Solbit says, “Bye, bye, Barcelona. Hello, Deep Blue Sea”

Dear Nicalai,

I’m SO excited!  We’re going on a trans-Atlantic cruise! (That means we take a big boat — a cruise ship — from Barcelona in Spain across the Atlantic Ocean to Florida in the USA. This is the ship we’ll be on!

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Our cruise ship has about 2,800 passengers and 1,500 crew members.  It is BIG.

Nona and Papa are not excited.  Papa gets sea sick, and both of them have never wanted to go on a cruise.  When Papa gets seasick, he literally turns green.  No kidding.  When he’s on a boat, the last thing he wants to think about is food.

I wonder if Papa will eat anything on our 14-day cruise?

I wonder if Papa will eat anything on our 14-day cruise? Maybe Nurit’s cake?

So, I had to ask them why did they get tickets for this 14-day “repositioning cruise?”  Answer: Money and Jet Lag. They found out it costs the same or less than plane tickets back to the USA, and they figured that they wouldn’t have jet lag when they got back.  Strange decision, don’t you think?

Well, I am going to miss Barcelona.  Have I said the same thing about every country we’ve visited and then left?  I think I have. Barcelona is special though with its art

Joan Miro Museum

Joan Miro Museum

with it’s music, especially the guitar music, with it’s architecture,

Gaudi building

Gaudi building

with its public spaces

pubic art and space

pubic art and space

and, of course, with its friendly people.

I’m sort of hoping against all hope that Nona and Papa enjoy this cruise so much that they’ll decide to take another “repositioning cruise” from the USA back to Spain and take me to live in Barcelona again.  For now, though, I have to say “Bye Bye Barcelona.”

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

October 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit Snatched from the Jaws of Disaster

Dear Nicalai,

Don’t you like the patterns in this walkway in the Jardins Mirador?  When I first saw them, I just loved them.

gear patterns in  concrete walkway

gear patterns in  concrete walkway

Little did I know that before an hour would pass, the sight of them would send chills up and down my plastic jurassic spine.

Nona and Papa had hiked up Muntanya de Montjuic here in Barcelona, and, of course, they took me along.  I think they like my company, and, also, they don’t want me to be alone at home.  Oh, I think the name of that place means Mountain of Jove, a roman god, but you better check that.

View from Mountjuïc

View from Mountjuïc

Once Nona and Papa got to the top of the mountain, we saw a big old castle, Castell de Mountjuïc.

View of Castle Mountjuïc

View of Castle Mountjuïc

That’s when my nightmare began, but I didn’t know it, yet.  I thought we were having a good time.  We looked around the castle walls.

Solbit safely on a cannon gear

Solbit safely on a cannon gear

We saw these gears on an old cannon, and they were just my size for climbing, so Papa put me up there to have some fun.  He explained that a set of gears like this on an axle had made those beautiful patterns that I liked on the concrete walkways.  Cool, huh?

Solbit in a dangerous position on gears

Solbit in a dangerous position on gears

Then, Papa put me on another gear. He set me down, turned around to see a seaside scene that Nona was clicking a picture of, when another tourist started cranking the gears from the other side of the cannon.  My tail almost got pulled into the teeth of those gears, and I had to run, but it kept turning.

Fortunately, Papa heard the gears making rusty noises, turned, saw me trying to stay ahead of the gears, and snatched me from the jaws of disaster just in time to save me.  Now, when I see those gear patterns in the concrete walkway, they scare me, because I think: that could be me!

I have a recommendation for you.  Never ever put your finger or hand on gears like that and, for sure, never walk on them like I did.  It’s too dangerous.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

October 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit Says, “Barcelona Turns Out In Big Numbers”

Dear Nicalai,

Let me tell you, the people of Barcelona love to get together on the streets and have fun.  Tens of thousands of them at a time.  No kidding.  Here’s what I’m talking about.

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Mostly women—of all ages — were walking and jogging for health.

Sunday morning, we went for a walk up to Güell Park (I’ll tell you about that later), and, before we left our apartment, we heard people chanting.  When we got to the street, we saw thousands of women in pink for blocks and blocks.  They were running in support of healthy lifestyles.

Then, on our way home in the afternoon, we saw many families in yellow and red striped shirts.  They all seemed to be headed for the same place.

DSC01199 flags for sale

Many people in Barcelona demonstrated in support of having a November 9th vote on the political future of Catalonia in a move for independence.

They hang the Catalonia flag from their apartments, too.

They hang the Catalonia flag from their apartments, too.

When we got home Sunday night, we figured the marches were over.  Wrong.  When we got up Tuesday morning, we heard chanting again.  I asked, “Nona, do you think the women in pink are jogging again today?”  She said, “No, Solbit, but I hear it too, and also hovering helicopters.”  Papa said, “Those probably are police helicopters.”  So, I said, “Hey, let’s go see!”  We did.

Barcelona students went on strike to protest tax cuts from public education.

Barcelona students went on strike to protest tax cuts from public education.

We walked with the student marches to ask them if we could take photos and also to learn why they were marching.  One student told us they wanted their government to continue full funding for public education.

So, you see, we’ve been in Barcelona only a few days, and, already, we’ve seen tens of thousands of people walking together in the streets.  They sing, chant, walk, jog, and, even, sometimes dance.  What an interesting place is Barcelona.

I think I hear chanting again. Gotta go see what it is.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

October 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit Sees Trash Turned to Art

Dear Nicalai,

When’s the last time you looked a broken pieces of a plate, a cup, a saucer, or a bowl, and you didn’t think, “Trash?”  Well, I just saw thousands of pieces of broken pottery and tile, and guess what I thought?  “Art!”

Parc Gruell

Trash or Art, it all depends on what you do with it, right?

Isn’t that pretty?  Doesn’t it invite you to look at it and enjoy it? Yet, if you look at it carefully, you’ll see that it’s made up of “trash,” broken pieces of ceramic.

Holy mackerel, I just remembered the last time I didn’t think “trash” when I saw broken pieces of ceramic!  I’ll bet you remember too. It was when we were in Bangkok at one of the Buddhist temples.  Yeah, remember?  Nona even put that in one of her blogs, “The Look: Gaudi; The Materials: Chinese; The Location: Thailand.” Here’s a photo of it.

They used broken pottery that had been thrown away for this Buddhist temple.

They used broken pottery that had been thrown away for this Buddhist temple in Bangkok.

Look how similar that one is to what we found here in Barcelona.

Remember our friend Betsy, who went with us on our walking safari in Tanzania.  I thought of Betsy when I met this cute little fishy, because Betsy knows the names of all the fish in the sea, and she probably could have told me what kind of fish this one is.

Don’t you think our colors match, the fish’s and mine?

Don’t you think our colors match, the fish’s and mine?

Who would think that you could take flat tiles of many colors and turn them into a giant salamander? This is Gaudi’s famous piece, also known as “The Dragon.”

Just break a bunch of colorful flat tiles to make all kinds of curved surfaces.

Just break a bunch of colorful flat tiles to make all kinds of curved surfaces.

The more I look at this sculpture the more I wonder: is it a salamander or is it a dragon?  I wish I had thought to ask when we were there.

Anyway, I learned that this kind of broken tile art is called Trencadís or pique assiette. Most often, the artist uses already broken pieces of ceramic, found and collected from trash heaps. We went to Parc Güell to visit the Monumental Zone where we saw a lot of Antoni Gaudi’s work.  Here’s another example.

Recycling trash to make art appeals to me.

Recycling trash to make art appeals to me.

Hey, I gotta go now.  I asked Nona and Papa to take me to the city dump to look for trash that I can turn into art, but they had a better idea. “Solbit, why don’t we take you to some pottery and tile shops to ask the shopkeepers if they will give you some broken pieces to make your art project?”  Great idea, huh!  Pretty soon, I’m going to be a broken tile artist! 

Also, I already know what I’m going to make.  I’m going to make a sculpture of my Moroccan friend, Tagine, and then cover it in blue-green broken tile. I’ll call it “Turquoise Tortoise!”

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

P.S.  If you decide to make some broken tile art, please don’t break any of  your family’s dishes to do it.  OK?  Just recycle some trash.  Remember: Don’t trash art; Art trash!

October 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

*You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.

*You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit Realizes, “Barcelona may be the town for me, girl.”

Dear Nicalai,

Maybe I was sleepy and not thinking straight, but I thought I heard Nona saying, “Bars Sell Lona.  Bars Sell Lona.”  I asked myself, “What is Lona, and why do bars sell them?’  Then Nona said, “Solbit, wake up!  We’re in Barcelona!”  And we were!

Barcelona civic space bubbles every day!

Barcelona civic space bubbles every day!

So, she had been saying, “Barcelona. Barcelona,” but my sleepy head was hearing “Bars Sell Lona,” of course that made no sense.  I guess, when you’re sleeping, you brain does funny things, huh?

We got off the Aerobus and walked only a few blocks to our apartment.  Here’s a picture of our street.

Our street has art!

Our street has art!

A beautiful and friendly woman, Juliana, met us, and she showed us all about our apartment and told us where to find things in the neighborhood.

Guess what Nona and Papa wanted to find first?  The Apple Store.  Juliana smiled and pointed on the map, only a few blocks away in Catalunya Plaza near where we got off our bus.  Wow! This town is going to be easy compared to Marrakech streets. Also, we’re right in the heart of things here.

On our first walk around the neighborhood, we found many wonderful little shops and tapas (small dish) cafes.  Let me show you some with a series of photos, OK?

We can walk to the beach where the sand castles are terrific!

We can walk to the beach where the sand castles are terrific!

If I want to see a show, we just walk to Passeig de Lluís Companys, a promenade.

If I want to see a show, we just walk to Passeig de Lluís Companys, a promenade.

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After our first look at “Bars Sell Lona,” I’m thinking of taking back my application to live with the Royal Dutch family.  Barcelona may be the town for me, girl.  We going for another walk. Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

October 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”