Barcelona Photoblog: April 2011

April 26, 2011

Faithful Friends, Passeig de Lluis Companys, Barcelona

Faithful Friends, Passeig de Lluis Companys, Barcelona

Friendship, love, hate, happiness or sadness are a universal asset, inherent to the human race. Friendship knows no creed. Anyone that is able to love, to be kind, to do good, to cultivate friendship is a person and not "the source of all evil". We tend to stigmatize religion, we foolishly fear the unknown, people that look different.

These two Muslim women, for example, covered with what we, out of our own ignorance, would refer to as just "a beautiful piece of cloth", are in fact wearing one of the many types of Hijab as part of their own traditions. Nonetheless, very often they are looked over the shoulder by many and are generally misjudged by the western world.

If I look underneath their headscarves, I just see two wonderful friends, maybe more valuable as persons than many ignorant racists of the so called First World. This is a delicate issue and perhaps the mere fact of musing on it sounds silly or irreverent. My anticipated apologies for that. By the way, let's not forget that other well known "good citizens" of this planet wear or have worn a veil and nobody ever cared. So this is another example of how absurd a debate (the use of the Hijab) can get to be. The picture was taken at Passeig de Lluis Companys, Barcelona.

Update: According to Gurvinder in the comments below (thanks!), these women are Sikh so they are wearing Chunni or Dupatta. If that is the case, this is proof of my poor and shortsighted "Western" approach to the matter. Sikh or Muslim, my point about racism is still valid.

April 17, 2011

Forest Fire in Collserola Mountain, Barcelona


Watching a forest fire from your own window is one of the saddest views you could ever have. This afternoon a small fire swallowed part of the woods on this hill at Collserola mountain. Now that I write this, at night, everything seems to be under control, but mother nature is not always that lucky. It is true that many forest fires start by a mere accident, like lightnings on a storm but the great majority are due to cigarette butts, bottles that act as a magnifying glass and outdoor barbecue grills which are forbidden. But the worst cause is forest arson which is probably what happened here. This is not the first time there's a fire around Barcelona, in fact one year several hills were completely devastated by the flames. The wind makes things worse and the fact the city is near is dangerous at least for those living at the slope of the mountain.

Update: April 18th: The police identifies three 14 year old teenagers as the authors of the fire yesterday Collserola Fire News in Spanish

April 15, 2011

Pottery: From Clay to Ceramics

Making pottery [enlarge]

The art of spinning a piece of clay, shaping it up with your bare hands until it becomes a jar, an amphora, a pitcher, a mug or whatever has been always a fascinating process for me. I remember pottery workshops at school and how clumsy I was. But if obtaining an object out of the blue may look mysterious in a way, placing it in a kiln to bake it is certainly magical. As usual, I wonder who was the first to have the brilliant idea of cooking a block of mud. Granted that this someone may have discovered some wet clay mound accidentally solidifying under the sun but it takes centuries to take that clay and put it in the fire to produce an object. And if that is not enough, glazing it and placing it back in the kiln to make it colorful is a great sample of the evolution of tools and skills throughout history, the history of our civilization.

April 12, 2011

Fish stall at Mercat de la Mercé, Nou Barris, Barcelona

Fish stand at La Merce market, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Who said a female fishmonger had to be rude, shabby and smelly. Well, I guess they smell of fish of course but certainly these girls have a wonderful look. I realize my comments are stupid but I wanted to muse on cliches around professions. I don't know in your country but at least here I remember one: You shout like a fishmongeress, something that of course is not always true. Maybe you can share other cliches you've heard of in your city.

April 08, 2011

Compulsive Shopping at Passeig de Gracia

Shopping at Passeig de Gracia  [enlarge]

Shopping in the most expensive street in Spain is risky for the wallet and yet there are some stores along Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona where you can adventure into compulsively squandering your monthly salary. While on a shopping spree though, it is easy to pull out the plastic magic wand usually known as Visa and also referred to by many other names with unpredictable effects. At that moment, you are the luckiest person in the world, you have overcome centuries of cash exchange to finally manage to get goods for free. But fairy tales are illusive and the fantasy created by the wand gently fades away by the end of the month. You wake up naked wearing a fig leaf, fleeing from a bunch of goons in black sent after you to gently remind you that your magic wand has been cancelled and you owe money to the bank.

April 05, 2011

Llongueras Hairdresser in Barcelona

Llongueras Hairdresser, Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona [enlarge]

I did not really know what title to choose for this image. The man facing the woman in the poster, standing under a beautiful ceiling lamp was the first thing I wanted to show but then on second thought I realized that the Llongueras hairdresser in the background, run by a well known coiffeur in the city was better for my SEO. I find this a dilemma nowadays, either you get artistic with your titles, you know, trying to express a concept with one or two words, like say, "Waiting" or you mention the obvious: "Man and Lamp". But then there is the third choice which is the most abject, trying to please search engines to stay on top. Well, I think I managed to squeeze all possible titles in the post, that is the last minute resource. The hairdresser is at Passeig de Gracia, one of the many by the same name spread around Barcelona.

April 04, 2011

Balloon Man, Barcelona, Spain

Balloon Man, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Selling balloons on the street is an occupation almost inherent to gypsies in Barcelona but this man and two other at Passeig de Lluis Companys, in the Arc de Triomf area, seemed to be Portuguese, maybe gypsies too, who knows. I suppose this activity is regulated but they always look worried and vigilant as if they were hiding from the police. To tell the truth balloons are a good treat for our eyes and if they make our kids happy, no matter how short a helium balloon's life can be, then what the heck, let them speculate a little bit. What is selling balloons compared to the subprime mortgages crisis?!!
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