Apr 212010
 
Are You SURE That's Appropriate for a Grandmother?

In Latin America, the word often used to mean “cool, man!” is: “chevere!” But Latin American Spanish ain’t Spain-y Spanish, baby. Therefore, you have to do your research before you bandy about your old slang in a new country.

Here’s what happened when I asked my lovely host family in Barcelona to explain the Spain-y Spanish version of “cool, man!”

“Do you know what means ‘chulo’?” asked Anna.

“No, please explain,” I said.

“It [...Read More!]

Apr 202010
 
Parque Guell: At the Center of the “Too Much Tourism?” Debate

In Alice Walker’s beloved short story, “Everyday Use,” the conflict centers around which of two very different daughters should get to keep the mother’s ancestral quilt.

Should the precious quilt go to the daughter who plans to hang it in a case on a wall, never to be used, but only to be gazed at in historical appreciation?

Or should the quilt go to the more simple, less-educated daughter who longs to use [...Read More!]

Apr 192010
 
A Warning About Your Dream of Visiting or Moving to Barcelona

Look at that plate of Spanish tapas to the left.

Can you guess what flavor and food is sitting atop those slices of bread? Is it sweet or savory? Does it consist of fish, or cheese, or vegetables… or white chocolate? Is it soft or hard? Creamy or crumbly?

You really can’t tell until you bite into it, can you!

The same goes for cities. You can hear hundreds of [...Read More!]

Apr 182010
 
A Sign on a Barcelona Beach that Made Me Smile

Look carefully at the icons illustrating the sign to the left, snapped on a rather chilly beach in Spain’s Barcelona.

Now ponder: How did the conversation go between the sign’s designers? Let us imagine.

“Hey, Julio, how do you figure we should represent the concept ‘Don’t party here all night?’ on this new sign we have to make?”

“I don’t know, Jorge, maybe some empty alcohol bottles and a stick figure vomiting?”

“That’s gross, [...Read More!]