Friday, June 14, 2013

primeros días, observaciones downtown Barcelona: mid-June 2013 compared with December 2011


- more Catalán flags hanging from balconies
- more young foreigners in Gracia (20-30 age group)
- more international consumption in Gracia (new Japanese shops and restaurants, lindy hop dance studio, English language 2nd hand bookstore...)
- new jamón serrano store on upper Rambla
- three new American-style diners (2 in the left Eixample, 1 in the Born)
- a gourmet cookie bakery in the Born
- vending machines that sell electronics in the metro, and in the Lesseps metro station they have installed a massive (like 12 feet by 10 feet) wall-size vending machine that sells refrigerated foods and drinks (Lesseps is the stop where tourists get off for Park Guell)
- hot dog stand on the Ramblas (near Carrefour)
- more Asian presence, both locals and tourists
- U of Barcelona campuses now boast American style paraphernalia stores
- 4 or 5 new tattoo parlors (Gothic and Gracia neighborhoods)
- more Arabic tourists (from the language I hear and the women's hiyab)
- something weird-- for over a decade I'm used to Catalan-speaking shop-owners in Barcelona to treat me coldly or to not treat me at all, but now in the touristy areas several of them, upon entering a shop, several of them have greeted me with a forced fast "hola" (perhaps there has been some tourist district customer service training or something)
- dozens of chatarreros/as, sifting through the trash bins, filling large grocery store carts (Prof. McDonough says chataerros take their chatarra to Badalona where they can cash it in)
- not as easy to distinguish locals from tourists anymore
- and (the most surprising which checks off the last requirement for Barcelona to enter the club of globalized cities) two new bubble tea joints in the tourist Gothic neighborhood (on C/ Avinyó) and in the Raval near the Ramblas (on C/ Tallers)
- as of July 18, 2013 there is now an announcement that plays in the metro, in a variety of languages, that warns tourists about pickpockets

Most point to globalization, increasingly similar cultural package offered in other global cities (homogenization), more "typical Spanish" consumption opportunities for tourists, cultural influence from US and Asia...

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