Observing the normal


Last time I was in Spain I did the tourist things when not working.  Every night I went out with my colleagues and toured historical monuments, basically looked at old things.  We dined in all the best places, and drank in the best bars.  I was part of a group, we did everything together (someone else always paid).  I didn’t have to worry about anything but participating.  It was all about creativity and cooperation with colleagues from all over the world.  This trip has turned out to be completely different. 

I am here on my own, with my own purpose.  I set my own schedule and goals.  It is a bit daunting.  I find myself working a lot.  I feel like I have to justify my time with spectacular results.

I just don’t feel the urgency to run around and see old stuff and explore bars and wine like the last time I was here.

So I find myself working a lot, then walking around the city just watching people.  My first thought is to write about the differences between my local culture in Colorado and here in Leon Spain.  But that is kind of a mistake; one notices the differences more often than the similarities.  So I went for a walk and observed the similarities…

For example:

I found it quite easy to go to the grocery store and leave with what I wanted to buy without uttering a single word, just like I do sometimes in Colorado. 

People drive like idiots just like in Colorado, their just idiots in a different way.

People walk around in groups and talk loudly, without any regard to those around them, just like in Colorado.

Some things are written in Spanish and in English, just like in Colorado.  Just not as much.

The climate and vegetation is a lot like Colorado, they have weed problems and try to mow the grass just like we do.

They take their noisy brats to the playground; they scream and cry just like kids do in Colorado.

I enjoy looking at the things that are the same.  It’s easy to pick and choose things that are strange and different.  It seems to take more effort to notice and acknowledge the similarities.  This is what I like to do while walking around.  I love it when I see an old couple walking along holding hands in the park.  It gives me hope. 

I found that if you really concentrate on the normal, the odd things have a much more profound impact.   It’s like when I was in California at my parent’s house sitting in the hot tub.  I would get out and jump into the pool and become instantly refreshed.  It is the contrast that makes it worthwhile and fun. 

While walking down the street I saw a cop car parked outside a bar.  It seemed perfectly normal at first, then it suddenly resolved. 

American Beer

It was the police car from the blues brother’s movies.  An American Chicago police car from the early eighties was being used as an advertisement for a bar.  I really enjoy these kinds of adventures. I like it when the un-expected just presents itself in subtle ways. 

I took this photo and then after downloading it to my pc and looking carefully I noticed the license plate. 

So someone actually drives this thing around.  With the price of gas in Spain ($7 a gallon) I bet they don’t go on long drives.    

Anyway, that’s just how I see it.  This is my first and last weekend here in Spain; I leave for Colorado on Saturday morning.  So I am off on another walk to enjoy the city. 



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