Author Archives: maranger

Once upon a snow in Rome

I still have one day till the end of the winter, so I better post this before its too late. Hate being late (Yeah yeah, Spain is not the right country for those who don’t like being late). But anyways, so, snow. Snow in Rome. It was the first weekend of February and I went to Rome, when it unexpectedly started snowing.

snow in rome

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The Influencers @ CCCB

The Influencers – a festival of non conventional art, communication guerrilla, radical entertainment was happening in the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) last weekend.

It was nice. It was very nice. If that can be said based on the fact, that I was only there for an hour or less, but the fact remains – what I saw was very and very inspiring.

So what I saw, was this guy Evan Roth, a co-founder at F.A.T. What gets Evan Roth hard, is something called Urban Hacking. He is even teaching a class with the same name. Evan is all about hacks. I don’t recollect the exact definition, but the punchline goes like – convert one thing into another using primitive or advanced avaliable technology.

All theory is best explained with examples – Roth showed some of his projects, most hilarious of which were:

1. Fake Google Streetview car

So apparently, you can mount up a car, which looks strikingly similar to Google Streetview car and drive around the streets, behaving how Google wouldn’t like to behave. More coverage here:

F.A.T. Lab: Fuck Google Week Wrap Up from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

2. Preventing passengers in front of you from lowering their seats

Annoyed by people lowering the seats in front of you? Here is how to solve it:

How To Keep Motherfu#%s From Putting Their Seats Back from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

3. White glove tracking

For those, who are not fans of Michael Jackson’s white glove, Evan Roth offered an opportunity to help isolate Michael Jackson’s white glove in all 10,060 frames of his nationally televised landmark performance of Billy Jean.
And isolate they did:

White Glove Tracking (2010) from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

Roth told about many many things more, the audience was laughing like crazy, and so was I. Now I just have to think about the implementation of the Urban Hacking in Barcelona, or just go and take over the world instead.

More of Evan’s works here – seriously recommended.

Ich war ein Berliner

My friend Rūta and her friend my friend Irita were doing gastronomic tourism in Berlin. In case this is not self-explanatory, this is when one goes to another city or country to eat. Yes, eat -  apparently, this is what chefs do.
I was there to only partly share this precious experience, so my gastronomical encounters mainly consisted of 4 am kebabs. Anyhow, what we did do a lot was pub crawling. I was sooo impressed how diverse is the pub culture in Berlin – surely nothing new for most people.
From what we did cover:

Bateau Ivre 

Address: Oranienstr. 18, 10999

beateau ivre

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San Miguel market in Madrid

San Miguel market was the highlight of Madrid. Boqueria in Barcelona is kids playground compared with it. First of all, what’s remarkable is the opening hours of the market – till 2 AM Thursday, Friday and Saturday, till 00 AM other days.

Secondly, the market had Christmas decorations. And one could buy super cute Christmas presents too – delicately painted egg shells, Christmas tree toys, figuerettes, and much more.

Thirdly, the market offered a busting selection of tapas of all kind, wine, and even a stand with “Russian caviar” and “Russian vodka”. Quotation marks is because they offered Russian Standard, which is not really real vodka, and the caviar was black and from sturgeon, and we all know its banned for export. Or is it? One small can cost 350 EUR, so might have been the real deal..

Having arrived there well close to midnight on a Friday, the market was lively, full with people conversing, enjoying wine and tapas, families with kids, couples – generally the impression was super positive. And you couldn’t really get cold – there were heaters placed all over. That, combined with beautiful architecture of the beginning of 20th century, made you feel at home.

If you are ever in Madrid – make sure to go there.

Art and Culture in Raval

First time I heard about Raval was during Sonar, when Ksenia Kamikaza said that it was the area were criminals and hookers hang out. And I think she added that I should be careful there, but this i might be inventing.


Now that some time has passed in Barcelona, I actually find Raval the most fun area – with the most interesting cafes and clubs and small shops. And the past several days it was the Art and Culture festival in Raval.

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Clubbing in Barcelona: Freedonia

Just when I thought that it was hopeless for me outside of Sonar, I got to Freedonia. Some people were telling me that the party is at Raval, but so far I had bad luck with clubbing, mostly getting to some horrible mainstream places with lots of sleezy Spanish guys and chicks on high heels, well, you know the type.

Anyhow, last Saturday, I was in this place called Freedonia, and it was super nice. The music was so good that I actually danced; met some interesting people; interior was great. Apparently, there was somebody from Planet Mu, but I never figured which dj that was, I liked most of them.

This is how the ladies toilet looked like:

freedonia barcelona

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Opera in Barcelona

This is not going to be a super fun posting, but more of an informative one. So we went to opera yesterday, Gran Teatre del Liceu. We went to see Charles Gounod’s Faust.

The tickets to the opera can be bought on their website, and the cost varies, depending on the day of the week. Since we went on Monday, it wasn’t very expensive.

Subtitles were in Catalan, so we didn’t understand shit, or close to that.

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The enrollment

Today was the day I needed to enroll into my school, Elisava. After having prepared shitload of documents, having had a hard time in the Spanish embassy in Latvia with the translation of my Bachelor diploma (which is a separate story and involves a very flegmatic intern who drove me mad), I was very certain that I am prepared to go and enroll. Before leaving the apartment, I had a bright idea to revise the enrolling requirements, and tah-dah! – there where three PDFs attached to the mail, which I haven’t seen before. “Shit”, thought I, and engaged into my favourite game – “We create own problems, we solve them on our own”.

And solve I did – after finding a computer store, begged them, with a beating heart, to let me print some documents, printed, filled in, and surprisingly enough was right on time for my appointment in Elisava.

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Irritated and out of Barcelona

I woke up extremely irritated. I hate it when it happens, and it normally happens when I have to get up early. I slept awfully all night, I think the stress of changing the country, language, all surrounding and people resulted in that I was paranoid to miss the flight to Norway, first time in my life.

So, irritated, I left the apartment, irritatedly kicking the infamous pink dirty suitcase and headed to Plaza España to look for the airport bus.

Now, the previous evening, being paranoid to miss the flight, I carefully studied the airport bus website, admiring how neatly its done, and how comprehensible is all the information. I located where the bus stops, and double checked with Liga, who is the sensible clever one, – that I am not missing anything, and the bus really stops where I think it stops. She confirmed.

So, irritated as I already was, I came to Plaza España and waited for the airport bus to come. But it didn’t come. Instead, there were several airport buses stopping in the complete opposite side than it was shown on the drawing. Growling, I headed there, and yes, the airport bus did go from a COMPLETELY different place.

Needless to say, I got only more irritated.

Then, on the bus, there were several Dutch women, chatting actively. Fy fan, who is talking so loud and actually talking in the mornings?? Mornings are the quiet times. Especially mornings with no coffee.

Then, waited in the queue for coffee, sales people here don’t move quick at all, and then finally connected my dongle for some Internet, and there was an annoying Spanish chick tossing on her seat near me so rapidly, that she almost kicked the dongle out of the USB port several times. And I was ready to kick her back.

Now i am on the plane, and I would love to sleep, but freaking AirBerlin turned on the air conditioning to -20 C, so thank you, AirBerlin, for this wake up call! I will stay awake and aware for more trouble.

OK, I am done with my five minutes of hate.

Yoga and Barcelona

It was time I caught up on my yoga, so i decided to try something in Barcelona. Hesitated between Bikram yoga (hot yoga) and Hatha, then decided to go cheap and went for the latter option.

Having arrived to the Yoga studio on Plaza Universidad, I ran around the square searching how to enter the building and finally succeeded. Surprise, surprise, they spoke English! The prices are reasonable, it costs 7 EUR per a single class, and a monthly card can be around 50 EUR.

I felt like a new kid in the neighbourhood. Changed and then realized, that maybe its not the best country to leave valuables unattended, ran around a bit more, then some lady assisted me on how to lock my stuff in a locker.

I arrived last to the class, the helpful lady turned out to be the yoga instructor. Everybody was already seated and I didn’t have a place, nor a yoga mat. Ran around a bit more, till finally the yoga instructor sighed and said that the mats are on my left, I picked one, then she said, it is somebody’s and that free mats are a bit further. I started feeling more and more stressed, got a mat, but still had nowhere to seat. Everyone was staring at me, so I got yet a bit more stressed. The whole class engaged in a game “find a place for Alina”, and finally I got a seat.

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