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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Mi Barrio

Ubik Café

There is a cool new café in Ruzafa. I thought that I would take this occasion to introduce everyone to my great little neighborhood, one place at a time. Ubik Café is a café and used bookstore that is on the calle Literato Azorín in the heart of Ruzafa. Good coffee, beer, wine, and whatever other spirits people consume in Spain can be sipped at the bar or at one of the library-type tables. Hip little places like this are a dime a dozen in Madrid and Barcelona but for Valencia it's a bit special. I can already tell that I will be a regular here. On my first visit today I had a cortado and bought a copy of Antonio Muñoz Molina's El Jinete Polaco as well as a Spanish translation of Mario Puzo's The Godfather (el Padrino). The gangster book is to help me pad my 50 page-a-day reading minimum. They have a ton of books with many priced as low as 1.50€ so I got two books and a coffee for 4.20€. If you are in the neighborhood, drop by for a visit.

Just An Observation

The people of Valencia are less tolerant of cold as anyone I've ever lived around. As soon as the temperature drops below about 65º Fahrenheit (still don't like the Celsius thing) girls switch from wearing incredibly sexy summer clothing to ultra-dumpy arctic gear, from bikini to parka in the span of about one week . If the temperature drops to below 50º every single verbal exchange begins with one or both parties complaining about the cold. I suppose that it is a relative thing but I don't think that it ever gets really cold in Valencia. At least this is what I used to say but after living here for a couple of years I have had my defenses lowered. Right now it is below freezing. That seems really, really cold to me.

An odd paradox about Valencianos—and this may be true of other people on the Mediterranean—is that even during the coldest days of winter, these warm-blooded people like to sit outside at cafés and restaurants. I see people at the beach restaurants eating outside in the afternoon, and this is on days when I wear four layers shirts and sweaters. In more northerly cities in which I have lived, it is rare to see people sit outside once the temperature drops to a level requiring jackets. When I was walking around with my camera this morning all I found were empty tables outside but it was unusually cold.