Tuesday, November 30, 2010

second time's the charm

Kwali the koala visits the Guggenheim

I'd been meaning to do it for a while now. Go back to the Guggenheim museum, I mean. One of my roommates had given me a bunch of free-entry passes she had lying around, so I had no reason not to. Except that the only time I'd been before, the featured exhibition was all about Frank Lloyd Wright, which is great unless you're like me and can't stand Frank Lloyd Wright. Then it's 2 hours of "I wish I'd just stood outside and looked at the museum from out there."

No matter, I decided, as an adopted Bilbaina I had to give it another chance. Anyway, the current exhibitions were photography and Dutch art. I loved it. A couple things struck me as I wandered around the museum. One is relevant to life and the other is ridiculous. Ridiculous first:

1) One of the Dutch paintings (still-lifes with flowers and fruits and dead game and stuff) had hacked salmon. You know when a fishmonger takes a whole tuna or salmon and they chop it down the middle so you can see a cross-section of it the fish's meat/spine? Can't stand it. Like, I go into markets and have to look at the ground in the fish sections because the possibility of seeing hacked tuna/salmon is too terrifying. I didn't say it made sense, I just said I was scared of it. Anyway, it's also scary in a painting.

2) What if I treated Raleigh like I treat Bilbao? Here, I'm always seeking out art exhibits, concerts, festivals, markets, restaurants I haven't tried. I start every week with the expectation that I'm going to have some kind of great cultural/food/etc. experience. Of course I do, and of course much of it is the wonderfulness of Basque Country, but a lot of it is the effort I put in, too. In Raleigh, I generally take life there for granted, get into a routine, and don't bother to seek new things out. Why bother to go to that farmer's market I heard was cool this week when I could go next week, or next year, or in 5 years? There's no urgency to soak up your home culture because your time there isn't limited by a visa. But what if I acted like it was? What if I kept up with art exhibitions, local food trends, festivals, and other events in Raleigh? What if I woke up every Monday expecting to discover some awesome new facet of my own culture that week?

I have a serious suspicion that any city can be interesting and captivating if you put in the effort to discover.

The urge to get in a zinger right now along the lines of "any city except Madrid" is pretty strong, but I think I'm going to leave Madrid alone tonight. My favorite love-to-hate-it city took enough of a beating yesterday when Barcelona FC handed Real Madrid their fancy, overpaid bottoms on a platter 5-0.

In the words of Nelson Muntz, HA HA!

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