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Spain ‘Splainin’

Deep, insightful wisdom gleaned from travel will follow shortly (ok, it won’t). It’s more likely that I will just be talking about what I ate in San Sebastián for a while (and not until I catch up on my work work because I’m responsible that way) with a little bit of NYC thrown in here and there.

What I can say now:

  • Whenever in Spain, I know that I’m going to have to eat flowers. I’m not crazy about eating flowers (psychologically, not from a taste perspective) but it’s a fact of alta cocina. I ate 11 dishes containing flowers in eight days.
  • San Sebastián was severely lacking in cats; it’s a total dog town. I saw a fluffy Himalayan pop out of the bushes at Mugaritz and that was it. Latin American is also doggy. Southeast Asia is full of street cats.
  • Many women in Spain—not just older women, and I’m guessing not just smokers (80% of the population it seems)—have very deep voices, like that House of Sand and Fog woman deep. I don’t know how this happens. Also, 30% of the women over 50 in Bilbao had short magenta, pink or purple hair. This also can’t be explained. The Guggenheim effect?
  • King beds are really just two twins placed in a larger frame. This is not just the case in rentals like the apartment I stayed in on this trip, but also at modern hotels like I experienced in Barcelona. I caught part of a TV documentary (yes, I always watch TV on vacation) about a teen trying to obtain the abortion pill at pharmacies in Spain and the staffers just kept giving her pamphlets about natural contraception. I wonder if these beds count?
  • At La Cuchara de San Telmo I overheard a group of men, maybe German and Dutch, speaking in the bridge language of English about dining (and disparaging American food as overly battered and fried). One was going to Noma. Another was recounting a nine-course tasting menu eaten somewhere I didn’t catch. Afterwards, he “wanted to go eat a hotdog.” Good to see that I’m-still-hungry-$200-and-ten-plates-later isn’t a uniquely American rubric. Here, it’s “I could eat a Big Mac.” Neither battered, nor fried.

What I can show now:



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