Spain has fun with names. For instance, they call dried apricots orejones — now every time I look at one I’ll think, “Eeeww, big ears.”
One of my pet peeves is that Americans are the noisiest people in mellow and potentially romantic restaurants throughout Europe. The other day, back in Orvieto, I was jabbering away with some happy travelers I met with my guidebook when a local woman leaned far across from her table and gave us a classic “shhhhhhh.” Oops.
Spain has a class of educated professional workers whose wages can’t keep up with prices. They call them “Mileuristas” – meaning, the educated poor, earning 1,000 euros ($1,300) a month.
In Barcelona, we stumbled upon a small demonstration. The police were out in force — it seemed like there were more cops than demonstrators. I commented to my friend that this was not much of a disturbance. He agreed, saying, “Yes, but we like to demonstrate. When the Iraq war started, everyone was out. Barcelona was literally filled with people. The parade couldn’t happen. The streets were only people and nobody moved.”
Use what you design. Three times, I’ve stood up from my hotel toilet and knocked the phone hanging on the wall into the toilet. Anyone running a hotel should sleep in each room before renting it.
I had a nightmare. It was an Edvard Munch painting of 40 people walking their dogs.
For the rest of your lives, you’ll be reminded, “Don’t inflate your life vest until you’re out of the aircraft.” I don’t believe these life vests (or your floatable seat cushions) have ever been used in the history of aviation by a commercial jet “in the event of a water landing.” (Can anyone set me straight here?)
A Spanish friend of mine explained the “rule of seven nos.” When dealing with authority in Spain, you must ask sheepishly and meekly seven times – and get seven nos – before getting the go-ahead. In my TV production, this has worked many times.
Some Spaniards were lamenting the kind of leadership they felt was coming from Washington D.C. these days. We got talking about Clinton. Federico said, “Our king, Juan Carlos, is a whore addict…but nobody cares. He’s a very good king.”
Carrying around my European cell phone is like raising a child whose language I cannot speak. It makes all sorts of noises. I don’t know what to do. I just ignore them.
It occurred to me that if we all work together, we can change the pronunciation of gorgonZOla (pronounced like the lady your supermarket would) to gorGONzola. (Say it like Dracula. Say it like Juan Carlos.)
Pet peeve: a refrigerator motor disturbing an otherwise silent room. I get up in a midnight frenzy and find a way to unplug it. Last night I laid awake at 3:30 and realized I’m listening to a motor cool air.
The French are committed to the best holidays possible. To ease beach congestion, they split their country into three zones and stagger school holidays. In Spanish resorts they know which region of France is on holiday by who fills their beaches.
Traveling and seeing young families, you see how much in common parents have. I believe this is a huge step to peace and understanding between nations.
When I return home and give talks on Europe today, I think one theme will be, “Affluence channeled into good living.”
The Rolling Stones are coming to about the poorest country in Europe — Montenegro. Tens of thousands of kids are paying $50 each for tickets. The concert is sold out. I’m coming to Montenegro too…in just a few days…and nobody knows.