THE BLOG
07/02/2007 10:46 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Missive from Barcelona

Waiting to board our flight for Barcelona I spotted a young Orthodox Jewish man at LAX and laughed to myself, hasn't anyone told them to comb out their hair once they take off their curlers? Then I turned and noticed a blond woman in her thirties. She was wearing what looked like a cheap tennis outfit with white high heels. I wondered what my mother would say since she still thinks you should dress up when getting on a plane. Then a young guy in gate 44 bent over to pick something up off the floor. He wore jeans hanging just under his butt. He wasn't really picking anything up; he just wanted to flash his underwear, which read something in big letters that I've long since forgotten. It's the same syndrome exhibited by young women in super low-cut jeans and cropped tops because they desperately need someone to see their tattoos. I ask you, who wants to see some stranger's ass, in his underwear or otherwise? Mr. Gate 44 wasn't treating the world to half his ass. It was his full-blown ass, and it was stupid. I'm showing my age, I'm sure, but I think it's a funny and stupid style, and so do L.A. cops, who apparently catch hoodlums a lot faster since that just outta jail look (as in, no belts) made its debut on the fashion scene... In any case, that's when I anointed myself Official Observer of people in Barcelona, as opposed to people in Los Angeles, and here's my report:

Barcelonans aren't all that different from Angelenos. They're pleasant and friendly. The majority weight is average, rather than obese; and although I expected chic and cosmopolitan, jeans and sneakers are the uniform of choice. But that's where the similarities end. While one can eat tapas any time of the day or night, I dare you to get a full meal before 10pm. Of course, in L.A., 10pm is the time all chefs and cooks head out for sushi. In Barcelona, at any given time of the day or night, everywhere you look there are cafes, restaurants and bistros packed with people smoking cigarettes (especially young people) and eating and talking. Furthermore, liquor is sold everywhere -- cafeterias, delicatessens, neighborhood lunch counters, and you can even walk out on the sidewalk with a beer in your hand without getting harassed! Even at one o'clock in the morning throngs of Barcelonans pound their charming stamped-concrete sidewalks, race around on mopeds or hop on busses and the metro to wherever it is they're going. In case you hadn't heard, in Barcelona, Gaudi rules. What wasn't built by Gaudi still drips Baroque or screams History!, unlike architecture in L.A., which is demolished every other day and rebuilt with no thought to surrounding character traits. The other thing I noticed is that there's a lot of kissing going on in the streets of Barcelona. At least four or five times a day, I've noticed people being romantic, which has inspired me to kiss my husband at inopportune moments. After 18 years of marriage, that's saying a lot, as in, maybe we should move to drop-dead gorgeous, red-velveted-with-black-leather-trim Barcelona.

Other observations of note: friendly art dealers; not too many people of color; a preponderance of young Caucasians with dreadlocks; when in Barcelona -- don't order snails -- wait until you get to France; pan con tomate -- toasted bread coated with a thin and delicious tomato concoction is served at all eateries; takeaway bicycles -- at certain street corners, use your card, take a bike and drop it off in another part of town: genius! A sign posted outside someone's window near the Gaudi-designed park: "Why do they call it tourist season if you can't shoot them?"

By the way, I noticed hardly a droopy pair of jeans in Barcelona.

We're off to Rome next. I'll send another report.