Archive | August, 2014

It’s August in Barcelona

Posted on 25 August 2014 by American expat!

It’s mid August, and the city feels lopsided. The center is crowded, the tour buses full, but the outskirts are eerily empty. Beaches are packed and bicycle paths are full of strolling tourists blocking riders (THIS is why I have a bell on my mountain bike…), yet my usual haunts and regular activity groups host sparse numbers. This is because August is when residents of this fine city take their month long vacations away from jobs, businesses, homes and the visiting masses.

Most of my neighbors are gone, though the apartment below me is occupied by a group of young Russians instead of the couple who usually reside there. This group sits out on the balcony for hours each day, speaking in booming voices that echo through the neighborhood and permeate my apartment. It isn’t so much as talking as it is yelling – the men can’t seem to speak without projecting their voices in shouts. The women are quieter. I call to them to keep it down – though it doesn’t last for long.

The cafes and restaurants around me are mostly open, though a few have closed their doors for the usual three week break.  An underground business near me seems to be thriving however -a lone warehouse on the 5th floor of a building a few streets over that evidently hosts after parties. Every Saturday, from around 9am until the afternoon, a constant techno beat reverberates out of that high window and flies around the barrio, across opens streets and a park until the sound hits (or enters) the next nearest tall building, which is mine. The place has a small balcony with a windowless door opening onto it. This balcony exposes the crow inside, a few bodies or limbs at a time. Rope, spiderwebbed from the balcony railing to the top of the door, secures the party goers from relaxing to their deaths as they lean out for air. The constant, thumping beat drives me out of my house until the late afternoon, until the allnighters finally exhaust themselves and go home to sleep for a day and a half.

Offices are largely empty and the blocks of scooter parking expose line after white line of parallel paint spaced two feet apart. In a weeks time, these spaces will be overflowing with dark two wheeled forms, spilling up onto the street sides of the facing sidewalks, twisted front wheels touching. But until then, the feet of visitors on their way to the beaches, numbers which I haven’t seen before, are the only thing touching those white stripes.

My emails to view apartments, usually returned via phone within a day, sit unread in mailboxes. My calls meet automated messages telling me business will resume at an early September date. Agenda items that involve business with any Spanish company are forcibly postponed (while, in stark contrast, my phone rings nearly daily with calls from US recruiters, and clients ask me for referrals for all kinds of talent. Business is full speed ahead in North America).

In one more week until things will be back to normal. Calls will come in, the neighbors will quiet down, I will get things done. But I’ll no longer spend afternoons on rambling bike rides along the coast and 8pm will no longer be the hour that sunbathing stops. Summer will be over.

 

 

 

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