Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sauna thoughts

Last week Friday I was in Budapest. I had decided to spend the weekend in Barcelona, since Monday I had to go to Hamburg and I did not have time to go back home. I was tired. I checked the flight schedules and there was no direct flight to Barcelona, I had to go and change flights in either Vienna or Madrid. So I decided to take a flight to Amsterdam and try to relax during the weekend, while catching up with my work.
Destiny always goes against us, Catalans, and now that a group of Catalan businessmen and the Catalan government decided to buy an airline to bring business to Catalonia and the Barcelona hub, we ended up buying an airline with the name of Spanair. We are either "botiflers" or unlucky. Now, if we change the name for the much more attractive of BCNair, they will boycott it, if we keep it, it will be a permanent reminder of our submission and "cojonesless-ism". When the Cat Air group decided to name its new airline Clickair to avoid boycotts (following the long Catalan cojonesless tradition) , I already declared myself a Clicktalan.
Therefore, since from Budapest you can fly directly to Urumuqi, but not to Barcelona, plus I was very tired and I had to work over the weekend, I decided to go to this hotel on the beach, west of Amsterdam. It is a great hotel, quiet, with great facilities and a very attractive rate. I love sauna and this one has a great sauna and spa. I spent the weekend working on my laptop while looking from time to time to the North Sea, going to the sauna, cold and hot spa, working again and walking on the beach. It was rainy and a bit windy, but the temperature was acceptable, around 3 degrees Celsius.
I called home and I talked to my daughter. I told her that I was in that hotel on the Dutch coast and she asked me: the hotel where people go naked? I said yes. She knows that she needs to switch her cultural profile when he moves from continent to continent and that in puritan New England, she has to take a shower with swimming suit, but saunas in North Europe are mixed gender and swimming suits are not allowed.

When lying in the steam room, I could not help but thinking on the Catalan politics, since they were the reason why I ended up in that sauna, instead of having a good dinner with my university friends at the Tastavins. I was thinking about Convergencia i Unio, the party I feel closer ideologically, but totally useless due to the level of mediocrity and lack of integrity of many of its politicians, including those at the top. It is funny to see Duran i Lleida (now in the middle of a controversy about the alleged misappropriation of EU educational funds by members of his party closely related to him), criticizing Zapatero in his blog for going to bed with the Andalusian president, Manuel Chaves, and agreeing on the boundary conditions for the 2009 Catalan budget, while illustrating his comments with a picture of Zapatero hugging Chaves. A simple Google search demonstrates his level of hypocrisy.

PS: Today I watched Pink Panther 2 with my kids and I had a good laugh. Even if it uses all the typical stereotypes to create comic situations, I felt it was on the acceptable side (clearly they had the advice of a good lawyer). I even found the bullfighter and flamenco scene acceptable (hard to believe, since John Cleese was in the cast), obviously, I assumed it had nothing to do with me. I only feel touchy, if they wear "barretina".