Monday, December 18, 2006

what spain is & isn´t

yesterday i met up with friends Joerg and Concha, and we spoke about i.a. the movie "Goodbye Lenin", and of how one of the things that surprised or struck me in the movie was the lengths the son went to in order to pull the wool over the eyes of his mother. using that phrase makes me seem critical, and it isn´t so. rather, i was struck that he went to all that trouble motivated by his love for her.

that then made me think of my conversation with Nasima, also this week. i mentioned how the first scene in the movie "love actually" is really enchanting (me encanta). the scene consists of people hugging and greeting one another. the accompanying voice-over tells us that we are watching an airport arrivals hall, and tells us that for all the usual lifelessness of airports, the one thing that is striking is the amount of love on display when you watch such scenes in a typical airport arrivals hall. anyhow, the consequence of remembering the latter is that now i have the song from the movie in my head, and it goes "Love is all around me, And so the feeling grows, Its written on the wind, Its everywhere I go".

to return to the topic of this blog then, what strikes me when in spain is how amazingly cariñoso my friends are here :)


the other day someone i don´t know, but am in e-mail contact with via a group, sent a message enquiring about travelling with a spanish airline. the person ended their message with "given the price of the ticket, will i end up sitting between a nun and a goat?" or some such. i felt deeply offended by this, and ended up telling the person that their notion of spanish society was completely outmoded. the latter somehow added fuel to a fire in the sense that when i returned from madrid on my previous visit, i was rather annoyed with how people were asking me whether i had drunk a lot of sangría and partied whilst here, as if thát was all that visiting spain should amount to. i also heard similar kinds of skewed views from other persons i´ve bumped into, and this does bother me, if only because it perpetuates a stereotype of a people. for i know spanish people who do really good work, and more than that, work extremely hard over here, so it is very annoying this generalised anglosaxon view that all spain is about is fiesta, sangría, and siesta.... 0kay, i´ll stop griping now...

that said, the other day i´d bought a copy of an anthology of essays dating to 2005 re the view of Spain from abroad. i haven´t read it yet :-)
speaking of buying books. today i bought "Los Fantasmas de Goya" which is the story underpinning the latest Milos Forman movie (see Jean-Claude Carriere, Milos Forman ); also "Entre la soledad y el amor" by Alfredo Bryce Echenique
Holiday reading :)
Love it!

besos, J


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