Thursday, June 11, 2009

Travelling in A First World Country

So many of my travel adventures have been to places where tourism is under development. Here in Barcelona it´s quite a breeze to sort out the metro and get to all of the sites. And the very moment I feel a slight bit of need for a bottle of water, a bathroom or a snack, it´s all comfortably available. Moroever there are so many people who look just like me (wearing day packs and carrying digital cameras), that I´m barely an very different from Africa and New Guinea!

Perhaps the oddest thing is hearing Spanish spoken by light-skinned people. Living in California, the majority of native Spanish speakers have Indian roots in Mexico and Central America, creating beautiful golden-brown skin tones. Here the Spaniards look equally European as all of the hordes of tourists from France, Germany and Italy.

The last time I travelled in Europe I was 20 and it was 1973. Spain was so different then. Franco was in power--the streets of Madrid were flanked with countless uniformed guards and police. And there was no such thing as an Internet. I composed my letters on onion skin aerogrammes and received letters at American Express offices. There was no such thing as low cost flights (e.g. Easy Jet and Ryan Air) and I bounced around on a youth eurail pass. Then I was happy to stay at crowded youth hostels and now the thought of piling into a dorm room and sleeping on a bunk bed pretty much turns my stomach. I´m a bit different and many of the people I´ve been meeting weren´t even yet born!

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