Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cucurutxo with Gelat and Other Associations

On evenings when the temperature has dropped only two degrees Celsius on a thirty-two degree day, use it as an excuse to buy a cucurutxo with any flavored ice cream scoop topping you want. I like whip cream and coconut flavored gelat on my cucurutxo. This last word and sentence make me giggly because it sounds like I am making references to hanky-panky talk, but far from it. My fingers typed the sentence naturally on the keyboard as I thought of the image of a cucurutxo amb gelat.

Words fascinate me, especially those with strange articulations, rare mixes of consonants and vowels, or clashes of syllables. By now you have figured out cucurutxo means cone and gelat means ice cream in Catalan. Now stare at the image of the yummy ice cream cone and imagine the delightful sensations of eating  semi-frozen ice cream before I ruin what I have to say about this word in my wacky mind.

My marit and I split a cucurutxo that lasted only two minutes before it was all gone.
This cucurutxo is one scoop banana and one scoop coconut. The cone is very long.

I finished off this part.
The reason this word makes me giggly is because I don't associate it with the cone shaped wafer used to hold scoops of ice cream. I got a real kick out of this word when I first heard my mother in-law ask who wanted a cucurutxo for dessert. A cucu what? I had her repeat the word over and over until I could pronounce it. I try to use any excuse to say the word out loud (coo-coo-roo-chew). The only associations I have with the first four letters of this pleasurable word come from my Mexican Spanish.

1. Cucurrucucú Paloma by Tomás Mendez sung by Miguel Aceves Mejia.
2. Cucaracha (roach)
3. el Cucuy (bogeyman)

In my strange way I think of this Catalan word in the following contexts.

1. Step on that  cucurutxo! (insect)
2. I saw a cucurutxo roosting on a branch early this evening. (bird)
3. That darn rooster is cucurutxing again at six o'clock in the morning. (crowing)
4. Go to sleep or the cucurutxo is coming to get you! (bogeyman)
5. The northeastern part of the United States was once inhabited by the cucurutxo tribe. (Native Americans)

I can keep going with this examples of how the Catalan word for ice cream cone is fertile ground for my fanciful imagination, but why keep ruining the word with far fetched examples of nonsense, when all it means is ice cream cone. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hip Perruquer

This is my last guiri entry having to do with California. Maybe. While visiting the city of Santa Ana with my cosina Vanessa, she took me to her hairdresser on North Broadway. I kept giving her compliments on her short wavy bob I secretly envied because my hair is so straight, dense and heavy that it is impossible to style my hair like hers and pull off a great bob look. 

The hairdresser responsible for working his magical scissors is perruquer Joseph Atilano, who doesn't just have a perruqueria with the typical sleek chair and rinse sink, but an art gallery. My attention was first engrossed by all the artwork hanging on the walls and ceiling, the eclectic furniture, and the two and a half mannequins on display before I noticed the red patron chair where Joseph cuts and styles hair. 

I haven't seen a salon in Barcelona  comparable to Joseph's, and if there is one, I would love to hear about it. In Barcelona we have Jean Louis David,  Raffel Pages, and Llongueras with sleek chairs and hairdressers all dressed alike. None of the them have an original look about them or a hairdresser that creates his own artwork and displays it in the salon for private sale. Joseph's proclivity for cutting hair goes alongside with his talent for creating artwork in various styles of expression.

It's a hair salon and art gallery  where apart from walking out with an edgy haircut, you can also walk out with fabulous artwork. If a haircut and artwork is not enough to beautify your hair and home, you can browse the boutique part of his salon-gallery to find vintage jewelry ranging from brooches to necklaces. While chatting with Joseph and talking about his background he pulled out a family tree he keeps in his salon and showed me his father's country of birth. Want to guess? Spain of course, surprise! No matter where I went or who I met, it was always somehow connected to Spain. 

So friends from California or any other part of the world, if you want a singular experience while getting your hair trimmed and are looking for artwork to hang on a bare wall at home, I recommend stopping by Atilanos Salon and Gallery. Molt guai!


Mr. Atilano in the boutique part of his salon.
Hair stylist Joseph and cosina Vanessa whose haircut I envy.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vestits de Quinceñera

I have returned to Spain after 15 hours of flight time from Los Angeles to Barcelona. I returned with disquieting emotions of leaving my family behind, but overjoyed to see my guapo husband after a month's absence. Upon reviewing the pictures I took, the ones I am publishing in this post are to show the viewer and anyone with a Mexican-American background how times have canviat since my heyday for young Mexican-American girls celebrating their coming of age party called quinceñeras  on their fifteenth birthday.

This tradition does not exist in Catalonia, although there is a large Latin American immigrant population in Spain. I wonder if it is a matter of time before young girls from Latin American countries decide to celebrate their fifteenth birthday with formal ball gowns like the ones I saw in window displays specializing in these types of dresses in California. 

In Catalonia and Spain, young girls celebrate their adulthood on their eighteenth birthday with a party called Puesto de Largo, a party introducing their coming of age with a long gown. I have not attended one, but a have a hunch Spanish girls do not wear the type of gowns sold in quinceñera shops in downtown Santa Ana on 4th Street.

My sister had a quinceñera back in 1978 and wore a white dress with a  petticoat underneath, white gloves, and a discreet tiara. The celebration was held at home after a church mass and I dreamed thereafter of my own fifteenth birthday. I loved pulling out the tiara from the closet when no one was looking, wearing it on my head, looking at myself in the mirror, stare at the sparkling tiara and pretend I ruled the world. That was in the late '70s and my dream went unfulfilled in the '80s and the quinceñera was replaced with an intimate backyard party on my sixteenth birthday. I received as a memento to my low key birthday celebration a 14 kt. gold Sweet 16 pendant. 

What I saw in Santa Ana while admiring the law office where my maca cosina works shocked me. Local shops on 4th Street displayed dresses for quinceñera celebrations in bright garish colors, tinselly material, and over-the-top designs sewn by seamstresses and their pattern making little hands. The present tradition resembles a distorted wish to dress like a bad Disney princess in colors no longer symbolizing purity as did the once white or pink dress of my time. Maybe it's my age that faults my understanding of the present tradition to dress in carnival type dresses. 

You be the jutge of these dresses. Què et sembla?

Dresses for hip guests.

My sister did not wear gloves of this type.

Shoes for escorts, wedding pages, grooms...

The ultimate proof these dresses are really worn. Scarlett O'Hare eat your hoop skirt out.

I think I'd wear this one because of the leopard print. 

This is what Tinkerbell would look like as an adolescent.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fira de Orange County

Saturated colors, fried food aroma, and air daunting rides are vivid images of what a fair is all about for this American noia living in Barcelona. My older germana and I attended the Orange County Fair last week on a day with cloud splattered skies and cool temperatures. In my opinion the fair was big compared to the mini firas I attend back home in Barcelona. According to my sister, the Orange County Fair was molt petit compared to the Pomona Fair she attends in September on three different occasions just to go through the entire fair! She has no idea what a small fair is until she has attended one in Barcelona. I haven't attended a fair in Barcelona that rivals the typical American fair or carnival.

Back when I was a younger noia I dared go on rides that swooshed me side to side, upside down and twirled me endlessly until I could no longer scream. I would get off the rides dizzy and woozy, but giddy with glee for withstanding the hammer or the octopus ride.

This mature noia now watches from afar and contemplates nois and noias cridar. Do not feel sorry for this coward older noia for no longer delighting in vomit inducing rides. My carnival inclination is now food loaded with everything the doctor tells you not to eat or you'll get diabetes. An example of this newfound interest is the funnel cake, layered with strawberries, loads of powdered sugar, and heaps of whip cream. Yum. How I miss American fairs. Que farem? I suppose the answer to that is to return in the summer time and attend the OC fair for its artery clogging foods.

Finas ara!

Funnel cake, que bo!