Wednesday, September 12, 2012

La Diada Marxa

In-de, Independència!  In-de, Independència!  In-de, Independència!  In-de, Independència! 

These were the powerful words chanted throughout the La Diada march yesterday, September 11. It was a unforgettable moment as tens of thousands of people walked throughout the streets of Barcelona to claim independence from Spain. Catalans are very unhappy with the way that the central government has made deep budget cuts in healthcare, education, and salaries. 

I attended the march with my other half and sister in-laws and  walked proudly with the senyera flag tied at the neck. The senyera  is the Catalan state flag with four yellow and red stripes. My proud husband futilely searched shops in Barcelona for the estelada flag (nationalist flag with a white star in the middle of a blue triangle followed by red and yellow stripes) and was disappointed to find out it had sold out weeks ago. 

The march was attended by over  two million people who came from all regions of Catalunya by different means of transportatin, and marched peacefully along various streets of Barcelona. We started our walk at Carrer Provenza to Rambla Catalunya and continued zigzagging until we arrived to Plaza Catalunya and made our way to Via Laietana. The over all feeling was one of euphoria and peace! We didn't make it to Ciutadella Park, but returned home proud to have participated in a historical march, leaving us with swollen and tired feet. 

Adeu Siau!

Buses and cars  leaving Barcelona clogged Av. Diagonal.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Don't Grocery Shop without a Carretó!

You arrived a few weeks ago to Barcelona and the idea of walking home with heavy groceries makes your fingers gnarl with horror. You recall the agony of walking towards your new pis (apartment) two or three blocks away and stopping continuously to shift the weight of the plastic bags to keep them from digging into the crooks of your fingers. The weight of the bags begin to slump your shoulders and the grocery bags begin to skim the surface of the sidewalk. You instantly lament those past days of yonder when you once drove to the supermarket and leisurely loaded bags of groceries onto the trunk of your car. 

The solution to this problem is to purchase as soon as possible a shopping trolley/cart. You can load the shopping trolley/cart with bottled water, milk tetra bricks, kilos of your favorite fruit, or any other heavy food item that once hurt your fingers and crunched your spinal discs. You will walk out the store in relief that the carretó was the best investment ever. Shopping carts come in different styles and colors ranging from bag types to trolleys with a separate compartment to keep perishables in a thermos pocket. As you make your way to your pis you will feel in spiritual grocery glory with the local dones pushing their trolleys home.

Next thing to remember when grocery shopping: you need to have on hand a one euro coin, a fifty céntimo coin, or a two euro coin to lock your cart at the front of the checkout stands and another coin to release a store shopping cart. The latter is more common for stores that have parking lots and want to ensure customers kindly return the carts to the shopping cart collection point. If you are British and have a two pence coin and the coin slot accepts a two euro coin, it will release a shopping cart.

Opps forgot to photograph a two euro coin. A friend gave mea mock coin used 
to put in grocery cart slots.
Do not underestimate the use of these carretones especially if you have children. Your kiddies are going to want juice boxes, yogurt, Cacaolat (chocolate milk), etc. And if you need to pack their school lunch, your grocery load is going to be even larger and heavier. Lastly, if your building does not having an elevator and you live on the fourth floor of your building, your grocery shopping troubles are going to multiply. The good news is there are now nifty carretones made with special wheels to help you pull the cart up flights of stairs. Carts made for stairs have three back wheels on each side to make going upstairs easier.

See the three back wheels? This cart can be pulled up 
flights of stairs.
A different option is have groceries delivered to your home for a small fee, normally about two euros. The stoic cashier will write down your name and address and have it delivered during allotted store times.

When you get to the checkout line and it is your turn to have your groceries scanned, make your move fast and do like the iaias and retrieve your trolley even before the customer in front of you has finished packing his/her trolley, so that you are ready to pack your groceries. Load the heaviest and biggest items at the bottom. You can naturally figure out what to do next with the rest of your groceries. Thank the cashier and wheel your groceries home like you just bought the most useful and convenient item on earth.
Molta sort!

This trolley has a red ribbon to distinguish it from an exact
 trolley there might be at the store.
When your trolley is full, push it instead of pulling it.