That's extreme. But not being able to speak Spanish very well has its distinct disadvantages. Today involved several difficult conversations, first at the botanical garden and then at the ornithological institute. I recorded the interviews, since I had to work so hard just to listen. I'm not sure if I got more dead ends or if there is a good story in there or not. There are lizards, pine trees, and dragons. Who knows. There's the idea of island adaptation and successive migrations. There's the interesting story of Colonial Spain's influence and the trouble with goats and the benefits of fire. Are any of these interesting enough for an essay? I have no idea. But everyone today seemed to know someone else who could help me much more than they, someone who was, so sorry, nowhere nearby or available.
I did have a fantastic lunch at a wonderful non-touristy restaurant. I asked the office manager at the ornithology institute--who spoke no English--for a recommendation, and she did not disappoint. No one at the restaurant spoke English either, but the bartender was very theatrical in his explanations of my options. I had a fantastic black rice and mussel paella and fried white fish of some kind. Also amazing olives and lots of vino tinto y agua con gas. Ultimately though, the day beat me. I am exhausted and frustrated with my research. I usually have too high of standards for my work product, so I am hoping that's the case here. I'll only know for sure after I get back.
I'm not sure whether or not I'll have internet from here on out, but my fingers are crossed. In the meantime, some highlights from today...
|View from the MNAC (museum of Catalunya art) on the way to the Jardi Botaníc|
|The Strawberry Tree (endangered on Los Canarios)|
|Several small Dragon Trees with a couple of large Phoenix Palms. The Dragon Tree is actually a monocot, rather than a tree--a grass with a fat stem. Since it has no rings, the age of individual specimens was often grossly overestimated.|
|The best goddamn paella ever. Seriously. I will dream of it.|
|Casa Batlló in the super fancy part of town, with Louis Vitton and Prada shops. The line was long and the cost to enter, high. In other words, this is the only view I got of Gaudí. Next trip will be an art trip.|