Barcelona- the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright hilarious.
I neither understood, nor had a taste for dark humour before I came to this city. Yet ever since I came here there are few scenes in which that ragged jester isn’t dancing on the periphery making me laugh at the most inappropriate moments.
Wanderer, adventurer and full time worrier. I distract myself from the End of the World by telling stories and drinking copious amounts of cheap beer. Very, very slowly.
I left India at 21, went to Scotland and picked up a big patient Scottish husband before I came to Spain and picked up a little impatient cat, Iran. Although no longer together, we all still remain each other’s truest friends. Well maybe not Iran. That cat’s got all the sentimentality of a rusty hand grenade.
We live in the ghetto-like neighbourhood of Raval in Barcelona. One street up from Hooker Alley, round the corner from Robber Street (Calle Robadors) and two minutes walk from the Sikh temple (gurudwara) which serves free food.
This crazy little ghetto of refugees and travellers has taught us all how to share food, shelter, friendship, love and other drugs with open hearts. Freely given and freely received.
What does ‘If you want the dog accept the fleas’ mean?
This Spanish saying (Si quieres el perro accepta las pulgas) can vary slightly in interpretation but the gist remains the same. If you want it- accept the whole package, the whole person, the whole city. Warts, pimples and annoying bathroom habits included.
And trust me, Barcelona has a lot of annoying bathroom habits.
So what does the blog title ‘Fleas and dogs in Barcelona’ mean?
The dogs in Barcelona represent the good stuff. The stuff which makes it into tourist brochures and travel magazines. The art, the culture, the architecture, the restaurants and cool bars.
The fleas in Barcelona represent the quirky, strange, or disturbing stuff. The stuff which doesn’t make it onto travel magazines, tourist brochures or politicians’ To Do lists. The immigrants, the squatters, the buskers, the drug dealers, the thieves, the punks, the indignants fighting for a better world and the wandering homeless crazy people with stories as tall as your dad’s dad.
A visitor comes to Barcelona for the dogs, but you can’t remain here without making your peace with the fleas.
Personally, I often love the fleas more than the dogs.
Where do I send hate mail, love mail and show-me-yours-I’ll-show-you-mine mail?
prithika. nair @ yahoo. co. in
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