Monday, February 16, 2009

sightseeing, an interesting cocktail and a really good Jewish Joke

Monday evening found us in a wineshop close to the hotel: Neyras, on Laietana. It was staffed by a smart, vivacious woman named Nuria. She was very knowledgeable about local and Spanish wines, cordials and local food. We talked about the wineries we planned to visit and tasted some of her "wines of the week." We ate dinner at a fussy little place (el Bitxo? hee) run by a mean woman: 2 kinds of chorizo along with Manchego and Idiazabal. Eh. Jumping ahead to the last stop of the night, Teller de Tapas. The liquor choices were pretty slim, but I told the handsome barkeep that I had a weak spot for anisette and he made me an original concoction he dubbed "Spring in a Glass." It was sort of like a mojito but made with muddled strawberries, basil/mint, anisette, a splash of soda water and plenty of ice served in a tall glass. We got to chatting and we asked him if he came to Barcelona or ended up there. He laughed and told us how different the city was when you're a visitor as opposed to an immigrant. Yair was originally from Tel Aviv (a "real city" not a "little big town"). When he told his boss he'd fallen in love with Andalucia and was leaving, his boss responded with this:

"A man once fell into a deep sleep and was convinced he'd died and gone to Hell. Once there he was pleasantly surprised. It was full of beautiful people and delicious food and drink and musicians and wild parties. He figured this was the place to be! Years later he became deathly ill, died and opted for Hell. After many days of being set afire, flayed, beaten, starved and otherwise tortured, he decided he needed to speak to the person in charge and complain. This is not the Hell I signed up for, he said. Not at all what I experienced before! The Devil flipped through his notebook, scanned down to the man's name and said, ah-ha. Here it is. It appears you were on a tourist visa."