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jueves, 17 de abril de 2008

Fast Food Wisdom

Fast Food = cooked food that you buy in some kiosk to be eaten on your way... (My own Irene's definition).

1) In St. Petersburg, in Koroblestroyteley Street, they have the best kebabs (Shaorma) in the world... Maybe because those where the first ones I tried, when I was 19 (b.G.: before Globalization), and were eaten with appetite and in good company.

2) In the Netherlands you can insert a coin in a machine and get a Coke, a coin in another one and get a chocolate bar, and then a last coin in a third machine and get a hot hamburguer... Not very tasty, by the way, with some Dutch "touch" in the sauce that didn't convince me at all. I would advice to get three chocolate bars instead and wait to reach some place and get a proper meal.

3) In Britain Fish&Chips' fish is too greasy and quite disgusting... Chips fried in that same oil, I don't know why, taste very good, though, specially after pub crawling (half pub crawling in my case)! And, by the way, kebabs are much spicier than in other places in Europe I've been in... The Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi influence, I suppose.

4) In Italy you can get a piece of pizza in every corner, Pizza al Taglio, and it costs differently depending on its weight. On kebab local specificities, I'm afraid, I don't know... But food at an Etiopian cafe is worth trying! (Although it's not fast food in that case...).

5) In Romania fried chips are served INSIDE the kebab, all together with the meat, vegetables and sauce.

6) I would need some outer look at Spanish Fast Food context to detect local specificities... Help on that :) But yeah, I do have one (a Madrid one, in fact): we get huge sandwiches filled with fried squids!! ("Bocata de Calamares")

PostScriptum: Kebab is my favorite kind of fast food, just in case this fact passed unnoticed for any of you...

lunes, 14 de abril de 2008

Cinema Paradiso

Today I closed my laptop at 18.30, decided that my working day was over and headed to the cinema, to a "Cinemateca" near my house, Cinema Union, a small cinema where the films are shown only if there's at least 6 people, where one day they show 1922's Nosferatu, and the next 2007's Juno. Sometimes it's a DVD screening, which is deceiving, but I like this place anyway because it's just around the corner, and because the athmosfere is quite easy-going, kind of nice family business treatment for us clients. And besides, money-is-money, films cost 10 lei (2,5 euro) and I've been told that Fridays are free (I have to check that. But it might be, because the other day, a Friday, I thought I skipped into the other Cinemateca -felt a little guilty- but maybe it was free -it was crowded, so it sounds reasonable-).

Anyway, let's focus on my story: I was going to watch, this time, Michael Clayton, at 7 pm. Nothing rare, nothing surprising. A mainstream film that I didn't get to watch in Madrid, and most of you, I'm sure, have downloaded from the Internet. They had been showing it a couple of months around here in distant Malls, so I didn't feel like going by myself. Film distribution is like that, here, most of films are firstly released in modern cinemas at the Malls (with its high prices, 5-6 euros -think on Romanian medium income, not in mine or yours- and far too talkative audience), then disappear a couple of weeks and come up again, if you're lucky (I''m still waiting for some, don't lose hope), this time in some shabby-looking 2-euro movie theatre in the city centre... The city centre, where I live, and where I'd like to go to the cinema anyway, no matter where I'd live.

Hey me! Behave! Don't loose your focus... So I arrived Cinema Union. It was a rainy Monday: even students stay at home on Mondays. That's why I wasn't really surprised when the man at the door told me that there was no film at 19 pm, I just thought, "damn it, there's not even 6 people today...". But no, he explained further: the film couldn't be shown because it hadn't arrived on time from Cluj (a Transilvanian town) ! He told me to call next dayto check if the film will be on (as I told you, it seems a family business, sometimes).

So here I am, coming back home in a 21st-century European capital, full of lights, cars and shops, and somehow feeling inside the 1950s' Cinema Paradiso, that film by Giuseppe Tornatore where a man had to sprint its bike through Sicilian roads to deliver in time a rudely censored love movie, or some Western, to an expectant population...

But I must come to see Michael Clayton this week. I must. Because I'm really curious, I want to check one thing: will it be a DVD copy? Finding out is worth 2 euros! It would be completely absurd but I sort of have a hunch... Isn't Romania Ionesco's home country for a reason?

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