I was sitting in my hotel in Barcelona, working on some revised documents as per the dicta of the European Commission, when I heard the unmistakable sounds of a mob. The chanting was pretty loud, and I went down to see what the local Calalunyans were protesting. It was a fairly big protest against cutting funds for the universities. In typical Spanish style, it just went on and on. It was sunny and pleasant, with nothing to really discourage the crown from meandering indefinitely.
Two pictures of protesting Spaniards.
With the climate and ample spoken Spanish, it looked and sounded a lot like protests against the funding cuts that gouged universities in California. Two things were different here. More people wore Catalan flags and California shirts.
In fact, I noticed so many California shirts among the crowd in BCN that I started photographing them. Within 20 minutes, I had the following:
Why, he's wearing the flag of my home state! Good fashion sense.
Someone in the left of the picture the flag of their home state! And another guy with wearing Laguna Beach, California.
This shirt represents the San Francisco Giants.
See? I told you.
Not familiar with this group.
The grey sweatshirt says "Hollister", like 10% of all shirts I see in Europe. Hollister is near Gilroy, which is east of Monterey.
The guy on the left is wearing a sweatshirt for the university where I will speak next month. The guy on the right is wearing a shirt with the Los Angeles Police Dept. What a coincidence! I will be in LA next month too, though I plan on avoiding their police.
True, there is a large American population here, and maybe they were just wearing their colors. Two problems. First, as mentioned, Californians never wear California shirts. Second, I talked to these guys. In Spanish. Quickly. They're locals (from BCN) or from other regions of Spain.
This parallels other comments I made during my five year Euro-adventure, which is soon to end. They may complain about American politics, militarism, economy, etc, but they sure do follow our culture. Music, movies, TV, fashion, still heavily influenced by America, and especially California. In Spain, the weather, too.