Europe 2016: Reflection (Barcelona)

Goodness me. I thought I’ve already done this, but I couldn’t find it in the blog. I guess that comes with putting things off for far too long that I ended up remembering something that I haven’t actually done. 🙄

Anyway… I told you what I feel about Istanbul. Now I’m going to tell you what I feel about Barcelona.

The first thing that came to mind after spending 24 hours in this city was “Hmm, this place reminds me of Tokyo!”

I know, most of you will give me sh*t for saying this. And with good reasons too, rest assured.

I didn’t come to this conclusion on the get go. On the surface, there is absolutely no reason for people to draw comparison between Barcelona and Tokyo. Barcelona is as un-Tokyo as it can get in the world!

  • Skyscrapers dominate Tokyo’s landscape, churches and Gaudi buildings fill up Barcelona and there’s zero skyscrapers. Not where I can see from a tourist standpoint anyway.
  • Buying things in Tokyo feels expensive after some time (you pay 1000 bucks local currency for a meal box), buying things in Barcelona feels cheap after some time (you pay 3 bucks local currency for a cheap meal).
  • Most people in Tokyo are Asians, most people in Barcelona are… well… white. Europeans.
  • Chicks in Tokyo wears mini skirts in March. Chicks in Barcelona wears big coats and scarves and cover everything up in March.

There’s probably more examples if I really want to think hard, but I think you get the gist here. These two cities are like the opposite of each other.

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So what made me feel that they are similar? Since I was able to list down these glaring differences, it must be obvious that I noted them myself.

Well, this is because, while I noted these differences, I also can’t help but feel these:

  • There are a lot of tourists in Barcelona. A LOT of them! But unlike Istanbul, the locals here don’t harass you every step of the way. Nobody wants to be best friends with you here. Nobody gives a sh*t, so long as you don’t disrupt them from your too frequent stopping in front of them while taking photos.
  • Apart from the major tourist places, people here don’t speak English much (or at all). Of course, Catalan and Japanese language are very different, but… not to an English speaking Malaysian.
  • I could easily have 3-4 meals back in Malaysia with the amount of money I pay for 1 meal here.
  • It is extremely common to see topless men and… (and… no, not bikini, what do we call those workout outfit that ladies wear that look like bikini?) sexy ladies jogging and cycling when it is 15°C outdoors.
  • While their preferred mode of fashion are opposite, both Japanese ladies and Catalan ladies make me want to consider migration in a slightly serious manner.
  • The food is absolutely delicious, and they’re so different compared to what we get in Malaysia. Sure, some might argue that you can get wonderful paella even in Malaysia these days (just like you can get wonderful sushi in Malaysia too these days). They’re not the same, okay? Even if the execution is the same, the feel is just… different! You try eating roti canai in London, prepared by an award winning chef using top quality dhal and whatnot. Still feels different! And that’s why we travel!

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So… yeah. Do I make more sense now?

But if you ask me whether I want to live here permanently, the answer is probably… no. Well, okay, make unequivocally no. I’ll enjoy the food, so I’ll probably be fine staying here for a few weeks and stuffing myself silly with fideua, but the language would be a pain so anything more than that and I will miss a proper Chinese style roasted pork.



  1. I think we are very used to living in Malaysia..I am talking about myself.. hehee… but youngsters will find it easier to adapt to new places and countries… as for me, I am used to eating chinese food and if I stay overseas, I will miss the local food here very very badly… 🙂

    • My parents also same I think. That’s why I feel apprehensive about migrating. Always just briefly thought about it, then forget about it. 🙄

    • Claire, you are like one of my friend, who is into chinese food, hehe…. If my that friend goes travel, will bring along cup noodles just in case not used to the foods there…

      • If said friend travel with me, I will ditch this person in the hotel room. Don’t come with me and ruin things for me! 🙄

    • Hahaha, nothing like fried mee hoon. It is made of thin spaghetti, and kind of stewed in the pan, like paella. You could say it is spaghetti paella. And it is absolutely delicious! 😛

  2. I read somewhere that the locals in Barcelona feel that there is just too many tourists there so they are having a La Barceloneta Diu Prou (Barceloneta Says Enough!) campaign. Since you did not mention this at all, I guess you did not notice anything to that effect when you were in Barcelona.

    It seems that they protest by hanging banners that say things like: “One more tourist equals one fewer neighbor.” You did not see any of these banners?

    • I did not notice any banners, but that would probably explain the scary and semi-murderous stares I got when I walked across the residential suburbs at Barceloneta. Guess I must have been lucky to have made it out alive. 🙄

  3. I have not been to Spain yet. Here’s a comment voluntered freely by my Spanish colleague, soon to be Ex-colleague.

    He constantly raves about Spanish people being passionate and good kissers. No rubber lips, he said. So he said… must true!!

    • Well I noticed how gorgeous Spanish ladies are, but I have not tested their lips, so I cannot really comment on the accuracy of your ex-colleague’s claim. 😀

  4. It sounds like you think of Tokyo and Barca similarly in comparison to Malaysia. Certainly you can get paella – and sushi – outside of Barca as you mentioned. But yeah, I suppose it’s authentic when you go to the place where the dish (sort of) originates from. Over there, they meat, oil, texture of rice and so on are usually markedly different that you get to Malaysia, Australia etc. So, as you said, that’s why we travel… 🙄

    Sexy outfit that ladies wear while doing exercise? Maybe you mean sports bra and tight yoga pants 🙄

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