BACK FROM BARCELONA, SPAIN
American Airlines flight #67 took off on time. It was airborne a few minutes after 10:00 AM on its way back to America. Flying against the Earth rotation speed of 1040 mph, the aircraft will take longer to reach JFK, prolonging the return trip by one and half hour, in comparison to the first leg.
I immediately fell asleep, missing breakfast but also the movie that was own on an obsolete overhead screen. Our group was obviously exhausted, a week ago we hit the ground running, and we never stopped running until we got back to the airport….
Visiting Spain is in on everyone’s bucket list. Spending time in Barcelona is an affordable treat. Doing both on Columbus Week morphs into a pilgrimage. If you add some fun, culture, and education to the pie, you end up with a Dream Trip to Barcelona.
Spain is every bit a genitor of our today’s world. It has human artifacts that date back to 35,000 years ago. Its history is woven into the bygone days of Rome, the Kingdom of the Visigoths, the black Muslim occupiers, and the advent of the New World that is America. Without the Spanish contribution to our civilization, today’s world would never exist the way that we know, the language spoken by half billion Earthlings will simply be the tongue of a mere 47 million, and all Africans would likely still be in Africa.
On the Northeastern part of the country of Cervantes and Juan Carlos, stands Catalonia (Catalunya) and its gorgeous capital, Barcelona. The city of Antoni Gaudi, throughout the centuries, has been either the driving force of the monarchy, or the poster child for balkanization of the peninsula. It has never been quite in fabric of Spain. Slinger in the 20th century, it has been revolutionary under Franco, and secessionist today.
While Spain is licking the wounds of the 2008 crash, with inflation and high unemployment rate, Catalonia is churning out profits of a vibrant economy and has become, across Europe, a magnet for workers and tourists alike. For the needs of the International Exposition of 1929 and the Summer Olympics of 1992, Barcelona has gentrified and modernized into an hybrid of Rome, Silicon Valley and Cancun, in a symbiosis associating Picasso, flamenco, the beaches, the stylish nightlife, the great restaurants, the fabulous hotels, the resort town, paella and Leo Messi.
This positive image of Barcelona is enhanced by the riveting show that has lasted for close to decade now. This is the display of 11 magicians of the FC Barcelona on the green carpet, enchanting 500 million fans worldwide with display of total football built in the mold of pure skills, spiced with perseverance and determination. They have won everything; you may not like them, but you cannot help admiring them.
Will Catalonia secede from the rest of Spain? Hopefully not, probably not.
Having a global entry card helped me avoid the long line at the immigration windows, but it did not help with the long wait for my two pieces of luggage to come in.
A text message from Mustafa, our limo driver, stated that because of a last minute family emergency he would not be at the airport. The taxi ride from JFK to Warrenville lasted an hour and half (partly due to traffic) and cost close to 186 dollars! I had no idea that the prices had jumped so high in two years… In fact, I was under the impression that gasoline prices had plummeted so was taxi fare.
More than 50 of us held hand, and had a blast in Barcelona, despite the fact that the Spanish middle class is dwindling, and that migrants and refugees from the other side of the Mediterranean Sea are invading the Southernmost parts of Western Europe. Because of $200-taxi rides, the middle class is also dwindling in America, that is the rich must be getting richer while the pool of the poor is getting larger. Something must be done about it, even when socialism did not quite work in Spain.
Once again, I took one more trip abroad, and I came back with the reiterated conviction that all humans are fragments of the same original amebae. We all aspire to a rewarding life in peace and prosperity, while dreaming to deliver a better world to our children… The Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors, the Inquisitionists, the discoverers, the imperialists, the fascists, the republicans, and the secessionists of Spain must also be of the same. It is only that some of them went the wrong way about it…
I am a citizen of the world. If a blue-watered Caribbean island is my homeland, the world is my patria, and Warrenville is my home… I have been back home to the rat race. But it is so good to be back home. Until the next adventure, that was… The Traveller.
(The Traveller, Wednesday, October 14, 2015)
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