November 21, 2005

Really Cool Shots in BCN, Bikes, Cars, Stores, and More!

Now that the rains have stopped I'm able to go walking around a bit more. I even rode on the Metro today. I thought the metro was the bus system, but it's a really cool underground subway system that traverses the city. It's pretty cheap, too, by US standards. Walking to the station I found this bitchin' little ride. Who says you need big rims to pimp!

Fiat 500 by Abarth (tuning house)

It's like a cooler Mr. Bean mobile!

Check the rest of these out, I think they're even cooler!

A common sight here in the bars/restaurants are these! This is Jamon (Ham-own), a pigs leg. It's quite popular and a nice one can set you back about $125 or more! They slice it really thin (it's half fat, too!) and then put it on pieces of bread with oil and tomato sauce. It's pretty good, but not what I want for my main meat diet.

On a more practical note, I ran into a couple Gringas last night at a language interchange event, all of whom had horror stories concerning robbery. I met a tough chick from NYC and she immediately told me that her purse got stolen off her chair while she was having a coffee at Starbucks last week. Another American girl, from LA, told me that three bags (her's and her two friends') got lifted at a popular restaurant while they were sitting with a couple of big guys. In all cases, nobody saw anything, and lost money, credit cards, and passports was the result. To the two girls it was a sort of bonding experience for them, since they both could relate to getting robbed and they laughed it off as if it was part of their initiation to Europe. I don't want to join that club at all! I'm a little paranoid now, locking my bag to chairs and tables when I sit down. Also, there are plenty of scams to distract you while you get jacked. A popular technique is to pick a fight and then you get jumped by a couple of guys. Another technique is the "chess" game. A guy offers to beat you in three minutes and while the crowd gets into the game and is watching intently, someone slips through the crowd and pick-pockets everyone. Genius! If I hadn't heard about this I might have fallen for it because I'm a chess nut. Earlier today, my roomate, Patricia, was walking down the street in front of her workplace. Five 12 year old boys ran up, tried to grab her purse, and wrestled her cell phone from her hand. She threw her purse in the street, lost the phone to them, and despite her screaming and yelling no one helped her or chased the kids down. Freaky-Deeky.

So being in a foreign country and a strange culture is a little shocking to say the least. Fortunately I prepared for this by watching a great movie called "Lost in Translation". I misunderstood the movie the first time but it's been getting clearer for me lately. So with all the walking I've been doing around the city one thing has become clear. BOB HARRIS is the bomb! Or should I say. . . .. ED HARRIS is the BOMB! He's all over this place. This is one of many bus stop ads I've seen with him, and there are ads and billboards everywhere.

So I've had motorcycles on my mind for the last couple days. After walking around for the last couple weeks it's apparent to me that I need some wheels. Two of them. Badly. But there's so much variety and I don't want to blow the bank, so I'm thinking about getting a scooter! Two stroke? Four stroke? Hmmm. Get a small one and supe it up? Get a larger four stroke (like a Honda Dylan 150cc!) so I can motor up through the Pyrenees? ARGH!! This is the longest I've been without a bike in YEARS! Here's a real motorcycle that I found walking around. My buddy Josh really likes the F4i's, so Josh -- this is for you!

It's for sale!!! But, I don't want to deal with the hassle of taking care of a "real" motorcycle right now, and mopeds can park anywhere they want, it seems. Besides, the automatic scooter is appealling to me because you can use your cel phone and smoke at the same time while you're riding around! Trust me, I was riding on the back of an ancient Honda Scoopy while the driver was smoking and talking on the phone. While we were weaving in and out of traffic!! Soooo much better than the 101 commute :)
P.S. it was not immaculate!

Also, I've seen quite of few of these things running around. I need to make some new friends and see if I can get ahold of one for an afternoon! Later this week I'm working on a Honda Dominator, 650cc single. I can already see it now. . . .change the gearing and the jetting and it'll be Wheelie-City!

After going to several local grocery stores I finally made it to a super store called El Corte Ingles! There are several of them in every major city in Spain and they carry everything, from household goods, foods, high end clothing, electronics, every cel phone you can think of (as well as the various companies and plans), and more. They are usually stand alone buildings comprised of six or eight levels. My roomates told me you can even buy cars and motorcycles through El Corte Ingles! Since I'm not looking for clothes and cars I went downstairs and found this:
About time!

I know there are women who read this thread, and when the subject of Europe comes up it's always fashion, fashion, fashion! It's true. The clothes and styles here make the stuff we wear in the US look like we all shop at Walmart. I feel like Americans look like the characters from Napoleon Dynamite (the movie), and the Europeans are on a whole other wavelength. With the relatively healthier diet here I think the majority of people are more fit compared to the US. And believe me -- when they got it, they flaunt it! I thought this was kind of neat: Not sure what country they're from, but maybe I'll meet one of these bear people in a club and find out.

Not that I'm buying, but I thought this was funny. I always thought Benetton was a high end women's store, not a store to get women's end's up high. Found this in a little Belgian Bar, Belchica, the only Belgian bar in town! They're very proud of their beers, and everytime I go in someone approaches me and asks if I've had "this" or "that". No Guiness here, either, so that negated my initial plan to "drink" my dinner. I sprung for a fancy beer last night and the honest truth is that I don't like fancy beers. Too fruity, or sweet, or bitter, or chocolatey. WTF is wrong with a good, simple beer?!?

Here's a nice example of copyright infringement! I found this surplus/fashion store in a crusty area of town last night. The neighborhood was the west Raval area and was populated by Moroccans, mostly, and a couple of East Indians and Afrikans. It was a little dangerous and I kept a sharp eye out and my ears open! As I continued walking I saw the local police shaking down some street kids and going through their pockets for pick-pocketed items. Why would five boys have a beautiful, red and white girl's jacket?

I became a modern age soccer fan during the last World Cup in Korea/Japan, in '02. I would stay up until 2:30AM watching the midnight game, then wake up to watch the 4AM game! For two weeks I was in sports fanaticism heaven. A big match was coming up here in Spain between the two largest cities. The newer big money city and the older, more artsy, hipster city. And so it was that last Saturday night I went out to try and watch the giant Futbol match between Real Madrid (the big money team with Zidane, Beckham, Ronaldo, the list goes on -- they're like the Yankees or something!) and Barcelona (Barca, with a far less good looking team but awesome players nonetheless!). The whole city was out of the house for this one. Every bar with a tv was standing room only and people would stand in the cold on the streets to try and get a glimpse of the match. When a goal was scored the people would shout and go crazy, setting off fireworks and other exposives throughout the city. In unison, every car on the road would blare it's horn and it was a frenzy of Futbol Madness. There is a huge rivalry between these teams, moreso than Oakland/49ers, and it ran deep! Normal people became blood-thirsty, rabid fans, screaming insults and death threats at the tv. I couldn't believe my eyes, everyone, and I mean everyone, was into it. I barely knew what was going on, and was just trying to be inconspicuous so I wouldn't get mistaken for a Madrid fan! After the game, around 10 at night, I expected the city to settle down. Boy, was I wrong. I went walking with my roomates and people (middle aged couples, older people, roving gangs of soccer hooligans) were walking around for hours, into the two and three o'clock range. Everyone was wearing Barca colors and chanting in the street. I remember in '95 when the 49ers had just won the superbowl. The streets of SF were crowded and cars honked their horns, and sorry to say, it was Nothing like this. The first couple days after the game people were still talking about it. My mild-mannered roomate would casually complain about it (he's Argentinean but considers himself a Madrid fan) saying he would F*cking Kill so-and-so if he ever met him in person. I said, dude, it's just a game, what's the big deal?!? He said, yes, it's just a game, not that important. "But I would F*cking Kill him because This Is F*cking Futbol!" I backed away slowly and retreated into my room. Still, I love it when foreigners curse. I wonder if they think the same thing when I do?

Some of you may have heard of J-Bone (Johnny Ducati/Hacksaw Johnny) laying his chrome gas tanked Monster 750 down on the 101 morning commute last week. Another Barfer was there to make sure he was ok after sliding across three lanes, so props to that barfer! Since it's looking like his bike is not going to get up for a while (itsa tweak-ed) I thought I'd share some pics of a Chrome tanked bike I found here in the city! J-Bone, heal up and think about switching brands. . . .

I'm not sure, but chrome wheels don't seem to be the style here. Do the Europeans know about unsprung weight?

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