Saturday, October 13, 2012

sunblock and mosquito repellent

My legs are all beat the hell up. It looks like I ran through a brier patch. I have scars, scabs, lumps, bumps, and welts, all courtesy of our friendly neighborhood mosquitoes. We used to laugh at the infomercial about the hanging screen door that magnetically latched, because why wouldn't you just install a regular screen door? But truly, they should market those magnet-closing screen suckers here because I would buy all of them. ALL of them, just to keep out these ding-dang mosquitoes. We had a crazy thunderstorm( as opposed to the gentle sedate kind) last night  that continued through mid-morning and right now the temperature is cool and I have all the doors and windows open and it's absolutely a legitimate jeans day. But with my legs covered, the mosquitoes are treating mys arms like they are a two-for-one happy hour special.

I went to Spain. I did not get bit by a mosquito or anything else even once in Spain. I did, however, see a ferocious amount of naked people on the beach. Not a nude beach. Just a normal one where kids are building sand castles and people are trying to surf on the flat Mediterranean Sea. I have been to other countries where there are many variations on the brevity of swimwear.But I have never been to a beach where people of all shapes and ages were as naked as the day they were born.Well, I guess that's exaggerating. Some people wore hats. I guess they didn't want to get a sunburn.

 I think the sheer number of penises shocked me. Because there were a lot. And many of them were very, very, very old and accompanied droopy overweight bellies. Admittedly, I was acting like a 12-year-old boy and poking my sister and whispering, "Look at that guy! He's playing paddle ball! No one should have to see that!"

"They're the ones who are probably normal," she replied, "They feel fine with themselves and no one thinks it's a big deal but us." To which I smartly retorted, "Whatever." And then I was distracted by a stand that sold shoes and mojitos.

Barcelona mainly seemed like a Disneyland version of a meat-oriented city. It was extremely clean. There was no graffiti, no trash on the street, traffic flowed smoothly, the taxis were Toyota Prius hybrids and a bottle of water was extremely overpriced. Giant pig legs hung by their hooves on every corner and one could shop amongst the charming outdoor stalls all while eating a cone of meat. Or a gelato. Your choice.

Other than the truly breathtaking hotel in which my sister and brother-in-law were staying, my absolute favorite thing about Spain was that there were pancakes. I wasn't aware that I missed pancakes until I saw them on the menu. And they were perfect. they were thin and crispy around the edges; they were topped with powdered sugar. They were the single greatest thing I have ever eaten.

Oh, but Rome. I landed in Rome and the taxi coordinator (aka guy with a clipboard) thought I was Italian (it was 80 degrees and I had on pants, a scarf, full-make-up, heels and enough jewelry to set off the metal detector ) and therefore let me bypass the taxi line and get into the first available cab. It was late and Rome was dark, but everywhere you looked there was something ancient and magical  side-by-side with its modern counterparts. There was trash on the street and graffiti on the walls and dogs and people and bird-sized mosquitoes. My cab driver ran three red lights and yelled out the window. I was happy to be home.

To Recap:
spain is pretty
spain has meat cones
many people in spain have a healthy self-image

spain has pancakes
i love rome

the mosquitoes in rome can make knees grotesque

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