Having the pleasure of visiting tuscany and now catalunya i always try to be as innocuously present as possible. That means eating at out of the way and neighborhood spots, talking to chefs, cooks, bakers, and farmers to get a sense of what the anima or soul of the place is. My priviledge each time is that so many people are gracious and patient with my language skittles, and eager to show me why and how they live. As now i am in barcelona in a busy, quirky, artsy and entirely socialistic neighborhood known as gracia, just north of most of the main touristico destinations, but encompassing many of the great ones like the gaudi expressions of casa mila, park guell, and sagrada familia. Ifeel so at home here despite my obvious incongruous appearance of a hungry bear in black. What makes this a great neighborhood is place, the mentality and meaning of which is slightly different but strongly the same in most residents minds. Fiercely independent, artistico, and opinionated el gracianeros are at home in all situations because they have a center, a depth of context few places can match. They also have kickass bars and taperias! The point of this all is that while living in america i can feel solidarity with the neighbors as they deal with development pressures, as we certainly do in belmont. Mas v.1.0 is still in beta but we are surrounded by the newer versions of village life v. 2.0. The support we get and give enriches our version and vision whereas the newer is cut free from that connection in a malware sort of way with unforeseen consequences we all suffer for. We build a garden on an abandoned lot, they tear down a house and put up a stripmall. I can sense that the modern, technocratic version 2.0 of belmont is just around the corner and want to be part of it in a living sense, like displayed at our gateway bridge re-design charette, not in the cold, imprecise asphalt-laying mentality so prevalent in our government agencies. The distillation of our total experiences should yield a more concentrated and potent form of experience not the disembodied, disney-esque version that brand marketing produces. Money, it is said is the weakest form of glue that binds humans whereas shared experiences be the strongest. Viva mi barri y viva gracia! The glue is strong where we meet, the meat is richest closest to the bone. Let us enjoy the marrow together.
Posted on 07/16/2014 at 04:52:00 AM