My friend from a small village outside of Barcelona had been going on and on about how beautiful the beaches were near her home for about 9 years before I finally visited her. She was disappointed that instead of my Nikon D50, I had only brought my iPad. I had no idea what the beaches in Catalonia were like and when she saw my shoes, she realized I had no clue. Luckily, we were about the same size. The best beaches were reached by hiking through rugged, rocky terrain.
During our hike, I told my friend how I thought it was weird Spain wasn’t mentioned more in Anglo/American literature, like Italy was. The characters in Henry James and E. M. Foster were always going to Italy, not to mention Thomas Mann and Goethe. She hadn’t noticed.
We came to her favorite beach and I took out my beach book for the trip, a German children’s version of The Count of Monte Cristo. The first line I read mentions Mercedes being from the region of Catalan. There was a Catalonian character in one of my most favorite French novels! I had been carrying evidence against my thesis all along.
My Catalonian Friend got so offended when I said these beaches reminded me of English beaches.
I went to my 10th year reunion in the summer of 2012 in Chicago. I saw for the first time how much love it took to raise a little one from my college friends who were now parents, how the campus had become even greener (the ivy is out of control), a new library cafe, and the beaches of Chicago near Ravenswood. I met around 9 lawyers that evening at our class dinner. None of them had any idea what social commerce could possibly mean.
July 2013 (iPad photos) When we saw the most popular beach in Split, Bačvice beach, we were stunned at its proletariat feel. After walking past the bus station, the ferry port and train tracks, we found the beach. We were two Asian girls peeking over the shrubbery at this view. My friend who lives in NYC said, “This reminds me of Coney Island.” I said, “This looks just like an utopian Communist beach. This could be Berlin.” An everyman’s beach. You can’t see it in the photo but off in the distance we could see these dirty white, almost grey canopies flapping in the wind. There were people everywhere along the boardwalk. The people in the water were playing this popular game invented in Split called Picigin, a game in which you keep a small ball from hitting the water for as long as possible. We had become beach snobs, having spent the last two days at this beach bar, Hula Hula in Hvar. We turned around and walked back to the city.