Expat Journal: Postcards from the Edge

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I eat at the living room table, where there is an incredible view of the sea and people milling about in the street below. This morning, like all the others since my recent arrival in Spain, I sip an espresso made from my little coffeemaker — one long pull and one short — and try not to miss American coffee.

An American coffee is not an Americano. American coffees can be cradled, enjoyed slowly over a lingering breakfast or several chapters of a good book or, more realistically, the better part of an otherwise unenriching office meeting. One of the few downsides of living in Badalona — it takes a long time to get anywhere. Though her native language is French and her English is nearly as good as mine, we speak almost exclusively in Spanish. The area gets to be so much more beautiful once you start seeing the graffiti as art.

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It makes more sense to get off our bikes and walk. We chain them to a lamppost and head for Pont del Petroli. Though the water is still quite cold, we sit on the shore and watch a few kids splash in and out of the waves as we discuss the pros and cons of opening a bike rental business in Badalona.

On the other hand, a bike rental shop is the domain of tourists, and few make it out this far from Barcelona. Entry , re: Why would you live anywhere else? Badalona is gorgeous, with high quality commercial streets and a better beach than you can find anywhere in Barcelona.

Nicole’s Perfect Day in Sant Adrià & Badalona

Why is anyone turning up their nose at the name of my new town? I think this debate opens up a number of paradoxes surrounding tourism. Like many travelers, I have a bit of disdain for my own kind, preferring, in theory at least, to seek out the company of locals. This lends itself to a desire to get to a place first, before the herds discover it, and to have an experience that is interesting but authentic. Of course, authenticity is hard to nail down. For example, when I couch surfed in Valencia, I ended up joining my hostess for a lindy hop class, a type of dancing that originated in Harlem in the s.

The kind of excursion that neatly encapsulates the history and culture of a place often requires careful planning by a tourist company. As far as I can tell, Badalona has put no effort into attracting the sorts of people who are looking for prepackaged cultural activities. This conversation about business and the nature of travel maxes out my knowledge of Spanish. With the prospect of food ahead of me, I find myself frustrated by the slow pace of the crowds moving around us. Like the Washington, D. I force myself to take a deep breath, and my thoughts return to considering my approach to traveling.

We hit La Rambla for tapas while watching the water sparkle off the waves.

I want to stay forever in this postcard world. Unfortunately, we have to return the bikes and get on with the day. We take the train past a flickering exhibition of public art on construction sites between Badalona and the city, then emerge at Arc de Triomf. After speedily biking back to Poblenou to avoid paying overage on our rentals, we part ways, Marion to return to the Earth Fair taking place in Parc de la Ciutadella and me to take the metro to my favorite weekend event, BCN Sunday Writers which may or may not actually fall on a Sunday.


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The meetup challenges its participants to craft a piece of writing based on a word selected at random. The pressure of having only 15 minutes to craft a relatively polished piece to share with the group sets me on edge, and I find it helpful to jot down a few ideas I might write about on my way to the meetup. For most of the metro journey, I am cocooned in my notes, though toward the end I look up and notice I am one of the few people on the train who seems to be doing something other than waiting.

The patience with which Barcelonans approach public transit is something you would never see in D. After a round of introductions, we begin to write. Afterwards, I had planned to meet with a new conversation partner. But because there is no such thing as a perfect day, he sent me a WhatsApp message canceling our appointment.

'Heartbreaking Irish Stuff Abroad' Pic of the Day

Instead I head back to Badalona to workout before dinner. It feels good to be running off the soreness of bicycling, and I feel my stride lengthen as my shoes pound the sidewalk. I turn to investigate a pretty church on a hill and find myself ensconced in the winding streets of old town. Wondering why it took me so long to discover this beautiful trail, I slow down to take in the views of peaceably curved walkways and windowsill gardens.

Briefly disappointed at my reemergence into modern times, I turn and continue uphill. View from the top at Parc de la Serralada de Marina. The pathos in this photo is self-evident. I think this is still one of my most evocative photographs ever. I did feel guilty taking the photo Indigenous Woman in Quito, Ecuador. Be careful photographing kids. Juan Pablo — Antigua, Guatemala. So the question remains: is Street Photography ethical? If an ethical person is doing it with positive intent I think the answer is yes. Like so many questions in life it depends. Uros Girl — Lake Titicaca, Peru.

Kramer vs. Kramer (Legendado)

Field Notes: I love shooting real people doing real things but it can be intimidating as hell. In addition to it being the polite thing to do there is also an element of safety involved. Be very careful and aware when photographing children and indigenous peoples. Click here to learn more. You are commenting using your WordPress.


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