Eso es......VERDAD!

Trip Start Sep 07, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sant Cugat is a "little" suburb outside Barcelona, though it does about 80,000 residents which is a greater population than most of the cities in South Carolina. It's a pedestrian friendly place with everything necessary to go about your life. My friend from Spain (originally from San Sebastián in Northern Spain), Alberto, lives here now, and it's only a short train ride into downtown Barcelona, but first I wanted to cover Sant Cugat a little before diving into Barcelona.

Sant Cugat is a very charming little place (to me, the American, I think Spanish people could care less). It was extremely compact, and you could just about walk anywhere you needed to get.  Alberto actually bought a scooter to scoot down the street to work.  The streets were narrow, and for most of the city, a special permit is needed to drive down most of the predominantly pedestrian streets.

One of the prominent features of Sant Cugat del Villés is the Monastery of Sant Cugat.  The monastery was founded in the 9th century and as the years passed, more and more was added to the original building until eventually it was abandoned by the monks in the early 19th century.  Today, the monastery is a national monument.

Apparently, Sant Cugat is a very conservative town, and Alberto told me that on Sunday mornings you can basically see the whole town walking up and down the streets on their way to church in their best attire.  People let their children just run around unattended at all hours of the day and night.  It seemed like a close-knit neighborhood with a lot of parks and open spaces to lounge around, more so than any town in the U.S. that I've seen.

I was able to finally try authentic Spanish jamón (which is Spanish for "ham").  It’s not like American ham though.  Jamón is very thinly sliced dry-cured ham that is actually a bit sweeter than "normal" ham and a bit chewier.  It was actually quite delicious, highly recommended.  There were specialty stores in Barcelona and Sant Cugat where you could buy the entire leg of the pig in jamón style for a mere €95 (or $130).

Most of the time I spent in Sant Cugat was spent sleeping or walking to and from Alberto's apartment to the train station to go to Barcelona (this is also why I only have one picture of the monastery and it's at night...).  Expect a quite lengthy entry on Barcelona soon.

P.S. I did have the opportunity to watch some Spanish television which is basically just dubbed English television (I'm talking My Super Sweet 16 here on MTV).  They have their own version of Jerry Springer, and let me tell you, Spanish people have all the same problems (and maybe more, just maybe).  My favorite show was, El Juego de Tu Vida (The Game of Your Life), in which a contestant would sit in front of his or her entire family and answer questions truthfully about their personal life in order to win €100,000 (please watch a clip here: El Juego de Tu Vida).  There were twenty-one questions altogether and each one answered truthfully is worth more money than the last, but one untruthful answer results in losing all of the money.  Basically, you ruin your personal life for a shot at some dough.  The questions usually start off "normal" enough and then escalate as the last question is approached.  Starting off with "have you ever stolen things from work?" to "have you ever cheated on your husband?" to "have you ever cross-dressed?" and so on.  The contestant will say "Sí" (yes) or "No" to the question in front of their family, then a booming voice comes over the intercom to announce the truthfulness of their answer (how they know the answers, I don't know).  The announcer states "Eso es..." (that is...) with a long pause as everyone holds their breath before saying "...verdad!" (true) or "...mentira!" (a lie).  Everyone in the audience gets extremely excited over "verdad" answers because the contestant has just earned a lot of money, but then they immediately feel bad because that means that the contestant has also done something terrible to their family or work.  A woman answered 19 questions about her husband and whether or not she loved him, cheated on him, and wanted him to continue his drug use to harm his health.  She answered every question truthfully until we hit question 21 which was "Would you allow your mother-in-law to live with you?" the woman answered "Sí" before the announcer stated "Eso es....mentira!" Who would lie about that?? She successfully destroyed her family and didn't earn a dime.  Whoops.
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Amanda on

They had that show here for a little while (the moment of truth) but I think it went off of the air after a season or so...

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