Friday, June 5, 2009

Apetito Atrapado

Today´s word of the day is bai : "yes"

So it has been exactly one week since I´ve been in Bilbao. Usually, this is where someone would say "gosh, it´s just flown by" well, in my case it has crawled along like walrus out of water. Oh, that is a species of giant lumbering adjustment, oh, and please, do not feed the animals, it only encourages them. So, my week circled around the one simple goal of feeding myself. Imagine an episode of Nature or the cable equivalent. It´s shocking how much of my life was spent worrying about my next meal.

First attempt. Our subject timidly enters and with apparent focus stares at the items listed on back board. Our friend continues to stare long past neccesary just to avoid having to make eye contact with anyone. Finally she makes the ever so dificult request for a salad only to be thwarted by the two and a half hours until normal Spaniards even think about eating.

Second attempt. Later that night, our now downtrodden and hungry friend goes out on the prowl again. She paces by a corner bar with lots of people and music. Backward and forward. In an attempt to approach by stealth, our subject pulls out her cell phone and slides it open and close for effect. Finally subject makes her move. A beer and a pintxo (a finger food that pretends to be more). Good. Subject breathes a sigh of relief and then discovers the ham on her food. Trying to pace herself, our hungry and nervous little friend eats her food quickly. But, one crucial mistake, as she tries to pay for her meal she uses the international symbol for "fill ´er up" by lifting the empty bottle and finds herself with another beer.

Our friend tried to cheat the system by grocery shopping, but that can only do so much.

The third attempt. Chocolate shop.

Fourth attempt. El Corte Ingles, the end-all, be-all department store of Spain. Decent success, though jaded by the fact that this a relatively tame environment and not really part of the wild.

Fifth attempt. Worst salad ever. See below for more

Sixth attempt. Pacing past 4 restaurants. Entering, exiting, cursing. Return to El Corte Ingles to eat lunch at 3:45pm.

Seventh attempt. Tonight. Falafel sandwich. There´s a donor kebab place on the street which is pretty sketch. It was brightly colored, which attracted our young friend. Sucessful falafel sandwich with a lot of veggies overflowing from two pieces of bread.

I don´t know, but I guess I don´t pass for Spanish. They guy at the kebab place knew I was English-speaking. When I was finished he asked in Spanish if I liked my meal and I responded in Spanish that yes, very much. Then, he, in english with a british accent said "It was lovely, no?" I said "what?" and he repeated himself and said "isn´t that what you say?" and I said "oh, umhum, yes." He asked if I was from England and then I had to explain that I was from the US, from Missouri, and he asked if it was big. He was from Morroco.

Well, good news is I think I am over the hump of finding food. There are a couple places I know I can go and I afew that look promising. So, hopefully this will be the last post dedicated only to food.


  1. god bless food
    there was this study done with men who had joined the army but became conscientious objectors: instead of going to war, they participated in a psychological experiment. All the the participants were asked how they felt about their appearance beforehand, and they were all people who felt confident in their appearance. they were put on near-starvation diets, certain groups at differing amounts of food and differing amounts of time. the men who were on the greatest starvation diet for the longest time usually ended up going into careers related to food. something like 30% of them became chefs, and other careers were dietitians and other stuff like that. how crazy is that?
    food and the psyche. there's a lot there.

  2. young female human (homo sapiens) finds sustenance in [un]natural habitat!

  3. p.s. oh and the point about their appearance was that afterward, like half of them became obsessed with how much food they were eating and how they appeared. pretty much, being starved gives you an eating disorder, weirdly enough