Sunday, June 6, 2010

salinger under the magnolias

Arc de Triomf

After stepping off the airport bus in Plaça de Catalunya, I thought I'd head in the general direction of the home of sketcher and illustrator extraordinaire, Lapin, with whom I was staying during my six days in Barcelona. I've been a fan of Lapin's for a long while, and was thrilled and grateful to be living with him and his lovely wife Lapinette during my stay. This was the first time Lapin and I would meet face to face, though we've known each other through Urban Sketchers for quite some time— Lapin is the Barcelona correspondent, and I of course, belong to Istanbul.

I walked to the red, bat-bedecked Arc de Triomf, marvelling at the beauty and tranquillity of the tree-lined streets, the wrought iron balconies that adorned the face of every building, and was delighted to hear a familiar sound. A cackling, laughing kind of sound, followed by that sudden flash of green— Barcelona has its own population of wild parrots. The parrots of San Francisco were a positively improbable, magical sight on those grey foggy days, and though Istanbul too, has its own small flock, the number in Barcelona is amazing. While they've always seemed so extraordinary elsewhere, they seemed appropriate under the Spanish sun.

Parc de la Ciutadella is Barcelona's central park, containing within its green borders a small lake, a zoo, a natural science museum, and many shady trees perfect for curling up under with a book. It has been ages since I've lied in grass— perhaps it's because I live so far from any of Istanbul's parks, and because we have all sorts of crazy insects that seem to enjoy antagonising people. I've missed this simple pleasure. Since I wasn't meeting up with Lapin until much later, I planted myself under a beautiful magnolia tree, and opened up my copy of Franny and Zooey.

I suddenly realised I was waking up— In my warm contentment, I had dozed off, and lost my place on the page that was now folded against my chest. The sky was full of wispy battleship clouds and the chatter of green parrots.

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