On my way in from the airport, the taxi driver, who was very much like a Spanish Pete Postelthwaite, spoke to me about the prevalence of Catalan and how his sons, though fluent in Spanish, Catalan and English, refuse to speak it.  Later on during my stay in Barcelona I met a very enthusiast Catalan man (on September 11th no less (their national day)) who bought us a round of ratafia (like Catalan Jägermeister) and told me all about how important Catalan sovereignty is.  In the ancient synagogue in the Gothic Quarter, a young secular Jewish Catalan man said that young Catalan separatists identify with the Palestinian liberation movement, not out of religious or ideological beliefs, but because they identify with the idea of independece.

As we drove along the Passeig de Colom, Pedro Postelthwaite asked if I had been to Barcelona before.  “Not for almost eight years,” I said.  “Well not much has changed,” he said.  As we passed the Columbus Monument, he said, “Por ejemplo, Colón es todavía Colón.”

“En el pueblo de campo donde nací, antes de irnos a dormir, existía la costumbre de pedir que nos despertarán diciendo: ‘Recuérdenme a los seis.’  Siempre me asombró aquella relación que [persiste] entre la memoria y la continuación de la existencia.” — Jordi Tolosa

Translation: In the country town where I was born, before going to bed there was a custom of asking to be awakened, saying, “Remember me at six.”  It always amazed me the relationship that persists between memory and continuing existence.

Revisiting Barcelona for the first time in nearly eight years was like rediscovering forgotten memories, especially in a place like the Plaça Reial, which is so vivid in my memory, yet so different in reality.

Barcelona, September 2010

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