Março 2, 2007

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The policeman raps on the window and points helpfully to the front of the van. Smoke billows out of the hood. Pedestrians cough, wave their arms to try and clear the noxious, metallic smoke as they stroll through the Ramblas. Sirimo shrugs in the passenger seat. “Don’t look at me, I don’t even have a driver’s license.” “Si, Si,” I say to the policeman. “On fire, yes. I know. Gracias”

I rev the Fiat’s engine and stall it again. It’s one o’clock in the afternoon on the first day of iStockalypse Barcelona.
Now don’t get the wrong idea. I didn’t start burning clutches the moment I hit the ground in Spain. There were a lot of other things to do first. Barcelona is a blur. Traffic, staircases, the sound of clapping and shouting, a string of softboxes to be set up and taken apart, and the computerized voice of the GPS box endlessly intoning directions in broken english. In one hundred meters turn left. Turn left. Recalculating. In seven hundred meters enter roundabout, then turn right…

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