A Kiss Of Life

August 26, 2009

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Clear summer nights make for good stargazing, even if I only get to engage in the activity while walking from point A to point B. During the flight over to Spain, I spent a good amount of time admiring the night sky from my window because I could not for the life of me fall asleep. The big dipper was so distinct, as it is the only constellation besides Orion’s Belt that I can actually identify. On the morning of our return trip, I killed a little bit of time by admiring the last few bits of night sky. The bleach white of the crescent-shaped moon was low in the sky, and a sole star beamed brightly – much brighter than the others – just a short distance away at about two o’ clock. A few minutes later, as we hustled to exit the apartment and get on our way to the airport, Maria’s father asked me,

“So, did you see Venus?” So I had been admiring Venus. I learn something new every day.

Just yesterday I was speeding through my dead town on my bicycle in the wee hours of the morning when I decided to take a peek. The indigo backdrop looked as though it had been splattered with sporadic drops of bleach. The empty streets allowed me to get lost in the expanse without worrying about my surroundings, and at some points it felt as though gravity was going to let me go and I was going to begin falling quickly but steadily up into outer space. I would splash into the deep murky sky-waters, throwing all of the stars out of their formation, rippling and shaking and causing disarray in the universe. As I turned onto Franklin, I slowly awoke from my daydream-or in this case, night dream but I wasn’t actually asleep. As I readjusted to paying attention to the road, I noticed a rosy color beginning to seep into the sky over the rooftops. Dawn was slowly beginning to arrive from the east. In a few hours time, day would come and life would begin to pick up pace and flood the pathways that are left empty as my playground at night. I’m going to miss summer.

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I Wish I Were A Tree

August 20, 2009

Proof that our world is crumbling: they have cut down yet another tree on my usually leafy green street. The large elm outside of my neighbors’ house has been chopped away, allowing more sunlight than ever to shine down onto my front porch. But I don’t want to see sky, especially not now when it is only filled with grey clouds that threaten rain and promise humidity. I’d much rather be hidden from the UV rays, because I’ve gotten plenty of those this summer. Also, it’s been hitting 90 all week, and I can’t be inside without suffering from the ever-present allergens that plague my house and my sinuses. Shade has been my best friend since my return to the States.

tree hugger, nature lover, whatever you want to call it

tree hugger, nature lover, whatever you want to call it

This is the third tree I’ve seen disappear so far this summer. The sickening sounds of chainsaws hacking at a trunk were inescapable this morning. The only peace that could be found was on a short trip to Small World, an impulsive act driven by my desire for a decent cup of iced coffee. Now, with my driving lesson having been postponed until 1:30, I have found that there is nothing better to do than sit on my porch and give the borough workers dirty looks. Or maybe I’ll ask them if they’re ever going to replace the trees, which they should be doing anyway. This poor bearer of oxygen and shade had no need to die.


Kids These Days

August 16, 2009

What I’ll probably miss most about Barcelona is being able to talk loudly in public places about anything because almost everyone here speaks Catalan, Spanish and not a word of English.

Best Purchase Ever?

Best Purchase Ever?

A bunch of delinquents on the train the other day were completely oblivious to our loud and insulting observations. Quite frankly, they were the best people that I have watched so far this trip. Well, besides the naked tattooed man who passed us on La Rambla. So anyway these children, who were probably older than us, were causing such a ruckus. They were singing, making farm animal noises, laughing hysterically about things which I could not understand but Maria, fluent in Catalan, roughly translated for me. They made fun of a man sitting across from them, they pressed their bronzed faces to the dirty train windows and used their breath to make hearts and letters and I think anarchy symbols. They wore black. The sole boy had a full beard, long dark hair which was secured into a ponytail, wore a band t-shirt for some group I’ve never heard of and can’t recall, and had 666 tattooed on his left arm.

His girlfriend, whom Maria and I decided was the best looking of all of them and could do better than that guy, sat next to him. She had large brown eyes and black hair that hung down to her chest in loose ringlets. She wore shorts, flip-flops and a black button up shirt that had a Slipknot patch ironed on to the sleeve. They made out often and the two other girls who were with them would start singing and clapping when they did. The two girls, one who was infinitely more obnoxious than the other, would also kiss each other on the cheek, as if to mock the two lovebirds sitting parallel to them. The obnoxious one wore her hair half up in a high bun, with a large lock of it separated and hanging down lifelessly to her chin. She had a pointy nose and a constantly moving mouth which smacked away at a piece of gum and sported two lip rings on the bottom lip in a fashion which I have never seen before. The other girl was almost invisible to me. She wore dark eyeliner on her bottom lid and had yellow hair. She was boring, and mostly just laughed and sang along when the others sang. The highlight of the ride was when the guy un-did his ponytail while they were singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” and spun his hair around like he was headbanging.

He would be proud

He would be proud

They put on quite a show for us. I had front row seats, as I was facing them, but Maria (who has no reservations and always stares at people even when I tell her to stop) kept having to crane her neck so that she could see what was happening behind her. I kept her updated by giving her a play-by-play of everything that was going on as it happened. Every so often the guy and I would lock eyes and I would look away quickly, embarrassed. But then I would remember that the chances of me ever seeing them again were slim to none, and I would continue observing.


Calafell!

August 13, 2009

Four days of laying and playing in the sun has turned me browner, but I still have a slight yet noticeable shorts tan. Ridiculous. I’ve decided that after spending hours in the warm water of the Mediterranean, the Jersey Shore will never be the same.

So on top of skin cancer and getting sand in every single orifice of my body (gross) I got to eat even more food and explore even more of Spain. On the day of our arrival to Calafell, which is where Maria’s grandparents, who are awesome, reside in the summertime, I got to try snails.

Escargot!

Escargot!

They were delish. To eat them, the snail had to be fished out of the shells with a toothpick and then the poop had to be pulled off of the end. Nasty! But eating a snail is just like eating any other shell fish, it has the same rubbery texture. The flavor was exotic, kind of fishy, and Maria’s grandmother made them in a spicy red sauce (I have had so many tomatoes on this trip), which burned my tongue. All in all, it was still much more than what I had expected.

We also got to go snorkeling which was amazing even though I’m blind without my glasses/contact lenses. We swam around with the little fishes and climbed all over the giant rocks that surround the water and bathed in the sun on said rocks. The coral tickled my belly and the sudden movement of a fish swimming out of a little hiding spot scared the bejeebies out of me. New Jersey is going to be such a buzz kill.


Child’s Play

August 9, 2009

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Life is all fun and games when you want it to be. I was taught how to laugh at myself when I was nine years old by a camp counselor. Ever since then, it’s been something that I’ve been good at. I can handle humiliation, I’ve learned how to take a joke. I feel like people are in too much of a hurry to grow up, and many never find the time to see the humor in things. Some lack a good sense of humor, which sucks for them. I think that in the end, it’s all jokes anyway. The whole world is a joke, and we’re obliviously playing along. Maybe one day we’ll get it, but until then the joke’s on us.

Spanish Excursion # 2

Aujourd’hui, Maria and I went to Tibidabo, which is an amusement park located on a mountain with a gorgeous view of Barcelona. I’m pretty sure that we made it to all of the rides, with the exception of all the little kid ones that we’re way too good for. And also probably don’t fit into. We went on Hurakan nine times and ended up soaked to the bone. We also went on the Pendul, a giant pendulum which took us 38 meters into the air and then dropped us at the speed of 100 km/h and holy shit I thought I was going to die. But after the first two swings, it turned from OH MY FUCKING GOD into delirious giggles. I like it when it feels like I am flying and I love the feeling I get when my stomach drops to the bottom of my toes. It tickles. Well, after we got that ride checked off our list, Maria and I stood in line for an hour and a half to go into the Hotel Krueger, a haunted house featuring real actors portraying some of the scariest movie characters ever. Well, lets just say I’ve spent a good amount of time convincing myself that Jason Vorhees isn’t real, and this attraction contradicted everything anyone I’ve ever watched a scary movie with has ever told me. Hannibal Lecter is real, and he does want to sauté my lungs for dinner. I ran out the emergency exit before we were even halfway through. At least I avoided Leatherface. Scary movies are my guilty pleasure but when they come to real life, we don’t mix well.

I’ve just got to remember that it’s all in my head.


Spanish Excursion #1

August 9, 2009

Ah! Catalunya! I arrived at 9 in the morning, braved customs, immediately found my suitcase and then found Maria’s smiling face waiting for me at the exit. I haven’t been this happy all summer! Spain is gorgeous, as is most of Europe. I always prefer Europe to the U.S., probably because I’m bored of where I’ve been. We arrived at her father’s apartment and I fell asleep. Planes are not my ideal sleeping areas, I watched Star Trek instead. After I woke up, we ate lunch (gazpacho!) and Maria took me out to see Terrassa. She showed me her ancient family history; her great-great grandfather, Lluis Muncunill, designed two beautiful and very original buildings in downtown Terrassa.

Masia Fresca, designed by Lluis Muncunill

Masia Fresca, designed by Lluis Muncunill

We also found the discoteca, which was desolate and creepy. It’s located in a gated warehouse community, and is covered in some of the coolest graffiti I have ever seen. Then we went shopping at H&M and the original Zara on La Rambla, which is really rad because it’s located inside of a beautiful old theater, and it still has the “CINEMA” and “LA RAMBLA” signs on the facade. I probably shouldn’t have gone shopping because the exchange rate is currently at Euro > Dollar. Damn. However, I don’t regret the one material purchase I made-awesome Hello Kitty socks! Day one has been a success.


APW09

August 8, 2009

Arctic Monkeys

 

I don’t know if it was the amazing view of the city and the statue, or that some of my favorite bands of all time were on the line up, or the fact that a good portion of my childhood was spent at that very park, but I felt right in place all weekend long.

The final band we got to see was MGMT, and I sacrificed a bit of their set so that I could hear Coldplay play Fix You and then cry really hard. I hate to sound sappy, but it’s one of those songs that makes me all nostalgic. In the front of the MGMT crowd, we met a group of fun dancers who kept complaining that everyone was in the crowd to hear Time To Pretend and Electric Feel. One of my pet peeves is people who complain that others only listen to groups for certain songs. Please get over yourself now. Anyway, they kept talking about how MGMT was going to play Kids last, but instead of Kids, the guys played one of their new songs, called Congratulations. This enraged me, because I love Kids, and it’s also criminal to play a new song last. The group of whiners got disappointed and left early, but I stayed. Of course, about three minutes after MGMT exited the stage, the beginning notes of-what else?-Kids began to play and the crowd went wild. Soon enough, the group of whiners were back to dance. Well, not so much dance as bounce along with the beat of the song.

On top of those two amazing groups, I got to see MSTRKRFT, which was a nonstop dance party and Crystal Castles, who weren’t as good as I had been expecting. Jay-Z was mind blowing, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were exactly what I expected and then so much more. Karen O sported an armband that read “Get well soon, MCA”. AWWWW.

Fun fact: Liberty State Park was built on a toxic waste dump. The rain made mud and the mud from the toxic waste was just rank. Probably the worst I’ve smelled in a while, but I was willing to make sacrifices.

Also, since when are Vampire Weekend from NJ?