Thursday, February 05, 2004

Quick Observations of Spain

If you have your eyes gleefully open for the things that make another part of the world different than your own, you can't help but find a few glaring ones. I found such in Spain, and like to generalize them thusly:

1. Land density in Spain is an all or nothing proposition. Towns are so densely built that I like to refer to any Spanish town as The Land of 98% Impervious Surfaces. There is virtually NO green space in any Spanish town. If a tree is to be planted, an 8" diameter cut is made in the pavement. If it isn't a town, the area is rural and agricultural. Despite the enormously available space, the dwelling will rarely give the occupants more than 1,000 square feet.
2. Every Spaniard over the age of 12 has ready access to tobacco and is not discouraged from using it in public.
3. Every Spaniard over the age of 14 has ready access to spray paint and is not discouraged from using it to spout anarchist slogans in public places- even those that are beautiful and ancient.
4. Every Spaniard over the age of 16 has ready access to alcohol and is not discouraged from using it in public very late at night.
5. Every Spanish household has a washing maching. However, no Spanish household has a clothes dryer. Every Spanish household hangs its laundry outside. The combination of prolific strings of underwear and shirts along with the effusive distribution of spray paint creates an unfortunately dismal visage that conjures Bowery tenements circa 1890.

Andalucia is a beautiful region in Spain, with wondrous rolling hills topped with orange and olive trees, spectaular mountains, and soothing ocean views. The towns of Andalucia have some beautiful architecture, including ancient castles and even the amazing, breathtaking Alhambra. It would be more beautiful if their people treated the place with more respect. How sad that today's Spanish people have such little regard for this beauty and mar it with so much unnecesary ugliness. If you think that Americans can learn a thing or two from Europeans in terms of land use or the respect we give to our public places, you've obviously never been to Spain.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004


The trip to Spain and Gibraltar was excellent, as we spent a great deal of time with Alex!

I made several observations throughout the trip, which I will share in the near future.