Friday, January 5, 2007

Bon dia

We are here in Barcelona -- me, hubby, baby -- staying with our friends in the Sant Antoni district, about a 10 minute walk from La Rambla. Barcelona is what Naples could be: a tidy port city, throbbing with tourists, boasting a more or less traffic-free historic center, tons of bars and cafes, etc. But Naples will never change. One should never say never, but in this case, I must make an exception.

That Naples will never change is both a blessing and a curse. It is an awfully backward place in many ways, superstitious and suspicious (of foreigners, of change), stubborn, limited. Neapolitans have perfected certain things -- their cuisine, the art of the nativity, their song -- and have decided to leave the rest up to others. Nevertheless, there is something noble in their unified resistance. Naples is probably the only city in the western world that has not succumbed to globalization (I have not been to Marseilles, however). Yes, there is a McDonald's and a Burger King, compulsive cell phone (ab)use, Levi's and Nikes, but the mom-n-pop shop still reigns, your butcher grinds the meat right before your cellophane-wrapped-hamburger-searching eyes, and the natives still inhabit the historic center. The Neapolitanness of Naples is thick and deep. Something to appreciate.

I find this entry dry as a post-partum pucchiaka. I don't know how to spell pokhiacca but I bet you've figured out what it means.

Hubby and friends have gone out to party leaving me with sleeping baby. Fine with me. I am about to gehe schluffy myself. I would like to write all night, but there are things I want to say that I fear are best left for my journal, for longhand, for ink and paper. I am still terribly uncertain about the value of this blog.

My husband cooked for everyone yesterday, typical Neapolitan dishes -- spaghetti con frutti di mare, calamari con patate e piselli, all delicious, but Jesus Christ, we're in Spain, we eat Neapolitan food all day every day at home, doesn't he want to taste some tapas, down some doner kebabs? We did have tapas today: a giant fried ball of mashed potato (a sort of Catalan knish), bacala and beans, anchovies and olives, paprika potatoes. We were supposed to check out the Picasso museum, but it was too beautiful out, electric blue sky, mild temperature, perfect for strolling among the narrow ways and wide boulevards. I believe I could live happily here. Tomorrow we are meant to check out Tarragona, but I might prefer to stay in town, do some shopping for a new sweater and a box of non-Honey Nut Cheerios.

Okay, bona nit, adeu.

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