Italian lifestyle, I am going to have a siesta right now. Good night. Madrid update tomorrow.